Before I fell pregnant (and yes, that is my favorite way of saying I got knocked up) with my first son I was in the best running shape I had ever been in. It was great, I felt fast, running races were fun, and it was such a great outlet for me.
When I became pregnant I ran a little but it didn’t feel good so I stopped. My first son didn’t sleep so I didn’t try returning to running till I was a year postpartum. I started very slow and that nagging hip pain that I dealt with for so many years returned and then I got pregnant and miscarried all within 2 months. It was tough and I let the running go. There was other ways I loved to move my body and that felt better so I did those things.
At about 18 months postpartum with our second son I felt the urge to start running again.
What was different this time? A lot of things!
- I was sleeping
- I had visited a pelvic floor PT who helped me understand that my hip pain was from an overactive pelvic floor.
- I did the boring rehab work off and on for months before I even started to think about running again.
- I took it slow and gave myself a lot of rest
- I started a warm up routine that worked for me
If you identify as being a runner, no matter how fast or slow you might think you are, and want to start again after baby, please please make sure you are sleeping. You need sleep! I can’t stress this enough. When I work with moms the first thing I ask is if they are sleeping. Our bodies need sleep to recover. If you are under 2 years postpartum your body is still recovering and still needs sleep.
Visit a pelvic floor physical therapist. Even if you feel okay, they are a wealth of knowledge to know whats going on down there. They can help you engage and relax better, and hey you might be like me and find out your hip/back pain was from a pelvic floor issue.
Do the work. Do the boring work. If your PT gives you rehab to do get it done. Even if thats only a couple times a week. Take time to rehab your core and pelvic floor so that your body is prepared to run.
Take it slow! Start by running short distances. Like 100 meters. See how it feels, breath, check in, and then do it again. Slowly add distance to see how your body handles it. Give yourself lots of rest in-between. Do this work and your return to running will be better!
Get a warm up routine that works for you. Now when I was in my 20s I didn’t warm up. Nope not for me. But now I do, I need to wake up those muscles that I need to support me in my run. I need to remind them that “hey it’s your time to shine, turn on and lets go” And its made all the difference.
So here is the warm up I do for me. Just a reminder, I have a week left hip, so I really focus on waking those muscles up and also my core. Because your core/abs have to be strong when running. While I am doing this warm up I focus on my breath and relaxing and engaging my pelvic floor with my breath.
Leg lift, clam shell, and fire hydrant with a band. To wake up my lazy side butt and and low core I hold these three positions for 30-40 seconds. For me, and what I learned from my PT, holding right now is best for me. As I get stronger and I am not having pain in my hip I will move to moving these positions. So opening or closing, lifting and lowering.
To wake up my core and get my ribs down over my hips I perform, dead bugs, heel slides while pulling open a resistance band, and glute bridges (sometimes withe a band around my knees). I perform 10-15 reps of these
Should you do this exact same warm up before you run? Maybe. This warm up works for me because I know my side butt and hip are weak and I need to strengthen that. I know I am still working on strengthening my core so that's why I do core work. I know my tendency is to flare my ribs while standing which puts a lot of stress on my low back.
Finding the right warm up for you is going to start with knowing your tendencies first. If you don't know what your tendencies are or how they impact you, click here and we can have a chat!