Getting back into running after having a baby can feel overwhelming. Some of us had to stop running during our pregnancies for the safety of our growing babies. Some of us chose to stop running because it was just too uncomfortable. Still others of us kept running until the day we went into labor. Each mother has been on her own journey when it comes to the amount of kilometers she logged during pregnancy.
I have had three children and with all three of my pregnancies I ran up until the day I was in labour(my first) or had the c-section (second two). I cant say those last few months were very comfortable and to be honest it must have looked a funny sight. This woman following this big belly waddling thinking she was “running” hahaha but it kept me sane and my doctor was happy for me to run as long as I could talk. Little did he know that when I run I usually dont stop talking.
Dr Hartman, my gynae is also a runner and we often used to run together. He used to make sure I wasn’t over doing it and every pregnancy at about 8 months along he used to celebrate beating me at our group runs… haha too funny. I was happy to give that to him because I knew his days were numbered;-) With my very first pregnancy, 12 years ago, running was a lot easier than the next two pregnancies. I was small, carried neatly and hardly looked pregnant, however with my next two, my stomach just seemed to know where to go and headed straight there, making running a lot more challenging but I persevered none the less and I’m super happy I did. It made the recovery and getting fit afterwards that much easier.
On the day I was in labor with Nix (my first), I waited at home for as long as possible, trying to be a hero. My plan was to pop into hospital, pop the baby out and that would be it.. wala. Well that didn’t quite go to plan. I went in thinking I must be pretty much ready to push this kid out. My bubble was burst fast, I was only 1 cm dilated and was told I should go walk around the parking lot to get things moving. Parking lot, are you kidding me, NOT ME, no ways was I going to walk around the parking lot. I went down to Durban beachfront and ran the promanade, I ran 6km trying to bring on this labor. Long story short I went back into hospital, went through 36 hours of labor with no epidural. To this day I am not sure why I was trying to be such a hero but I was. After 36 hours my baby went into distress and I was taken off for an emergency C-section.
People often fear c-sections, I certainly did but it wasn’t bad at all. The recovery was easy besides being home bound unable to drive for awhile which was actually a blessing in disguise for me. People who know me will know how I never sit still so it was great for me to be forced to and I really enjoyed it.
All of us have one thing in common. The minute our babies come out, we have to take a break to let our bodies heal. For most of us, it’s at least a six-week break until the doctor gave us the go ahead to amp up our physical activity again.
At that point, there we are, feeling very different in our bodies than before baby. We have our baby weight to shed, but more importantly, we just want to feel like ourselves again. For many of us, running is our sanity. It’s not necessarily about how much we weigh, but it’s about how it helps us to get rid of stress and feel “normal.” It’s our happy drug.
Here are some tips to help you get back on the road.
1. Get rid of that feeling we as moms all get. “The MOM GUILT”
Moms, I know it’s hard to leave your new baby. You feel like you need to be there all the time, and might even feel guilty for choosing to spend time away from them to work out. Get rid of the mom guilt. Trust your baby to be taken care of by dad or someone else close to you. As much as your hormones tell you otherwise, they won’t let anything happen to your sweet babe. After you return I promise you’ll be a happier version of you, and you’ll have more to give to your family.
2. Schedule workouts
If you seriously want to get back into running, you need to make it a serious priority. Schedule your workouts on your calendar and line up a baby sitter, or get your baby jogger out and take your bundle with you. I used to take mine in the baby jogger from 3 weeks old. Id prop them up with towels or blankets all around and away we would go.
3. Take small steps
The first week back is tough, don’t expect so much of yourself, take what you get and be happy that you have taken the plunge. Enjoy this “you” time. Start with a km or couple of km’s and increase them as the body feels ready. Celebrate the small victories.
THE SECRET TO GETTING AHEAD IS GETTING STARTED.
4. Cross train
I know all you as a runner want to do is “run” but low impact exercise such as swimming or cycling is very good and as your body gets stronger and recovers more so will you be able to run more.
5. Set yourself a GOAL
Whether it’s a 5Km or a marathon, take the initiative and sign up for a race. Nothing will get you back to feeling like yourself again than working towards a goal and accomplishing it. There’s something about completing a race as a mom that’s unlike anything else. Your little one(s) will be cheering you on from the sidelines, and you’ll feel so proud that you’ve taken the time to take care of yourself and be the best you can be for them.
I race a lot all around the country as well as internationally but the thing I love most about running local races is that I know my little girls will be at the finish shouting for me as I cross the line. Seeing those excited little faces is priceless.
DON’T PUT YOUR DREAMS ON HOLD, PUT YOUR EXCUSES ON HOLD.
Keep following my blogs and please let me know how your pregnancies and post pregnancy training is going. I would love to hear from you and am happy to help with tips or advice anytime.