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Running again after having a baby

Running again after having a baby
May 19, 2017 mariane uehara

It took almost a year before I felt the desire to train and race again. After I gave birth to Sky, my body took its time to recover. Nursing alone caused a drop in my weight. I worried that burning fat through exercise would decrease my milk supply. New moms, breastfeeding really gets you in “shape”! It wasn’t only nice to give my body a break after years of training; I was simply happily busy learning how to be a mom.

But now the craving for exercise is back! I wake up with an appetite for a morning run, and even signed up for the 2017 Honolulu Marathon in December. Ouch! For the past two months, I’ve been trying to run two or three times per week. It isn’t easy! The feeling that I never have time to do everything I want and need to, the lack of sleep, and the persistent tiredness pushes exercise to the bottom of my priority list. I know it’s precious to move your body. I am always that person, telling everyone: “Find time to move and sweat, even if only for a short while. Everything will flow better for the rest of the day.”

So when I listen to my own advice and go for a run, even if just for 20 minutes, I come back a happier momma. I am more productive, and mentally energized. Lately, we’ve been turning my morning runs into a fun family event. Tim plays with Sky at the park while I go for a run. Afterwards, we grab (our second) breakfast together.

I am still figuring out how to make running a part of my schedule again. So, I asked a few of my supermom runner friends to share their sweet tips.

Brigitte Egbert
After having a baby, how long did it take to return to running?

Being such a driven athlete, I know I welcomed the break after giving birth and

enjoyed the quality time slowing down to take in the feeling of being a mom.

What’s your best tip for new moms that want to start running again?

The most important personal fitness thing for me while being pregnant was to stay active, healthy and maintain fitness so the re-entry after giving birth was quicker and smoother. I had a strong desire to be proactive in my health and the health of my baby.

Candes Gentry
After having a baby, how long did it take to return to running?

I wasn’t able to run during my entire pregnancy so as soon as the dr cleared me to run I was on the road. I had stayed in shape by swimming daily, but I had missed the intensity of running. When I returned after a year off, I had a renewed vigor and commitment to the sport and some very lofty goals. The dr cleared me to run 5 weeks after having my son and by week 8 I was able to pace my sister on the first ten miles of the Honolulu marathon.

What was your biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge for me was mental. I felt an overwhelming obligation to be with my son every minute of every day. I felt guilty for leaving Poet with a family member or a sitter so that I could enjoyed my 45 min to an hour a day to myself to reconnect with the woman I was before having a child. Ultimately, I realized that running is my sacred time and it makes me a better mother.

What’s your best tip for new moms that want to start running again?

Don’t give up on nursing. Exercise in general can be uncomfortable when nursing or

affect your milk production, but intimately if you remember to eat healthy, stay hydrated

and remain positive you can nurse while training.

Emily Boll
After having a baby, how long did it take to return to running?

I started walking 1 week after giving birth, even though my doctor said not to. I honestly needed to get outside. My body and heart yearned for some fresh air and movement! I started jogging slowly 4 weeks after, maybe 3x/week, making sure that safety for me and baby was #1.

What was your biggest challenge?

My biggest challenge was not the physical part of jogging/running. My challenge was

listening to my own heart and feeling what I felt was best for me at that time in my life.

I had doctors, professionals, experienced runners, friends, parents, my spouse, in-laws,

books, blogs, etc. telling me all different things.

What’s your best tip for new moms that want to start running again?

Consult your most trusted physician first. Of course consult your inner voice and guidance as well. If you’ve managed a balanced and fit lifestyle before birth, you can feel confident that you’ll be able to ease yourself back into it again in the best way for you and the baby.

Nataliia Kravchuk
After having a baby, how long did it take to return to running?

In 4 weeks after giving birth to my daughter I started to run again. I used a jogging stroller which helped so much keep my baby asleep during the run.

What was your biggest challenge?

I was limited to about 30 min run as my baby’s nap would only last for that long, when she woke up she would cry to pick her up and hold in my arms.

What’s your best tip for new moms that want to start running again?

Let your body completely recover first before returning to training.

Start easy. Running with your baby in a stroller is one of great ways to stay active and

exercise outdoors without leaving your new born at home. Go out running at the time

when your baby usually takes a nap, if you are lucky and your little one naps long, you may enjoy a nice run.

Rachel Ross
After having a baby, how long did it take to return to running?

I started running about three weeks after each baby was born. With my second two, I ran 30-45 min 4-5x a week up to the day they were born. I was so excited to run again!

What was your biggest challenge?

The challenge was staying healthy. I noticed my shins were more prone to shin

splints right after pregnancy, so I was careful not to ramp up too quickly.

Ranni Henderson
After having a baby, how long did it take to return to running?

With my first son who is now 4-years of age, I had a really difficult labor process that spanned over five days. Yeah I know, I couldn’t believe it either! After he finally arrived, very healthy and happy, I was advised to wait three months before getting back into the swing of things. Yet at 5-weeks, I felt ready to do something. When I asked a close friend, Dr. Michael Traub, a well known top naturopathic physician in the country who delivered babies for 10-years out of his thirty-year career, he advised that I would know best. I should listen to my body.

Being an athlete prior to my pregnancy I felt that I knew my body well and at the same time, I also knew that I could push myself too hard. So I listened to my body and began doing short “walk-runs” of no longer than 20-minutes at 6-weeks post baby. It felt wonderful! I slowly added time and distance and worked up to jogging easily three times a week for 45-minutes non-stop by week 9. At 11-weeks, I competed in the Kona Half Marathon and unexpectedly to my surprise, I won.

With my second son, now 19-months, I again listened to my body and jogged easy in a half marathon race 6-weeks post baby. When he turned 6-months, I raced in the very competitive Hapalua Half Marathon Chase Race and placed 6th overall. Again, everyone’s different, you just need to listen to your body.

What was your biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge now is finding time to squeeze in a workout whether it’s a swim, bike, or run. Typically my husband, Penn, and I “take turns” as one of us watches the kids while the other gets their endorphin high. It’s been a few years since we have been able to train or race together but our two boys are the highlight of our life!

What’s your best tip for new moms that want to start running again?

I have two:
1) Listen to your body
If something doesn’t feel right, back off. What may feel good for one mother, may not be the same for you. And if in doubt, ask a medical professional for advice.
2) Getting a dose of endorphin high will help you navigate through your new world of being “Mommy.”

I have found that to be a “Super Mom” to my two young boys, I need to feel “super” myself.

With that, don’t hold back on asking for help when you need time for a little workout.

My husband does great in the “Daddy” department as he knows that I’m more relaxed,

more energetic, very happy and yes, a nice dinner will be made that night! (lol)

U’i Pauole de Sa
After having a baby, how long did it take to return to running?

For starters, “Running” post baby has meant running with baby (including races), so I started running when my daughter could sit in the baby jogger – 9 mos- 1year? I can’t quite remember.

What was your biggest challenge?

Initially it was challenging to push the jogger, but I quickly accepted that the only way I could go running any time on my own time was to take her with me. After that, we ran everywhere & ditched the car when we could!

What’s your best tip for new moms that want to start running again?

Start slow & don’t be in a rush to get back to running, especially after surgery.

If you have some pointers on how mommas can smoothly return to running, please share. We’d love to learn more.

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