Getting high – my first run back and post-partum exercise

The sun was shining. The day was warm. I was beyond excited. It was the day I got to lace up my runners and go for a run!

It was a whopping 13 weeks and three days since my last run (but who’s counting?!).

That is by far the longest I’ve ever gone without running. (The previous record was about six weeks in the summer of ’02, but that’s another story for another day!)

During pregnancy, I missed running but knew it was best not to when it started cause me pain. Post-pregnancy, I was shocked that I didn’t have the desire to run right away.

I think I knew my body had just been through an amazing experience and needed time to recover from it.

I started to get the itch around four weeks.

I started walking about two weeks post-partum and went on a couple longer walks and a hike at three weeks (the hike didn’t feel great). I started some hip exercises and did a lot of kegels.

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At almost six weeks I started body weight exercises and went on another couple hikes.

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I also carried Jasper on a hike for the first time. Let me tell you, climbing a mountain with him strapped to my front was tough!

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On his seven-week birthday I decided it was the day to try out a run. I was a little nervous. Would I pee my pants? Would it hurt? Would I even be able to run?

I tentatively took my first steps and was instantly happy. I was running again! I did a quick assessment and realized nothing hurt. My insides weren’t jiggly (another concern I had), my hips felt good, and my pelvic floor felt ok. I nursed and then pumped before I left the house, so thankfully my chest didn’t hurt either!

I planned to run/walk, but I felt so good I kept it at a slow run the entire time. I was happy that I felt strong cardio-wise, but I kept the pace really easy so maybe that’s why? I went about 5km but felt like I could go forever! It was farther than I planned, but I don’t think it was too much.

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By time I was finished, I had such a runner’s high!!!

I’m not sure when I’ll run again, but I want to try and really ease into it. I’m writing this the next day and my left hamstring and groin are a little tight. I better watch that. I’m also recommitted to doing a lot of strength and taking care of my weak muscles to prevent injury.

I’m using exercises from Deb’s (Deb Runs) blog post, Exercises to keep me in top running form. I’m also following professional runner Stephanie Bruce’s advice on rebuilding the core.

I know it’s going to be a long road to get back to where I was pre-pregnancy. But, I have no race plans and just want to run again for the love of running. I can’t wait to get out there pushing Jasper in a running stroller! Until I start exercising consistently, I plan to walk a ton. I hope to slowly incorporate some HIIT training and get back on my bike, too. And I can’t wait to use the TRX I got for Christmas!

What’s the longest you’ve gone without running?

If you have kids, how long did you take off before running again?

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21 responses to “Getting high – my first run back and post-partum exercise

  1. Congrats on your new baby and congrats on your first run back! Sounds like you are really taking care of your body and doing what feels good. So glad to hear your first run back was a success!!

  2. So glad to hear that you had a great first run back, and I agree that you need to ease back in slowly. It’s great that you’re focusing on muscle balance and core stability (thanks for the shout-out) – you’ll be glad you did. Also, let your foam roller be your best friend.

    BTW, I love the squatting picture of you and Jasper!

    • I loved that post you wrote! Quite a few of the exercises are ones I’ve received from PTs over the years, but it’s nice to learn some new ones, and to have them in one place 🙂

  3. I love this, Abby! You are taking such an incredibly smart, healthy approach to returning. I did not and I still pay for it today–osteitis pubis and weak pelvic floor muscles. I also LOVE the pic of you doing squats with Jasper–so cute!

    • I really hope I continue to approach it that way, and know to back down if I need it.
      I googled Osteitis Pubis and fear I might have it from pregnancy. I’ll have to keep an eye on it and see a PT sooner rather than later if I think it is that.
      It’s crazy you still pay for it today. Another good lesson for me to take my time.

  4. What a wonderful first run back on your feet!! This sounds like the perfect ease back into it.

  5. This is so exciting, Abby. Glad to see that you not only were able to do your first post-natal run, but that it was an enjoyable experience. I will probably feel the same in that I will be nervous about what to expect on the run. I’ve heard it is best to ease slowly back into running and training, which is exactly what I am planning to do as well. It’s good to know that your body tells you when it’s ready and that you weren’t craving a run immediately after birth!

  6. Hooray for running again!!!
    I remember starting back – after my oldest I ran the very day the DR released me (I think at 4 or 6 weeks after birth) – it was brutal. I feel and ended up with tons of tiny rocks embedded in my knees – it was a bloody walk home and then about an hour of Chris digging the rocks out of me while I nursed Jordan.

  7. congrats on the first run back! I can’t imagine not running for 13 weeks but I have a feeling it’s going to happen to me as well – I don’t want to run if I’m not feeling it! But the good news is that it sounds like your body remembered pretty quickly and I’m sure you’ll bounce back fast with all those years of running behind you!

  8. I’m so glad things are going so well for you!! Running a 5K after a 16 week hiatus is nothing to scoff at, so congrats!! The longest I’ve been off from running was 6 weeks due to injury and that wasn’t fun, so I can’t imagine 16 weeks off 😉

  9. Yay!!! Runners High is the best thing ever! Good for you for listening to your body-that’s so important! Cheers to running again!

  10. Woohoo glad you are out running again! Runners’ highs are the BEST.

  11. Yeah!!!! That is so exciting!!! I am so glad that it felt good!! You will be back to running shape in no time…especially once you start running with the stroller!!
    Great pictures!!
    I went 30 days after the NYC marathon! I am pretty sure that was the longest I have gone in a long time! 🙂

  12. Really enjoyed reading this. It’s been a long road back to running for me after my second little one so great to read such a positive experience!

  13. ENDORPHINS ARE AWESOME!!!! That’s so great that you’re running again and I love that you took Mr. Jasper on a hike. I carried Betty everywhere when she was little and now that she’s outgrown the Ergo I’m so sad (I still backpacked all around with her up until really recently!) Carrying a baby is fantastic cross training. 😀

  14. I went 6 months without running while I was on blood thinners. It was brutal. I used to power walk and got salty every time a runner passed me : ) Congrats on finding your runners groove!

  15. Your smile says it all! Hooray for your return to running 🙂 Glad it went well, and it sounds like you’re taking a smart approach to it. And, it’s fantastic that you’re already showing Jasper the wonders of the world through hiking and the outdoors!

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