Women’s Running: Post-Pregnancy Running Thoughts

Running through Pregnancy - Part 1
Running through Pregnancy - Part 1

This post was originally posted as part of Women’s Running Blogger Series. You can find it here. 

I wanted to share it here as well because I think it’s such an important (and potentially controversial) topic. And, to be honest, my views on it have changed considerably over the past couple of years. If you asked me even a year ago, I would have had a totally different opinion on the subject. I’ve written quite a number of postpartum running posts that deal with my return to running and training and I don’t want those to be the only side that gets shared.

—————————–

Last week, Women’s Running posted a question on twitter:

Mom Runners – how long did you wait after the birth of your child to start running again?

My husband and I have recently discussed when we might try for a 3rd child. Postpartum running, as well as all things related to pregnancy, have been at the forefront of my mind.

My first two pregnancies were fairly smooth and complication-free. I was able to run until the last couple of days (Note: I didn’t run for 4-5 weeks during the middle of my 2nd pregnancy due to some lower back pain). Deliveries were also without issue. I was given the green light from my doctor to resume physical activity whenever I felt up to it.

read more

    Making Time for My Spouse’s Fitness

    Don’t forget to enter the Garmin Forerunner 10 Giveaway! 

    I saw a tweet last week from a new dad saying he was happy to be getting back on track with running post-baby.  My first thought was along the lines of Post-Baby? You didn’t just have a baby!!  But after letting his words sink in for a bit, I began to see more and more truth to what he said.  True, the husbands are not the ones who just carried and delivered a child.  BUT, they DO have a new baby in their lives – and in some ways, I think the spouse’s return to running post-baby may sometimes be tougher.

    The woman has to deal with the physical limitations of having just given birth, but the spouse may have to deal with his/her own set of challenges that comes with being the spouse of a postpartum woman.  I think it can be challenging for the spouse to juggle fitting in physical fitness while still being supportive at home (especially working a full-time job).

    From my experience at home, I was given the full support of my husband to return to running very soon after both boys were born.  I had very easy L&D and was given clearance to run when I felt ready.  It wasn’t because I had a race on the calendar, but rather, because I loved running (and missed running w/o carrying around a watermelon!), wanted some semblance of control over my body back, and selfishly needed enjoyed a bit of time away from the stress of a newborn (esp when it was my first!).

    read more

      Strengthening Your Mind

      Baptism

      ————————————–

      Last Day to Enter the PRO Compression Giveaway here!

      ———————–

      This past weekend was my son’s Baptism. It was a perfect day –  wonderful ceremony, good food, and our family and neighbors to share the day with us.  I’m extremely sentimental and wanted my boys to wear the same christening outfit – just like my sisters and I did when we were all baptized. We had a small party at our home afterwards catered from a yummy place on Staten Island.

      All dressed up for a change!

      I love little boy clothes:

      My mom and sisters:

      —————————————————–

      This is one of my favorite mantras to say to myself during a tough run:

      I have many moments of doubt and even more moments of wanting to just quit when I’m doing during tempo and speed workouts.

      read more

        Speed Work Post-Baby

        Embrace the Pain

        Confession: the last time I did speedwork outside was years ago (like 3 or 4).  When I was in Iraq, it was impossible for me to find an area on the base where I could run without worrying about hummvees, tanks, or even indirect fire, so I began to do my speedwork on the treadmill.  I guess when you are left with no choice, you learn to love the only option you have.  I have stuck with the treadmill for the past few years.

        After Saturday’s 6 mile progression run, I realized I needed to suck it up and start doing the speedwork outside.  While the treadmill can give me a great workout, I find that I push myself much harder when I am outside.

        There isn’t a local track that I can go to so I will be doing my repeats on an area close to my home that has just under a mile of flat pavement (the last .1 or so is a bit of an uphill).  It’s definitely not ideal – I have to keep an eye out for traffic since I’m going through a bunch of intersections, but it could definitely be worse.  Trying to be optimistic – HA =)

        read more

          When do you throw in the towel?

          Race for Recovery Update

          ———————————————–

          As you are probably aware, I was set to race the Hot Chocolate 10k on Sunday.  I had really big goals for the race: running sub-42 which would allow me to apply for the Saucony Hurricane Team.

          I spent the last 5 weeks following a training plan – cutting back on my mileage and focusing on regaining the speed I had lost during pregnancy.

          reacquainted myself with the uncomfortableness of speed workouts and hard runs.

          I saw HUGE gains in just a few weeks.  My 5k time went from 21:36 to 20:50 in one week.

          I had successful tempo runs.  My last one included 4 miles at a 7:05 pace.  I finished feeling strong and anxious to run more.

          I was starting to believe in myself.

          Last Monday I planned to do a practice 10k.  My goal was sub-43 (~ 6:55 pace).  I jogged a mile warmup, stretched and began the 10k time trial.  I barely made it a mile. Something didn’t seem right.  I felt tired and achy – as though I had a really tough run the day before – which I hadn’t (it was a rest day).

          read more

            First Step is Believing + Review of Saucony Guide 6

            My biggest goal right now is to make the 2013 Saucony Hurricane Team.  In order to even apply, I have to run a qualifying time in the 2012 calendar year.  We are 2/3 through November and I find myself with my back against the wall and the clock winding down.

            I’ve been hesitant to discuss it openly because I’m scared of failing.  I have convinced myself that maybe I won’t be as disappointed if I don’t full invest myself in it.  If I don’t talk about it, it doesn’t mean that much to me…right?  I don’t want to spend the next four weeks training, pushing, believing…only to come up short on race day.  It will crush me.

            But I realized last weekend that I can’t expect to run that time unless I devote 100% of myself to it.  I can’t push myself as hard as I need to if I hear the voices in my head.

            I need to believe in myself. 

            The first step is believing.

            The second step – find a race.  I signed up for the Hot Chocolate 10k on Dec 16 on Roosevelt Island – two loops around the almost entirely flat island.  I have to run a sub-42 which equates to a 6:47 pace.

            read more

              Remembering How to Run Uncomfortably

              First real "race" postpartum

              First real "race" postpartum

              I am slowly starting to feel more and more like myself when I run.  I’m not at my pre-pregnancy shape or pace (and don’t expect to be there for some time), but I feel stronger each day I run.

              Since my son was born (almost 2 months ago!!!), I have tried to take it one day at a time and not push myself too much physically.  Although I started running almost immediately, I didn’t want to overdo it with mileage or speed.  Over the last 7+ weeks I have focused on:

              • Very slowly increasing my long runs (up to 12 miles)
              • Decreasing my pace on my easy runs
              • Decreasing days off in between run days (I’m back to running 5-6 days/week)

              I occasionally would pick up the pace for a mile or so but decided to hold off on doing any sort of speedwork until I felt I ready.  I made the decision this past weekend that I was ready – partially because I feel great running, partially because I’m back to getting a good night’s sleep (Ryan sleeps 6-8 hours at a stretch now) and partially because I have my first “race” on the calendar for this year.

              I didn’t even know this race existed until I saw this:

              So a huge thank you to Samantha and Erica for the heads up!  (I will go into more details on the race and the significance in an upcoming post.)

              read more

                Sandy + Double Digits are BACK!

                Last Mile split (actually was 7:37)

                Staten Island Evac Zones

                Good Morning, friends!  This post is going to be short and I likely won’t be blogging for a few days due to Hurricane Sandy.

                These are the evacuation zones for my hometown, Staten Island.  There is currently a mandatory evacuation in place for residents living in zone A.  We are just outside zone A (the red on the map).  My older sister and her family are in zone C (currently not required to evacuate) but my mom falls right in the middle of zone A.  So her and my sister spent last night at our home.

                While the wind and rain pose a severe threat to Staten Island, we are most concerned with the water surge from the Raritan Bay.  We are bracing and expecting the worst – we spent most of the weekend preparing our home and shopping for essentials.

                I will keep everyone as updated as I can, but are anticipating power outages that can last for extended periods of time, so access to a computer and internet may not be feasible.

                My thoughts and prayers are with everyone who is in the path of this storm – especially those that are in her direct path (the models currently show that we are NOT in the direct path of Sandy).  Let’s hope that the models are making this storm worse than she will be.

                read more

                  Running Mom Inspiration + Mizuno Shoe Giveaway WINNER!

                  Mezamashii3

                  First, I just want to say thank you so much for everyone’s supportive and encouraging comments, tweets, and messages regarding yesterday’s post.  It was really great to hear about all of your experiences dealing with similar frustrations with returning to running (especially those returning postpartum).

                  I’ve heard so many stories about females becoming faster after giving birth.  I didn’t get a chance to experience the full extent of this as I had just started PRing again (my son was 11 months old) when I found out that we were expecting child #2!

                  But there are a lot of females that get considerably faster post-baby.  One great example is Jen from The Local Elite.  I recently discovered her and her blog (and love both!!)!!  She is insanely fast and hopes to qualify for the Olympic Marathon Trials.  Check out her pre-pregnancy and post-baby PRs – they give me so much hope!!

                  • 5k Road: 16:40 (pre-pregnancy 18:20)
                  • Half Marathon: 1:18:05 (pre-pregnancy 1:25)
                  • Marathon 2:51 (pre-pregnancy 3:14)
                  PS. Jen just ran the Columbus Half-Marathon (as a training run – not an all out race) and finished in 1:21:09 (which is a 6:15 pace).  She finished 50th out of almost 10,000 runners and was the 8th female to cross the finish line.  Amazing (especially since it was just a training run for her!).  Congrats, Jen!

                  —————————————

                  read more

                    The Long Road Ahead

                    Approaching finish line of Boston Marathon

                    This past weekend was my first post-baby race.  As I already stated, it wasn’t an all-out race for me – but truth be told, I did push myself.  My lungs were burning and legs were hurting at various points during the 6.2 miles.

                    My pace for those short miles was slower than the pace I’ve run marathons in.

                    I’m certainly not complaining about where I am at physically right now.  At 5 weeks postpartum  I know that I am blessed to have had a fairly uncomplicated pregnancy (with the exception of gestational diabetes and posterior pelvic pain) and an easy labor and delivery.  Both of those allowed me to return to running very soon after my son was born and I know a lot of females are not as lucky.

                    But it’s been extremely humbling so far.  My body seems to have forgotten what certain paces feel like.  I’m a big fan of not running with a Garmin all the time and have gotten pretty good with judging my pace based on perceived effort.  But right now, I have no clue what pace my body is moving at. I think (and feel like) I’m running a certain pace and then I look down at my Garmin (or treadmill screen) and see a totally different number – typically about a minute slower than I think I’m running.

                    read more

                      Running Post-Partum: How Soon is Too Soon?

                      postpartum running

                      Post 4-mile run

                      Are you on TwitterInstagram or Facebook? Let’s connect! 

                      ——————-

                      I ran 5 days after the birth of my first son – an easy 1 mile run on the treadmill and then slowly increased the mileage over the next few weeks.  By the time he was 5-6 weeks old, I was comfortably running 30-40 miles/week which included long runs of ~10 miles and some speed workouts.

                      I have roughly the same plan this time around.  I ran 2 miles last Tuesday (6 days postpartum) and 4 miles on Saturday (10 days postpartum).

                      While most of the feedback I have gotten has been extremely positive, I have received some pushback and questions from friends / family / readers about my quick return to running.

                      But how soon is too soon?  

                      From my research, discussions with other females, doctor’s guidance, and previous experience, I can tell you that there is certainly not a black and white answer for this question.

                      I ran until the end of this pregnancy, had an uncomplicated natural delivery, and didn’t need any stitches post L&D – and I’ve been given the green light by my health care provider to begin physical activity.

                      read more