While my number one priority right now is nurturing a healthy and happy baby, I’ve reached the point in pregnancy where I’m starting to think more about postpartum running. Even though I haven’t been running much throughout this pregnancy, I knew at some point my dreams of running further and faster in the future would come back to the forefront of my mind. As a goal-oriented, competitive spirit, it was only a matter of time.
Besides being type-A, I’m also a planner; I like to make lists and charts and set my life up to help myself reach all my goals. I’ve done that for my pregnancy, as I’ve planned and plotted and prepared for everything from labor and delivery to fixing up the baby’s room for her arrival. When it comes to postpartum running, now it’s time to start planning how I’ll get runs in with a baby when she and I are ready to go.
A plan, but not a plan-plan
While I am working on creating my postpartum running plan, I want to preface that with it’s not a training plan. I’m planning to make sure I can get runs in if I want to, not to run this or that many miles or workouts. As for when I start to run again, how fast, or how far, that all remains to be seen and will depend on my physical state after labor and delivery, my baby’s needs, my attitude about running, and how much time I have to work with. But, when baby and I are ready, I want to be able to literally hit the ground running.
The Postpartum Running Insurance Plan
Besides physical recovery, the biggest hurdle to most new parents getting out for a run is finding the time. Upon becoming a parent a runner can no longer throw her shoes on and run out the door on a whim. But, with a little planning, you can make it more likely you can get some miles in when you’re ready and have some time.
Get a Running Stroller
This is probably the first thing most people think of as a resource for getting runs in after having a baby. For everything you could ever want to know about choosing a running stroller, read Parsley’s Guide to Choosing a Running Stroller.
Consider a Treadmill
As running moms like Salty, Pimento, Pumpkin, and most recently Parsley have discovered, having a treadmill at home can help you squeeze in miles when you otherwise might not be able to. Jasmine wrote a decent treadmill buyer’s guide with some good tips on what to look for when shopping for a treadmill.
Also Consider a Gym Membership
Why a gym membership? I’m not talking about any old gym membership, I mean one that offers childcare. This might not be something you’ll use right away, but could come in handy as your baby grows. The first gym to consider for this? Your local YMCA if you have one, because not only might you be able to get a run or strength workout, but your dues could go towards Gym and Swim and other classes for your child too!
Talk to Your Partner
Getting out for a run at your favorite park with your best running friends or alone in the peace and quiet, can be quite a luxury for a runner parent, but assuming your partner is going to be down with this every time you want to go might lead to a few arguments. My partner isn’t a runner, but he has things he’d like to do too. I know that expecting to pass off the little lady to him as soon as he gets home from work every day so I can go get in a run probably isn’t realistic.
Becoming parents is an exciting time, but it also impacts both parents and sometimes it seems there’s never enough time to go around to suit all family members’ needs. And this means that sometimes parents argue about who’s going to watch the kid when. These are good conversations to have ahead of time so you are on the same page about expectations and responsibilities.
Line up the Sitters
Getting a run in can be really easy, when you have family and friends that are begging for time with the little one! Take them up on it once you feel comfortable. It’s good for baby to get to know the other people in her life, and I don’t need to tell you that it’s great for you to get some me-time out on the roads or trails.
Besides grandma, and aunts and uncles, consider sitter-pooling with your friends. Some running parent friends have a group run and play-date, where half the adults go run for the first hour and then the other half go the second hours, as they switch off who watches the babies play. When it comes to other running parent friends, scratch each others backs and everyone gets a run in with kiddos well cared for!
Think about Your Schedule
If you will be returning to work after maternity leave, it can help to think about what your running time options will be: dark o’clock before work, lunch run, a quickie straight from the office before daycare pick-up? Think about what makes the most sense, and to the extent you can, arrange for that as soon as possible to give you a little peace of mind.
Sure, not all of these things are necessary to keep running after baby. Some of them won’t be worth the expense or practical for you. But, they are all options to consider when thinking about returning to running after becoming a parent.