With new babies from Tea, Barley and me and Turmeric about to join us, it seems like there’s a Salty baby boom going on! For those pregnant, it’s both an exciting and an unnerving time. All first time moms wonder how their lives are going to change with the arrival of a baby, but most don’t think too much about how their athletic lives will change. But it’s different for us runners. Now a seasoned mother of three, I’d like to share what I lost and gained in running after becoming a mom. Read more >>
While pregnancy is often what calls attention to pelvic floor muscles, it’s important for all runners to understand this muscle group. Basically, the pelvic floor is a group of muscles and connective tissue that attach to the pelvis. Together, they act as a sling, or hammock, to support the internal organs of the lower part of the abdomen, including the bladder, uterus, and rectum.
But for runners who have had children or plan to some day, it’s also important to understand how pregnancy affects this part of our anatomy, and the implications of those effects on our running. In addition to supporting our organs the muscles of the pelvic floor are involved with continence, the ability to voluntarily hold in your bodily fluids (read: make it to the bathroom without peeing your shorts).
So let’s explore this muscle system in further detail and learn how it affects your running.
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. Read more >>
Sure babies are cute, but they do some ugly things to our runner bodies. As I explained in my intro post, I didn’t train for a marathon until after I had my second child. Like many eager new running moms, I fell victim to “too much, too fast, too soon” after giving birth. I thought at seven months postpartum I was well past any potential injury related to labor and delivery, but I was wrong.
The bright side? I gained an increased awareness and understanding about what my body needed to stay strong and support a heavy training load. I especially learned a lot about my core and pelvic floor, which were perhaps the parts of my body most impacted by pregnancy and childbirth and, perhaps worse, the parts I most neglected.
I gave birth three and a half months ago and I ran a marathon. Say what? A marathon? Yes, you read that right. All that talk about easing back into it after having a baby, and not rushing anything to avoid injury? I really did mean it. And I have been following my own advice. But I did just somewhat randomly run the Hilton Head Island Marathon, three and a half months postpartum. And, spoiler alert, I randomly won.
Let me explain.
I am of the age where many-many-many women in my life are having babies. I think I have had a friend, family member, or acquaintance give birth every month for the last two years. My little spit-fire, Alora is four already and I will say I am very, very-very-very-VERY, content she is past the infant stage.
Since her birth, I have trained consistently, avoided injury, and included my daughter in my running routine. I have also PR’ed at the 10k, half-marathon, and full marathon since her birth.
In four years, I’ve experienced a lot, made mistakes, did some things right, and learned a lot about running, motherhood, and myself. Read more >>
This will be my last training log with “postpartum” written into it, because I feel like I’m on the road to normal. I’ve settled into a new running routine with 3 kids/an infant. The biggest challenge has been letting go of daily/weekly mileage goals, and maximizing what I can do on those “off” days when I have to find a way to run with all 3 at home. Trying to embrace quality vs. quantity, and while I think it will pay off, won’t really know until I get back to racing!
For this 6 week training block, I actually met almost all of my running goals:
Fit in several long runs (90 minutes)
Increased my average (normal) run time (when either by myself or just with baby) to an hour
Started workouts- nothing major, just working on turnover, completely unmeasured and totally by feel
Added drills to one of my shorter runs once a week
The biggest accomplishment was doing some sort of strength or core work almost every. single. day. I put my Bosu balance trainer and set of 5 lb hand weights next to my washing machine. Since I usually visit it at least once a day, I step on that thing and get in a quick set of strength work after putting in a load of laundry, and often when coming back to take it out. I also made a rule that if I’m going to sit down and eat a bowl of ice cream and watch tv after finally getting everyone to bed, I at least have to do planks first. So far it’s working and I’ve stuck with it, since I do love ice cream!
My biggest fail is focusing specifically on fixing my DR/getting to a physical therapist about this. Maybe when it gets warm and I want to start running shirtless, I will finally be motivated to do this!
Sunday: 32 minutes Weymouth Woods Trail
Monday: 60 minutes with 12 x 1 minute fast, 1 minute recovery
Tuesday: 60 minutes with single stroller
Wednesday: 1 mile- run to/from the park w/ my 4 y/o, pushing double stroller. 30+ minutes drills/strength work at the park.
Thursday: 90 minutes on a hilly route with the single stroller
Friday: 4 miles on the treadmill, sub 8 minute pace
Saturday: 60 minutes Weymouth Woods Trail
Contrary to Shalane Flanagan’s cookbook title, my advice for women returning to running after having a baby is to Eat Fast and Run Slow.
Multiple Salty moms have given advice about returning to running after having a baby. I’d like to offer an additional perspective, framed in the context of a loose training plan. Loose because after having a baby your body will literally be loose! But, more seriously, loose, because as with all aspects of running and postpartum recovering, there is no one-size-fits-all plan.
The thing with us is, that while we know we have to be flexible during the postpartum period in consideration of both our body’s and family’s demands, many of us crave the structure that brings along the hope that we’ll be as fit as we once were. That’s the purpose of my Eat Fast/ Run Slow plan: to provide a general framework for developing your own training strategy, while maintaining the flexibility postpartum life demands. Read more >>
This new “training block” (I use the term loosely, since I just have broad goals set for the second 6 weeks back running) has gotten off to a great start! First block I established my standard run distance to be 30 minutes, with one 45 minute long run. This block I’m trying to establish my standard run distance to be 45 minutes, with an hour long run. I’ve also been much better about doing a little bit of core or strength work every day, even if it’s just a few minutes. I don’t write it in my training log because most of the time it is literally just a few minutes, but better than nothing!
Sunday: 45 minutes
Monday: 4 miles on the treadmill with a 7:52 average pace, last 1.5 miles at 7:30 pace. This run was significant for several reasons- it was the first time back from baby I paid any attention to pace, and actually tried to run a decent pace. It felt pretty good! It was also the longest I’ve been able to manage on the treadmill b/c baby slept (lulled between the treadmill and washing machine noise!), and my older two played together without me having to intervene!
Tuesday: 30 minutes with baby stroller
Wednesday: 46 minutes trails
Thursday: 45 minutes with stroller on a hilly loop
Friday: one mile run/walk to/from the park with the double stroller and my 4 y/o running partner; 30 minutes drills/strength work on the field
Saturday: 45 minutes trails
It’s all about the boobs. That’s what governed my running the past 6 weeks. I forgot how much life revolves around baby eating, especially if you’re breastfeeding. While I physically felt pretty good and ready to ramp things up, it wasn’t always possible timing wise. By the time you nurse/pump/drain your boobs so you can actually run, you may have run out of time to actually get out the door!
I met some of my running goals, and failed at others.
Ran at least 5 days a week
Got my “long run” up to 45 minutes (once!)
Somewhat established a schedule, routinely running 30 minutes on each run
Core work/cross training. I managed to do one long core/strength session a week, but that was it. Sometimes I snuck in mini-sessions, but nothing routine. And no cross training at all. Sleep/the dirty house/piles of laundry called my name stronger.
Continue to build in distance, adding some easy speed work (aka: strides).
Make a better effort at doing core/strength work.
When I go in for my post-birth follow-up appointment, get a referral for PT to finally fix my 2+ year old diastisis recti.
- note that this is really 4 weeks of running, as I took the 1st 2 weeks after baby was born completely off from doing anything at all.
I came on board Salty Running late last year to share my experiences with returning to running after recovering from a Cesarian birth. I shared my first few training logs and three posts about running and C-section recovery:
Now that it’s been a year, I wanted to share my experience with racing after a C-section too. I ran three marathons during my daughter’s first year: a half and two full marathons. Before I had my daughter, I managed to get my marathon best down to 2:57. My running goal after having her was to get back as close to that time as I could, if not exceeding it! Read more >>
A friend of mine told me that every day after a c-section you feel 100% better than the day before. Well, I have a lot of “100%’s” to go until I feel decent again, but she was right. Every day is 100% better than the day before… UNLESS I overdid it the day before, in which case I take one step forward and a half step back.
I’ve had a lot of improvement this week though. The best part was realizing that I can stationary bike at the gym without feeling pain in my incision. The trick is to set the bike with just enough resistance that I can pedal solely using the power of my leg muscles, hence sparing my core. I also found that if I kept my pedal rate about 70 RPMs, that was just about right (any faster and I could feel my core starting to engage, which is what I was trying to avoid). Read more >>
With cesarean deliveries accounting for about one in every 3 births, many of us soon-to-be or new running moms will find ourselves facing a return to running after a c-section. It is my goal to help you make your running comebacks as soon as and as smoothly as possible!
Last week, I questioned the standard c-section recovery recommendations, which require 6-8 weeks off running. I believe it is acceptable to at least question this advice if you are a seasoned runner and have an uncomplicated c-section.
This week, I want to discuss how other factors about your c-section may affect your return to running.
According to the CDC, in 2013, C-sections accounted for 32 .7% of US births[i]. That’s one in three births, people. No matter how fit we runners are, even we are very likely to deliver our babies via c-section.
However, as runners, there’s one thing we are also likely to do: disregard medical advice, especially when it comes to things like rest and recovery time. Those recommendations are for average people and we runners are anything but … or so our thinking goes.
When it comes to c-section recovery, doctors recommend a 6 week break from exercise. SIX weeks off?! You’re joking, right?
Let’s discuss whether this six weeks break applies to highly trained runners, too. Read more >>
I kind of think I’m invincible. I’m willing to guess many of you can relate to this feeling. I live an extremely active lifestyle, running about 50 miles per week, bike commuting 6 miles each way, and walking my dogs at least 3 miles a day. I was able to run (ok, waddle would be more accurate) throughout pregnancy thanks to encouragement from Salty’s pregnancy posts. I even ran 6 miles the day I went into labor!
So long story short, I was shocked when, at 38 weeks pregnant, my baby turned breech and I was told that unless she turned head-down by delivery day, I would need a C-section. Me? A C-section? There’s no way! I was going to have a perfect, natural, unmedicated birth and bounce right back into running without barely missing a step! Read more >>
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