It is easy to be hard on yourself as you return to running, especially if you are
slower, more tired or don’t feel as good as you think you should. Don’t fall into
the trap of beating yourself up about it. Instead, talk to yourself as you would talk
to your best friend. Remind yourself that you created another human - you are
amazing! Be kind to yourself, and take it slow.
Creating and giving birth to another little human is hard, and every woman’s body
is different. The body goes through tremendous change during pregnancy and
postpartum. There are biomechanical, physiological, psychological and physical
changes that occur simultaneously. Some of these changes last for a few weeks,
but many last for several months, or even longer. No one responds to these
changes in the same way. Try not to compare yourself to who you used to be, to
your running partner or to the super-fast woman who had twins three months ago
and finished a marathon today. Instead, celebrate your wins – every single one of
Here are a few reminders and tips to help you as you ease back into running
1. Stress is stress: the more stress you add to your life, both physical and
mental, the higher the likelihood for injury. Changing your entire lifestyle,
sleeping less at night, breast feeding and recovering from giving birth are
all additional stressors that need to be considered when returning to a
2. You are not the same runner you were before you got pregnant. This is
not to say that you are going to be any better or any worse. You are just
different. When you go out to run again, remember it will feel different and
that’s OK. Running might take you longer, and it will be harder than you
imagined it would be at first. Stick with it, and go slowly.
3. Follow a program. Start with a walk/run program, and slowly transition to
consistent running. This doesn’t mean do one or two walk/run days and
then go run a five-mile loop. That is not easing into it. Spend a few weeks
walking and then another few weeks doing a walk/run program before you
run your first consistent mile. It will take a lot of restraint, but your body will
thank you for it later.
4. Pay attention to your breathing. Your breathing affects how you can
stabilize your core; if you can’t breathe, it’s going to be hard to run with
enough stability to prevent injury. Practice breathing into the diaphragm.
This doesn’t mean into your belly. Breathing into your diaphragm properly
requires you to feel the breath in the side and back of your rib cage, too.
5. If you haven’t seen a pelvic health specialist or someone who understands
running mechanics in the postpartum body, seek someone out. If you are
local to Atlanta, we would be happy to help you find the right resources. If
not, there are plenty of resources across the country that you can go to or
I repeat: be kind to yourself, and love yourself. Remember, giving birth is not
easy: being pregnant is a big deal, and we don’t give ourselves enough credit
for the amazing thing that we’ve done as women. It’s better to take your time
now and take care of some of the issues that might be at hand than to wait
and sideline your running in a few months, just when you’re starting to get into
If you’re not sure where to start or if you’re doing the right thing, feel free to
reach out and email me. You can also check out some of the blogs we have
previously written about this topic. In early spring, my coauthor, Dr. Blair
Green PT, and I will be releasing A Woman’s Guide to Running During
Pregnancy and Postpartum. Follow our social media to @precisionpt_atl to
find out when it is officially released!
Dr. Kate Mihevc Edwards is a board certified orthopedic specialist, a specialist is running and endurance medicine and the owner/CEO of Precision Performance & Physical Therapy. She is the author of Racing Heart: A Runner's Journey of Love, Loss & Perseverance.
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