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Return to running postpartum? Be kind to yourself.

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

postpartum safely:

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

running program.

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

find online.

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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