Running Post Pregnancy: From One Mother Runner to Another

By Christy Cazzola

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A couple of weeks ago I had a conversation with a new mom about coming back to running after pregnancy and the birth of your beautiful baby. I am a mother runner who has come back twice from two very different pregnancies. My children are now 8 and 5, a boy and girl. Before children I ran a 4:59 mile and a 2:08 800 meter, this past year I ran a 4:32 mile and 2:02.95 800 meter. I am not a physician and do not offer any of this information as fact, rather it is advice from one woman to another. While this may seem like a woman only conversation, it’s not. Men should be aware of the health of all immediate family members. The truth is there is no special time to come back after having a baby. Every woman’s body and and every pregnancy is unique. Instead of looking at this from the viewpoint of women as a group, this is an extremely important time to look at the individual experience of one woman. If you’re a new mom that is trying to come back without injury then here is my advice:

Awesome! Many women do it, but most women say, ” listen to your body” because all of our bodies are so different there is no one “get fast” recipe that works for everyone. I started little by little trying to build up… Although almost every run felt difficult for me at first. I think evaluating any lasting pain after running is what is important in staying healthy. Check out Oiselle.com. They have a blog with all their runners, which many are moms, and they all have great advice as well. Start when you are ready, when you know your body is ready that’s when you can get out there just give it a try…meaning try to workout out at home first. Do some sit ups, push ups, four-way hips, ect. Let’s face it most of us ladies are not ready to go out there and crush it the week after childbirth, and I would not suggest it. Enjoy your baby and when you get a moment, like baby’s workout (tummy time), then do some wall sits or the other previously suggested exercises. It is important to feel strong. Your hips and organs will be moving and adjusting for a long period of time after giving childbirth.

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Christy with two young runners at the Cheesehead Half Marathon and 5k  in August

I started slowly and only ran 2-3 times a week and did core until I could run 4-5 times a week.The first four weeks of training, I was so out of shape and struggled to do anything well. My breathing, my form, everything was going out of the window. I usually hit-the-wall within the first 5-10 minutes of running. My build up was slow and at times, extremely frustrating. I never lost sight of where I wanted to go. I knew inside that I have so much more to accomplish in running.When I was finally running 5-6 days a week then I started a structured workout program because by then I was in better shape and could actually complete the workouts. Like I said other can come back faster than others, I had to take things slow and be careful, and listen to my body. Whether you make your comeback within six weeks after childbirth or six months, I support all new mothers to continue to enjoy and empower something for themselves. The relationship you have with yourself is just as important as the bond and relationship that you are forging with your new baby. Good Luck all mother runners, be fierce. Until next time, mom up!

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