Top 10 Tips on returning to Running Post-partum

If you’re a mum who wants to get back into (or just into!) running postpartum...boy, do we have the best advice possible for you! Particularly as it pertains to a 3km, 6km or 10km run. In case you haven’t heard, we at Cadenshae sponsor the great Alysia Montaño - one of the world’s most successful middle distance runners. We’re so incredibly proud of this partnership.


Alysia is a six time USA 800m champion as well as a three time world championship bronze medalist...so it’s fair to say this Olympian knows a thing or two about running! To boot, Alysia is a mother of two, with another bubs due in just a few weeks! So exciting!


We thought we’d ask Alysia for some tips on how best to go about running again after giving birth...because...you actually couldn’t find a more suitable person to get this type of advice from!  As well as being a world class runner, Alysia is also famous for being, “that pregnant runner,” competing in a major race...eight months pregnant! If you’re lacking motivation to get out and train, watch this! 

Check out Alysia Montaño’s tips for getting into running postpartum below, enjoy...and thank you so much Alysia!

1. First of all, enjoy your new baby! Congratulations mama!

2. Get out of the house and walk outside for some fresh air daily: Movement promotes healing, so it’s important from day one to move, just a little at a time. I would walk around the hospital just as soon as I had my baby and felt up to it. At home I found walking to the local cafe was important for more reasons than one! My favourite cafe was about 750m away, so I’d enjoy the fresh air, my baby and my coffee, then I’d walk the 750m back. I was not walking for pace, I was walking for healing, for coffee, for vitamin D, for fresh air, for mental sanity...and for the newfound freedom I had to love and enjoy this new life.

3. Get adequate nutrition:Don’t forget about your nutritional needs, especially if you’re breastfeeding. Continue to take your prenatal vitamins, hydrate adequately, (use electrolytes like Nuun Hydration to help) eat a breakfast high in protein and include healthy fats, try to not go more than three hours without eating, even if it is just a quick handful of nuts. Your body needs to be nourished mum!

MY NUTRITION IN A DAY, JUST AS AN EXAMPLE:
1:30am: NURSING SNACK: a handful of nuts and a glass of water.
4:30am: Same as above.
6:30am: BREAKFAST: two slices of toast, two hard boiled eggs and a large glass of water with Nuun Hydration electrolytes.
9:30am: MORNING TEA: protein smoothie (water with Nuun hydration vitamins dissolved, strawberries, blueberries, banana, nut butter and one cup of yoghurt) and some sort of protein and carbohydrate combination to eat.
12:30pm: LUNCH: a protein, a carbohydrate, and some healthy fats...a glass of water too of course!
3:30pm:  AFTERNOON TEA: a protein and carb snack (scroggin is a great pick), more water!  
6:30pm: DINNER: You know the drill by now -  a protein, a carb, some healthy fats and more water! 

4. Acquire a splint and/or some medically endorsed maternity leggings to help aid in abdominal separation. I used the FIT SPLINT, and I couldn’t recommend Cadenshae’s three quarter or full length maternity leggings more for providing the belly support and compression needed to recover. Cadenshae’s leggings are endorsed by doctors and physios who specifically work in women’s health.

5. Look into core restoration postpartum care: There’s no need to look at your core from an aesthetic standpoint, just from a health standpoint. Pelvic floor health has been well overlooked for far too long, but you can take care of yourself now by doing a light core exercise program that includes proper posture and breathing techniques. You can do this as soon as you’ve given birth, if you’re ready. This will help prevent injury, back and hip pain, thus keeping you healthy. Get YOU healthy first and foremost so you can better enjoy the wild times ahead with your little one!

6. RESPECT YOUR BODY:  Remember, we’re all different and your timing is your own, do not compare yourself to your coffee group friend who has already signed up to a half-marathon! You do you! A general rule that you might be ready is when bleeding has subsided.

7. Have fun rehabilitating with your baby. While bubs has some tummy time, do some core exercises...it’s a fun ‘workout session’ you can do together!

8. Slowly start running: Incorporate a few minutes at a time, but be sure to stop if your hips feel achy, feel free to walk if this is the case and don’t worry...everyone recovers differently.

9. Don't leave out strength work, beginning your trek back to running needs a really good foundation. Incorporate body weight work (twice a week) to help build back strength, gradually add weight as your strength returns.

10. Gently stretch after movement. Remember your joints and ligaments still have relaxing hormones coursing through them, so you'll still feel pretty loose. Give your muscles some love. A massage is a good idea too!

 

Once you feel ready to get stuck into a longer running routine, here’s my advice:

1. As I touched on earlier, try doing a more specific ‘core exercise program’ to help you with stability and your core rehabilitation. Quality programs can be started straight after birth with breathing exercises, and it’s likely you can increase the intensity by week two and be in a full routine by week six. BUT...don’t worry if it takes you a little longer to get started with all of the newness of motherhood you’ve got going on!

2. Get strong before you go long. Incorporate two strength training work-outs a week. 

Include:

  • RDLs (Romanian deadlifts).
  • Sumo squats (focus on core control and pulling up your pelvic floor. As you get stronger, add light weights).
  • Back strength exercises - back flys are great for this, but remember your body has changed post-birth, your core is probably weaker and your breasts are larger. Understand that your strength training needs to accommodate your new body, then go from there.

3. Have a ‘test day!’ See how many minutes you can run for without your hips feeling fatigued. Cap it at 10-15 minutes (if you make it that far). Take the following day off to stretch.

4. Try a run again after one day off. See if you can run about the same amount of time you did the first time, stay here for about a week.

 5. The following week, add a few more minutes to your run time. Every week do this until you can do a 30 minute run without hip fatigue. If you do have sore hips - spend about two weeks running 30 minutes every other day, and then take the third week to recuperate by doing the following:

Day 1:  30 minute run 
Day 2:  stretching and strength
Day 3: 15 minute run
Day 4:  DAY OFF
Day 5: 30 minute run
Day 6: stretch and strength work
Day 7: DAY OFF

6. Now, begin your new week. For many, a 30 minute run is plenty and is a good indicator that you’re ready to enter a 3K race.

7. For assurance that you are ready to run a 6K, take that three week plan to get to 3K and then begin the new week by adding five minutes to your run day. When you can comfortably get to 60 minutes, you’re now ready for a 6K. Modified 6K rest week (after two week build ups to get to the 60 minutes).

Day 1: 60 minute run
Day 2: stretch and strength work
Day 3: 30 minute run
Day 4: DAY OFF
Day 5: 60 minute run
Day 6: stretch and strength work
Day 7: DAY OFF

8. Right, the 10k! You’ll need to ensure you can get to at least one 80-90 minute run a week for your joint safety.

9. For each distance, it’s best to complete an 8-12 week training program to keep you as safe and injury free as possible, training is key!

10. Enjoy mama! There’s nothing better than getting to the finish line and seeing your baby/babies waiting for you. Make them proud - you’ve totally got this!

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