You know how when you’re a kid and you’re waiting for Christmas or your birthday to roll around and it seems to take forever? The four weeks before Christmas may as well be four months or four years! To a child’s eyes, time never seems to pass; we simply can’t wait!
That’s kind of how I’ve been feeling about running. Now some of you may think I’m crazy (and you may be right) to look forward to something like running. Especially if you hate running. I love it. (Remember, that’s what this blog is about – running.) I was getting antsy to get out and run. The weather was getting nicer, and that doesn’t help; to me there’s no better way to enjoy sunshine and warm weather than by getting outside and moving my body. And if you read my last post about body image, I was anxious to reconnect with the body that had changed so much I didn’t recognize it much anymore..
I told myself to really let my body heal and rest after Baby Girl was born. I wanted to make sure that when I returned to running, I was totally ready to go. I didn’t want to wear myself out or hinder recovery. Or – forgive me – wet myself. Trying to do too much too soon wouldn’t help me or my running, rather it would make my return harder. And that’s true for all of us. After a big race, like a marathon, runners take adequate time off to rest and recover. After birth, mommas need the same thing: rest and recovery. I took three weeks doing very light activity to allow my body to recover. Then I couldn’t wait anymore.
So I went running.
Just a mile, and not very fast. And you know what? I felt fantastic. Sure, it was harder than pre-pregnancy, but much easier than it was a couple months ago. And sure, things jiggled a bit that I’d rather didn’t. And sure, my running clothes may have been a little too tight to be considered “cute.” But I didn’t care.
Now, I would never recommend attempting to workout before you’ve received a doctor’s permission at 4-6 weeks postpartum. (Side note: I did text my doctor later and she gave me the ok.) I know my body and what it can handle as well as when to back off if needed, so I was confident that I was good to go. Never disregard a doctor’s recommendations, but I think it’s important to know your body. Know when to push and when to pull back. Know when you can keep going and when you need to stop.
Years of running has allowed me to learn just that, and I felt pretty good about going out for a run. Plus, if I had to wait any longer I was going to go nuts. 3 weeks was a long time for me to wait. And guess what? All the running I did while pregnant really paid off. I’m not where I was by any means, but this is probably the best shape I’ve been in after a baby. So if you’re still pregnant, keep moving! Standing on this side of it, I can tell you it’s totally worth it. It greatly influenced my postpartum fitness.
And speaking of postpartum, here are the updates:
3 weeks post
Baby Girl: She’s starting to act like a typical newborn. Go figure. Likes to be held all the time, which makes getting things done a little challenging, but I still can’t complain. She stays up late, but usually still gives me a 5-6 hour stretch of sleep.
Workouts: Still working on that core, which incidentally allowed me to run without leaking. It’s so important to strengthen that TA! Kept up with the yoga and of course added in my 1 mile run. Slowly getting my strength and fitness back. I will be adding strength training in soon. (Especially the back! Holy cow am I sore from holding this little 8 lb girl.)
Nutrition: No change. Still trying to drink a lot of water. Still trying to emphasize quality nutrition, and lots of fat and protein. I’m continuing to limit sugar, dairy, and gluten, which basically means no treats, but I’ve come up with some great substitutes that I will hopefully be sharing soon.
Weight loss: Nothing. My stomach is going down and that’s about the only change. By 6 weeks my body should be “normal,” (except that lose skin, extra fat, and weak muscles) so I have about 3 more weeks until then. It’ll be interesting to see what normal looks like.
Trying to get into running or back into activity after baby? Check with your doc. Chances are, if you’re done bleeding, feel up to it, and had no complications, you’ll be cleared.