Returning to running: 6 months post partum

6 months today. Half a year.  Where did that go? If you're interested, here's some thoughts about the return to running after giving birth (so far).



[Side note: This isn't going to be a well crafted post, because as I'm learning - if I don't just do something the second I have a moment, it won't get done. I have a moment, so I'm doing this.]

  • 6 weeks seemed like an eternity when I was waiting to even start thinking about running and yet now that time sounds so short. BUT I did actually really enjoy not thinking about running or trying to run for most of that time. It was kinda liberating.
  • It's been really valuable to remember what it's like to start running. I'd forgotten how you have to make yourself get out of the door and get a routine before you can really start enjoying it. The first run back where I suddenly realised that I wasn't having to think about it... oh wow. That felt so good!
  • Couch to 5k was a good way to start and kept me relatively reined in for a bit but I got pretty frustrated with it pretty quickly
  • Having set physio and conditioning and yoga routines to do while I couldn't run much really helped the schedule-lover in me
  • I've been surprised that the speed has returned relatively quickly once it started to click, but the endurance is still an effort. It's only recently that I've been back in double digits and I can still feel it being an effort once I got over the 10 mile mark
  • It's easy to slip back into mileage chasing. I must try not to... but also I want to know I can do it and it's great for headspace
  • Running with a buggy is a new skill and there's a lovely community of buggy runners
  • BUT - know what you want from running. If you run for headspace and me time (very valuable as a new mum) then maybe don't run with the buggy and make sure running is your 'me' time. If you want to just run, then totally run with a buggy as it's a great way to get out there (after 6ish months). I've thought about it and I need both. I need those hard solo runs to burn it up a bit and I also enjoy just pottering with the buggy
  • Having a partner / family who gets it is invaluable. The logistics involved in getting out for a run are sometimes ridiculous and they are also ever-changing as the Mini B changes
  • Getting back to racing is terrifying but a whole bunch of fun and also intriguing  - I have to remember how to think the right way
  • Getting back into training sessions is also interesting. When you've not had to think times / effort level for months and months it's fascinating and also hard to remember how to gauge pace
  • Pelvic floor exercises are for life, not just for the first 6 weeks
  • When they say that having a child is like running an ultra, I think they might be right. I will eat anything going that I can eat one handed while doing other things and I'm frequently running while half asleep
  • My gait is all over the place still and I still felt surprisingly stompy when I started back. I thought that not having a bowling ball tied to my front would make me feel light and airy but actually the physical effort of the return negated the differenc
  • Running post pregnancy is arguably more difficult that running in late pregnancy. I think I was just so delighted to be able to run at all when pregnant that maybe I wasn't putting any expectations on myself whereas post birth, especially because I healed well, it's easy to forget that there's a fatigue that you need to get over
  • Recovery takes longer. There's also less time for recovery as there's always something to deal with the moment you get back
  • There's plenty of guilt and inner turmoil with regard to use of time and energy
  • I still love it. For a few weeks I wondered if it was worth it and whether now was the time to just let it slide... but then things started to click and oh boy, yep I still love it. 
  • I'm starting to make plans. I don't know if they will come off - there's still plenty of barriers to et over and post-partum injury to avoid and I still want to make the most of this time with the small boy, but there's plans.