I used to hate running longer than 23 seconds. I kept telling myself that as a former sprinter, my body didn’t have the slow twitch fibers to handle running for a long period of time. Well that was a good excuse! I was really just procrastinating.
Now that I’m older and wiser, long runs are essential for my personal balance. Every Saturday I go running round Hoboken with a group of motivated moms. We chat, we moan and we sometimes cry, all in 3.2 miles. It’s the best feeling once we complete our run together.
Sometimes I utilize my jogging stroller and bring the little ones along for the ride. It’s a different experience for me; more weight, harder work. But it's fun for them and they love the watching the city run past them. Other times I run solo. Running along is a form of escapism; I can be free without anyone asking me for anything.
Still don’t think running is for you? I hear you. But I promise when you try it and the endorphins kick in, you will feel great for the rest of the day. It’s a positive start to the day, and is so good for both mind and body.
Think you're ready to run? First, let's make sure its safe. Most new moms are advised not to run before 16 weeks post partum. This is because your body has not fully returned to normal. Increased hormones like Relaxin can cause injury and your pelvic floor muscles might not be able to handle the impact. The last thing you want is a pelvic prolapse, leaks and discomfort so take it slowly, start off with a walk. So be sure to talk to your doctor and get proper clearance.
Once you get clearance, you can try this "Jump Test" to see if your body agrees:
Standing on the edge of a curb, jump off with two feet. If your uterus feels like it might fall out, then you are definitely not ready to run. If you wet yourself a little, you are not ready to run. If you feel nothing or even better want to do it again, YOU ARE READY TO RUN!
Here are some tips to get you started:
1. Buy a good sports bra. Protect your lovely Jubblies, (British slang for Boobies) they deserve it.
2. Ensure your pelvic floor has recovered from childbirth. Do some Kegal exercises and be mindful that breastfeeding can affect this areas ability, due to lower levels of estrogen.
3. Invest in a good running stroller. Purchase a lightweight model that has the correct wheels for your running terrain. Also consider the height of the handles so you can maintain good posture when running.
4. Purchase running shoes. Don't just get the pretty ones, get fitted properly to ensure correct size (especially since many experience changes in shoe size after giving birth).
5. Start Slow. Pick a short route and consider interval training. (jog, run, walk 30:30:30 seconds.)
Again, If in doubt please check with your doctor. Once you are ready then find a running partner OR better still join me and my mommy crew every Saturday!