Running after C Section can be a slow and difficult process, but it can be done! Running after pregnancy may feel a little different, but I’m sharing my tips for easing back into it.
I hope you had a great weekend! And happy father’s day to the wonderful dads out there (though from what I know, my male readership is very minimal).
And today, we’re talking mostly to females as usual lol.
The weeks after pregnancy and giving birth are a complete blur. You may be recovering from your birth and still comprehending your birth story.
You may be cranky with moments of excitement and aww (like HOW in the world did I create this magical little human), but the next minute, be in tears about fear you’re not doing anything right.
You may have milk stains all over yourself and be a ball of emotions.
It’s overwhelming to think about keeping the baby alive!
Exercise can be a great thing to balance your stress and anxiety, but how do you know when you’re ready to run? Especially if you had abdominal surgery or a C Section?
Running After C Section
Exercise wasn’t even at the forefront of my mind after delivery and abdominal surgery. Plus, adjusting to life with a newborn.
Plus, recovering from a C-Section is a whole new ballgame. You can’t do stairs, and you are very tender at the incision. I was happy to just relax and take a break from exercise for weeks (even months).
After about a week, I started with some slow walking around the neighborhood. It just felt good to move, after sitting and laying the majority of the time, and bending over.
Remember, your body goes through a lot with pregnancy, birth and recovery. I smile when I look back at how my body looked just a few months ago!
Six weeks away from complete exercise of any knid is the longest I’ve ever gone – from running, and from anything. After the first week or so, I tried to walk about every day (getting out of the house is necessary). But, nothing strenuous or vigorous.
And honestly, I learned alot about myself during that time. I learned to appreciate exercise for how it makes me feel, when it was something I didn’t do for so long.
I learned that the world doesn’t end if I don’t “move” everyday, and there are much more important things in life.
Priorities really do take over. I learned that showers are overrated – if I didn’t do anything, I felt no need to shower.
Now, I’m a 2-3 weeks into a somewhat regular exercise routine. I say somewhat because I don’t know what regular will even look like for a few years, probably.
But, I’m getting a few runs in a week, doing some weight stuff at home and starting to feel kind of like my self.
My Postpartum Exercise Routine Tips
I’m still very “new” into transitioning into exercise. Obviously, I suggest taking it very slowly.
You don’t want to risk injury and your pelvic floor is sensitive. I saw a pelvic floor specialist and highly recommend doing so if you feel nervous or have questions. If you can’t see a specialist, even investing in a postnatal pelvic floor program can do wonders.
Around 12 weeks postpartum is when I started to really get back into running, which is what is recommended by the newest postpartum research done by physiologists.
Don’t Compare Yourself
I want to reiterate that every body is different. Just because this is my journey to exercise doesn’t mean yours will look the same. I don’t write this as something to compare to, but just as my journey for those of you who are interested.
The best advice I can give is to listen to your body if/when you are trying to add exercise back in. But, here’s what I’ve learned and focused on in adding exercise back in.
Ease in slower and lighter than you think you need to
I remember all the feels for my first “run.” I just felt a little off in my own body. Robotic, almost. Very tight and discombobulated.
Now, I feel much more “normal” but I’m still taking things light and slow. Reminding myself to practice self care for exercise.
To ease back into running, I started consistently running 20 seconds, walking 40 seconds. Slowly, I built up to jogging for a minute straight, alternated by a minute walking. Within a few weeks, I did a mile straight without stopping.
Last week, I did a 3 mile and 4 mile run, both without stopping. And they even felt somewhat good! I’m not oblivious to knowing that this is still very early on, and I’m going to play it safe!
Don’t Focus on Pace
This one seems obvious, right? Focus on how you feel instead. Just getting out and doing something feels good.
I’m not even looking at my watch or worrying about pace because that doesn’t matter right now. What matters is feeling ok and stable on my feet, and slowly building back up.
I’ve realized that focusing on pace is…
- a little depressing to compare to my normal
- just not important right now.
This has been a good lesson in running by feel.
Remember that movement should feel good
This is one of the principles of HAES, and it’s something I talk to clients about. Pick a form of movement you LIKE and that feels good.
I didn’t want to force myself to run before I was ready. I got to the point where I missed running. And I felt ready. But maybe for you, walking or elliptical-ing feels good.
This was a reminder that I shouldn’t rush into anything before I was mentally and physically ready.
Acknowledge Your Stamina May Be Low
Though you are a rockstar for giving birth in the first place (giving birth is way harder than running a marathon in my opinion), this is different.
Your muscles have atrophied a little bit, rightfully so. Your body has been focused on MUCH MORE IMPORTANT things.
At first, I got tired after running on my feet for 2 minutes. Then, it slowly increased to 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 20 minutes.
Right now, I’m tired at about the 25 minute mark. But it’s all worth it.
I know as I continue to improve and practice slowly, I’ll be back to what is my new normal.
Hills still get me pretty out of breath, but it’s nice to have something to work towards.
Ask Yourself, “Where is the pressure coming from?”
Lastly, I would encourage all you mamma’s to take the pressure off. You don’t have to be “as good” as you used to be, or as fast, or as dedicated. I think my post-partum running may be very different from pre-baby.
Honestly, I’m still accepting that AND THAT IS OK. It will take me some time to accept it but every time I look at Camryn, I wholeheartedly feel better.
Running is important to me, and I want it to continue to play a role in my life. But I am not defined by running.
Running and exercise are parts of my life that brings me happiness and stress relief, but it’s not my whole life.
Make Sure You’re Eating Enough
Think about all the energy your body is expending and needs to recover from a huge surgery. Running adds additional energy to that.
Our Nail Your Nutrition course goes into depth about meeting your nutrition needs for running and training!
Other Running Posts you May Enjoy
Have you ever taken a long break from running/exercise? How did your return go?