4 Month Post Partum Running Update + Goals

  Aug 20, 2018  |  #Baby

Hi there! Today, I’m sharing some running updates and linking up with the Weekly Wrap. Head over to Hoho’s or Wendy’s page to learn more! I’m almost 4.5 months post partum, and in some ways, things are starting to click with running.

I’ve had some “good” runs. However, good means something different right now than it did a year ago. And it definitely means something different than when I was marathon training. But, I feel like my body is slowly remembering the ebbs and flow of running. The pounding of the pavement. The impact it provides on the body.

I’ve still had some tough runs. Generally, though, I’m starting to feel more like myself. My pace is starting to improve slightly, but there’s times my legs are heavy and I feel out of sorts. I have no idea what my form looks like, but I’m starting to feel more natural. The idea of longer runs feels more feasible now.

Effort

Despite my slower than used to pace, I know my body is working hard! With the heat, plus trying to learn to divert energy to contracting my muscles (I know it diverts so much energy to breastfeeding as it is!), I appreciate how hard my body is working.

I’m not certain how accurate the Garmin heart rate is, but judging by some of my runs, I’m usually in zone 3 or zone 4. According to the Garmin website,

Zone 3 is 80-90% of threshold heart rate.  This is a long run type of effort.  Breathing a bit harder here but I would say comfortable.

Zone 4 is 90-100% of threshold heart rate.  Harder intensity effort.  You can reply in single word responses.  Tempo type of run.  Raising lactate threshold levels.

This recent run was mostly zone 4, a harder intensity effort!

As strange as this thought is, my body is a little more “cushiony” right now, so I feel like maybe I’m better absorbing the impact? It could be that I’m also running slower and for shorter amounts, too. But I’m not feeling the extra soreness that I felt months ago.

Overall, I know I’m still recovering from birth, but each week gets a little better.

Distance

I still haven’t run over 5 miles. And I don’t really break the 9-10 minute per mile pace yet. But, the way I think about it, I’m building back up my foundation. Before pregnancy, I was regularly running 30-35 mile weeks, and during marathon training, it was more like 40-50 mile weeks. I have no expectations (or desire) to get back up there just yet, but hopefully soon.

I found that I feel MUCH better on the trails versus the road. I think there are a few reasons for this. One, the trails are more shaded and the heat and humidity has just been unbearable in Charlotte this summer. Even if I can get a morning or night run in, it’s still very uncomfortable.

Secondly, the softer surface and more serene running environment just does something for me mentally. I felt like I got a little runner’s high even though I did a 4 mile run. It felt good to be back running on trails, sweating it out and letting my mind wander.

Future Goals

I’d like to build up to running for an hour. I think I”m still a month or so away from then, but that’s my first goal. Part of this goal also includes being creative with childcare. I’ll likely only be able to get this done when Ed is home!

Next, I would like to run a half marathon in November, potentially. I’m not ready to commit just yet, but depending how the next month goes,

When I actually think about it, I have so much respect for female professionals who get back into serious competing after pregnancy. I think Kara Goucher started racing after 6 weeks or something. It’s different because it’s their job – they have contracts to fulfill. But at the same time, I wouldn’t want to start running or racing that soon. There’s too many baby snuggles to be had!

Complementing Running

I’m also slowly building up strength through yoga and circuit workouts to complement running. I’m not naive and know that if I’m not working on other muscle groups, my running will go nowhere.

I almost feel like having a baby is starting over. I was pretty active before (and during pregnancy), yet I still feel like my slate was wiped clean after the grit and effort that goes into childbirth.

I’m not complaining at all because this whole process has been extremely humbling. It’s forced me to rest and re-evaluate joyful movement. Run when I feel like it without following a running plan. Run for 5 minutes if that feels good, or 20 minutes if that feels good. Take 4 days off in a row if I don’t feel like running. Go for long walks without worrying about losing my fitness.

It truly is a different mindset right now and I’m rolling with the punches.

Have you ever taken a break from running or something else? How did you come back to it? Was it hard to come back?

 

 

16 responses to “4 Month Post Partum Running Update + Goals

  1. I’ve never taken a true break from running although I’ve done a few weeks off here and there with traveling. Now that I’m in marathon training I probably won’t take a break until after the race. Thanks for sharing the real back to running journey after pregnancy. It’s nice to know not everyone bounces back right away and that’s okay!

  2. You are doing great! I have no idea what to expect with postpartum running. I hope that by running during pregnancy it will be easier to come back, but I also know it will probably be challenging no matter what! I hope your running continues to improve and you can do a fall half-marathon!

  3. I came back to running after an extensive layoff 3 times. Each time I was shocked about how initially painful it was! But within a short time, my body figured it out and I was back to form pretty quickly!

  4. Great work! And I am guessing the cushiony feeling is down to having had that relaxation chemical whose name I can’t recall right now relaxing all your tendons and stuff ready to give birth.

    I had to take a break last year after surgery for an ovarian cyst and to clear adhesions and endometriosis (I give this info because, while not as extreme as pregnancy, I was battered and bruised internally in a similar way, plus had four holes drilled through my abs for the keyhole surgery). I took a month off (no one could tell me what to do as they weren’t used to people demanding to get back to running and yoga, which is a bit sad) but was walking from a few days after and went to my yoga classes and sat in the corner / went to our club’s beginner sessions and walked in loops of the park. Then started running carefully from the early June and actually built up to a marathon in the October (as it wasn’t so extreme, nor did I have a small person to look after!). I have found myself hugely appreciating what my body can do and my running. I’m much more careful about myself and at the moment building in more stuff to keep me strong for longer.

    Sorry for the essay: you obviously hit a nerve there. Keep on doing what you’re doing: you’re doing fabulously and what a great role model for the small person, too!

    1. Thanks for sharing, Liz. I’m glad you were able to get back to running and training, but at the same time, respect and appreciate your body. Very impressive! <3

  5. Don’t discount how much work your body is doing with making milk too! Those hormones are kind of the opposite of workout hormones — they make your muscles relax and respiratory rate change. You also still have extra relaxin in your joints while breastfeeding keeping things feeling loose.

    I noticed my running improved a lot once little ones were sleeping mostly through the night without nursing, and then again when they hit solids more consistently around a year and my speed returns with a vengeance within 2 weeks of totally weaning. Enjoy this period of nursing your little one (I already miss it with mine!) and slow running. I promise it will come back with less effort than you think once your body is ready. You’re doing an amazing job, momma.

    1. I think about that often – while I’d love to get back to running longer and more serious training, breastfeeding is 100% my #1 priority right now and I’m seeking to find that balance without jeopardizing either one. I can’t wait for the nights of continuous sleep if that ever happens 😉

  6. I love how gentle you are on your body. It’s so cool watching how God heals and restores the body after birth. And it’s pretty incredible to think of how we can have a different perspective about working out and our bodies after seeing what an amazing thing it is growing a baby.

    1. Being a parent gives you a whole new perspective on many different things, at least that’s been my experience!

  7. I like your approach of just running when you can and doing what feels right. There is absolutely no reason to rush back into serious training. You’ll know when you are ready to do more. This is such a special time in your life that you should absolutely cherish. Thanks for linking.

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