10 Tips for Running after Baby

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Baby and Mommy’s first run! Look at those running shoes

I had baby Mackenzie about 9 months ago and have had a few people ask me how I got back into running and have seen some posts on Facebook in running groups I’m in asking the same thing! I figured I could write what worked for me and maybe help out some ladies after having their babies!

First of all – I didn’t have any crazy difficulties with labor and delivery and was cleared to resume running by my doctor at my 6 week appointment. Definitely consult your own doctor on when you should begin running again. I also ran until 32 or 33 weeks (can’t remember the exact date of my last run).

My tips for starting to run after having a baby!

  1. Start EASY – my first few runs were run 1 minute, walk 3 minutes for 24-32 minutes.
  2. SLEEP IS KING. If I had the choice between sleeping and running, I picked sleep. My baby was a terrible sleeper in the first few months and I was barely getting more that 4-6 hours of sleep (not all at one time) per night. Don’t beat yourself up because you missed a run – your body is still recovering and you are taking care of a baby!
  3. For the baby – nurse or feed the baby right before running. This will ensure that the baby won’t get hungry while out running and will make sure mom is more comfortable! Also dress the baby appropriately for the weather – since I started running again in the Texas summer, the baby would wear a onesie and nothing else. We also would put one of our phones in the stroller with her favorite noise playing to encourage her to sleep while we were running.

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    Dressed and ready to get in some miles in the hot Texas sun!

  4. When doing those first few runs at a pace so slow you think you may be able to walk faster relish in them! I clearly remember my first few runs because I told myself I would be able to look back on those runs in a couple months and see how far I had come.
  5. Set small goals and get excited when you achieve them! The first time I ran a mile without stopping you would have thought I just finished a 10 mile run I was so excited.
  6. Invest in new sports bras if needed! This was definitely something I needed! While I love all my Oiselle running gear the bras definitely weren’t supportive enough for me.
  7. Find buddies that will go slow with you! Both my mom and my husband were willing to take it slow with me which made my runs more fun!
  8. Sign up for races! I signed up for a 10K 3.5 months after having the baby and another 10K about 6 weeks later – it was fun to see the progression in speed! I took almost 2 minutes off per mile in 6 weeks :-). I also signed up for a half marathon 6.5 months after the baby was born which was the perfect amount of time for me to build back up to running 13 miles.

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    Baby and Mommy’s first run! Look at those running shoes

  9. Join a training group! After running my first half marathon after having the baby, I joined the Lukes Locker Half Marathon training program. It was just what I needed to work on getting my speed back! It has been fun running with a group again and getting my legs moving at a faster pace again. I definitely still have work to do but I am definitely feeling like my old self again.
  10. Finally my last tip is to BE KIND TO YOURSELF! Don’t beat yourself up for missing a run or running slow or being a few pounds heavier than you used to be. You are still a runner and if you want you will get back to where you used to be with some hard work! Just enjoy the miles and the process. Enjoy sharing your love of fitness with your little one and maybe you will pass the running bug onto the next generation

What other tips do you mamas have to share?

Feel free to comment with any questions you have! By taking it easy and slowly ramping up I have been running (fingers crossed) injury free for almost 8 months now and am really enjoying the process! I actually get excited for most of my runs and just feel blessed to get to go out there and run. Today I did intervals in the wind while pushing the stroller and loved almost every minute of it. I already have a post ready to go on must haves for running with baby!

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Love my new little running buddy!

Houston Half Marathon Recap

I meant to publish this a couple weeks ago but with being sick and school starting this is a little delayed!

I officially started the Lukes Locker Half Marathon Training program a couple weeks ago and I am excited to start doing some speed and do some group training. My wonderful husband has basically agreed to take the baby every Saturday morning for the next few months (thanks babe!). For the first meeting, we just did a 5 mile time trial to get put in the correct group. I ran the whole thing with one of my great running buddies and we managed to keep it under an 8 min pace – it was a great reminder of how wonderful it is to run and talk with one of your BFFs!

 

I can’t wait to see how much I can improve after getting some good speed in and more miles! My goal will be to run around 3-4 days a week and get 2-3 days of cross fit in. This is much tougher now that school has started back up but luckily the baby loves the bob stroller so she won’t mind coming with!

Houston Half Marathon Recap

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Just after mile 11!

We got to Houston just in time to hit the expo up before it closed at 6pm Friday night. It was nice to get in and get our packets so we knew we had everything we needed for the race on Sunday morning! Unfortunately, I was a horrible blogger and took basically no photos the entire weekend! Race day morning, I woke up sick – I had felt it coming on Friday but thought maybe I would be able to fight it off, unfortunately that was not the case. Our hotel was so close to the starting corrals that we didn’t even walk over to the convention center to check our bags and hang out beforehand, instead we got to wake up and just walk over to our corral 35 minutes before the race started which was amazing. I definitely recommend staying at the Westin Downtown!

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Mom and I before the start!

Once we started, I was pretty much able to start running around an 8:10 pace, my goal was to start out around an 8-8:15 pace and try and hold that to the halfway point and then hopefully dip down after 8 miles or so. Due to being sick, that just didn’t happen, I pretty much held an 7:50-8 min pace the entire race and never was able to pick it up. A highlight of the race was seeing my baby girl around mile 11 cheering for me with her daddy! Overall the race was really uneventful and it was fun just being back out running a half marathon! I could definitely tell I hadn’t run the half marathon distance in a LONG time (longest training run was 11.5 miles) and that I haven’t done enough speed work to get that “next gear” in my legs but overall I would call it a success. I definitely can’t wait to race again without congestion but hopefully in the same perfect weather conditions. Race morning was one of those ideal mornings you pray for over and over again while training. AGAIN, I highly recommend this race to anyone thinking about it.

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Baby M with Mommy’s Medal!

Whole Life Challenge

As I mentioned in my year in review post, I participated in a challenge with my crossfit gym called the Whole Life Challenge. As the name suggests, it is a challenge that encourages healthy choices in all parts of your life – not just food and/or exercising. This challenge came at the perfect time for me, it started in mid September and ended in November (right when we were going on a beach vacation to Mexico). It was 8 weeks long. Within the Whole Life Challenge there are 7 categories where you could earn points, each day you could earn up to 5 nutrition points for eating compliant foods according to your nutrition level (3 different levels), 2 points a day were earned for 10 minutes of exercise and 10 minutes of stretching, 1 point a day for drinking the proper amount of water, 1 point a day for taking your supplement, 1 point for posting a reflection on your team page and then 1 point for the healthy habit of the week (this varied from sleeping a proper amount to having meals without screens).

One thing I liked about the challenge is that you had the ability to earn “cheat points” and free days! So I didn’t feel too guilty if I used some cheat points. With the nutrition level I picked, I was also able to have 1 glass of wine per week without losing a point!

As I mentioned, this challenge came at the perfect time, I was 3 months post baby and just feeling large and unhealthy. I was still carrying 7 pounds of extra weight and didn’t feel like it was going to come off unless I made some changes. As anyone who has had a baby can understand, with sleep deprivation I was eating way too much sugar and way too many carbs and it was easy to come up with excuses on why I should have ice cream and wine every night.

The Actual Challenge

The day before the challenge began, I did a benchmark workout that I repeated at the end of the challenge – this helps you see improvements in fitness over the 8 weeks as well.

The first week was ROUGH when it came to the “diet.” While there were many great choices but I just couldn’t feel full! It took a couple weeks to really start feeling full and actually to start losing weight. I would say the majority of my weight loss occurred between weeks 3 to 6. I slept SO well during this challenge and just felt great. I felt stronger in the gym and running. This is definitely a lifestyle my husband and I hope to continue (especially after all the indulging we did over the holidays).

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Sweet potato hash! A recipe my husband perfected during the challenge!

The challenge encouraged us to find new ways to cook and to do some major food prep on the weekends! We started spiralizing vegetables, making egg muffins, oatmeal, and chopping veggies and fruit up to snack on.

I didn’t find the exercising, water drinking and supplement taking part of the challenge too tough however, I did find myself doing my 10 minutes of stretching before bed almost every night.

Date nights and dinners with friends were definitely tough but we found some delicious meals to cook for our friends and learned to slowly sip on that wine and lose points when necessary! The challenge encourages you to celebrate when necessary and don’t panic if you have a couple rough days, get back into it.

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Birthday dinner at a restaurant with many compliant choices.

By the last week, I was definitely over logging my scores and staying 100% compliant but I would HIGHLY recommend this challenge to anyone looking to feel better about themselves. Another challenge actually starts in January! I was lucky enough to have my mom, husband, sister and brother-in-law doing the challenge with me – if you are interested in starting this, I would highly recommend finding a partner in crime and someone to hold you accountable.

Results

I ended up losing 10 pounds during the challenge and actually lost a couple more after the challenge ended. I took over 2 minutes off of the benchmark workout and felt like myself again at the end of it. I definitely still have a ways to go to get to my “former self.” I still have areas to tone up and am still not sure if my stomach will ever look the same again but overall, thanks to the challenge I am feeling wonderful. I also am hoping to get some of my running speed back again too! I have my first post baby half marathon coming up in less than 2 weeks! Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) I am not brave enough to post my before pictures and never took an after photo!

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Baby Mack and Mama post workout!

If you are interested – sign up at http://www.wholelifechallenge.com

Have you ever done a health challenge before?

Do you have any questions about the Whole Life Challenge?