Ok, friends, as if trying to run after having a baby isn’t hard enough (hello loose joints and ligaments, squishy belly, and weak pelvic floor that makes us pee), believe it or not, there’s one glaring issue that moms actually do to themselves that makes postpartum running worse. It’s one thing that’s easy to change and will stop making you feel like you’re old and your body is broken. Because you’re not and it’s not!
Are you ready for it? That one thing that you should not do during postpartum running is running slowly. Are you shocked? Maybe in a little bit of disbelief? It’s true Keep reading.
Running is a very rigorous exercise – tough on the body, the bones, the joints, etc. The reason it’s so brutal is that running is a single leg, dynamic movement, and the downward force generated with every footstrike puts a ton of pressure downward on the pelvic floor. For moms who are newly postpartum, or who never really fully rehabbed their pelvic floor after having babies, all that extra downward pressure can cause a ton of issues. Slow running can make a weak pelvic floor worse. It can make you pee when you otherwise wouldn’t.
And if you think about it, running slowly, plodding along, pounding the ground trying to resist momentum, actually puts more force down on the pelvic floor, the joints, the belly, the feet, than running quickly with a light foot strike and forward-propelling motion. Yep, sprinting puts much less force downward and it is better and safer for a pelvic floor that’s still healing.
Now, you may be saying… “what the actual heck. I’ve never been a fast runner, let alone a sprinter. How am I supposed to suddenly just run fast?!” The good news is, you don’t have to suddenly become a sprinter to still run after pregnancy, You just have to run what feels like a little quick for you. Not quick for the Olympians. Just for you. And if you can only run a short distance at a quick pace, no problem. When you’re tired, stop, and walk. It’s much better for your body, your core, and your pelvic floor to run at a quick pace and then walk when you can’t sustain the pace. Instead of just plodding along, thinking you’ll take it slow, try some run/walk intervals so that you can keep the brisk pace. Walk when needed, and then run briskly again. It’s also easier to maintain proper form when your pace is faster. The faster the pace, the more good form is required, and the better your running form is, the fewer injuries you’re apt to have.
Now, all that being said, remember, there is a lot of core and pelvic floor healing that needs to happen before you go out and run at all after having babies. Running quickly is not a magic cure. You’ve got to put in the rehab time, the gentle strength training, the loading, and the other rehab that your body needs before trying running at all. But, when you do feel ready, keep in mind that a quicker pace is going to be better and more gentle on your body.
Run like a Thoroughbred, not a Clydesdale. Your pelvic floor will thank you. And you postpartum return-to-running will be easier, healthier, happier and you’ll get back up to speed more quickly.
If you love running as much as I do, I’ve got something special coming for you in late Spring! If you’d like VIP access to my super-secret running project (and the hefty discount that comes with being a VIP), just click here and get on the VIP list.