Babies change everything. But I’m sure you already know that!
And, when it comes to running, this is more true than ever. Returning to running after pregnancy, even when the “babies” are 1, 2, 5, or even 8,12, or 14, can be a daunting and frustrating task. I experienced this first hand. And I even ran during my twin pregnancy all the way up to 34 weeks.
I was confident that my running-conditioned body would easily return to long mileage soon after the twins were born.
At 2 weeks postpartum I was back at the gym, walking and lifting light weights. Felt great. No problem. Waited impatiently for that magical 6 week “all clear” from the doctor.
Finally, it came. Best day ever. I waited for my husband to get home from work, put the twins to bed at 7 pm, laced up my favorite Asics, and headed out the door for what I thought would be my epic comeback.
I took one step. It hurt. Took a second step. Hurt worse. Like searing pain. By step number 4 I started to cry. Everything hurt like a mother.
My still-lax joints in my pelvis. My core. My legs. My lungs. And my pride.
With every step, I thought my core was going to spill out of the front of my body. Every heel strike sent pain all the way up to my throbbing head. I thought the ligaments in the front of my pelvis were going to snap in two.
A sane person would have stopped running. A sane person would have thought, “oh, this still hurts. That’s ok, I’m only 6 weeks postpartum and my body needs a little more time to heal. I think I’ll walk this time and work on my strength so that I can run again in a few weeks.”
But I was not a sane person.
I was a neurotic control freak with postpartum hormones and emotions running rampant, and I was determined to run. I felt so mad at my body for not cooperating. Super frustrated and completely out of control. I needed to win, so I forced my body to keep going.
And I kept running.
For 2 miserable miles, I ran. And it hurt the whole time. And I cried the whole time.
My tears were mostly from frustration, anger, lack of control and fear that I’d never be the same again. And a few tears from the pain. But mostly from the anger. lol
I finished the 2 miles in 20 minutes and did not feel one bit proud of myself for pushing through. I felt like a huge failure.
About 2 weeks later, I decided it was time to find some answers for my apparent and abundant weaknesses, that were more than just from “still recovering” from pregnancy.
And what happened after that was I embarked on a path of fitness that I didn’t even know existed, and I found some answers. I realized I was not alone and not abnormal. Core weakness and pelvic floor issues and diastasis recti and all the other “stuff” I was dealing with happens to lots of moms.
But, I honestly think it hits runners just a little bit harder. Because the thing we love to do, that lights us up inside, makes us sane, gives us an outlet, helps us feel fit and strong, is suddenly not possible. And it sucks.
It was a LONG road to recovery for me. Lots of core work, lots of posture fixes, lots of glute work and LOTS of walking! It was also hard work because I was experimenting as I went. But I made it. There was a happy ending, and through my research, education, trial and error, and being my own client, I was able to build a strong runner’s body once again.
Almost exactly 7 months after that first fateful 6-week postpartum run, I went out for a run. It was March. I remember the day so well because I started running and nothing hurt. Nothing. And instead of 3 miles, I ran 7, like it was no big deal. It was such a joyful accomplishment and I was so grateful for the journey.
I’m wondering if you have a similar story? What’s the one fitness thing you love to do that you couldn’t do after your babies came? Are you able to do it now? Hit reply and let me know!
And, if you’ve read my story above and made it this far into this very long email, I’m wondering… can you relate to my story?
Are you a runner? Do you love it? Do you currently feel like I felt on that first run? Is your body still trying to recover? Are you still peeing yourself when you try to run? Is your core still feeling super weak and squishy? Are you frustrated?
Maybe you’re frustrated that you’re not running as far and fast as you once did. Maybe your lungs can’t carry you as far. Maybe you’re worried you’re going to injure yourself.
Or maybe running just isn’t fun anymore.
Or, maybe you’d love to start running but have no idea how to begin, or you’re worried that your core isn’t strong enough to try it.
Maybe someone’s told you that you can’t run if you have diastasis recti.
Well friends, I want you to know…. There is hope. There are answers. And I’ve got something for you.
If you’re a runner and you fall into any of the categories above, I’d like to invite you to learn more about my super amazing, totally fun but crazy effective Run Strong Mama program.
I’ve been working on this program for almost a year, doing research, finding the best combos of exercises and run training plans that will help moms build a strong runners body and run as far and fast as you want to without pain, peeing or problems.
Why Some Women Experience Peeing When Running After Childbirth
Urinary incontinence, or involuntary leakage of urine, is a common condition that many women face after childbirth, particularly during physical activities such as running. This can be both a physical and emotional burden, potentially hindering an active lifestyle and causing embarrassment. The root cause lies in the physiological changes that occur during pregnancy and childbirth.
Pregnancy and childbirth put a significant amount of stress on a woman’s pelvic floor muscles, the group of muscles that provide support for the bladder, bowel, and uterus. These muscles act like a hammock, holding these organs in place and helping to control the bladder and bowel.
During pregnancy, the growing baby puts increased pressure on these pelvic floor muscles, causing them to stretch and weaken. This is similar to what happens when any other muscle is stretched beyond its limit: it becomes less able to contract efficiently.
During vaginal childbirth, these muscles can be further stretched or even injured. An instrumental delivery using forceps or ventouse, a large baby, or a prolonged second stage of labor can increase the likelihood of pelvic floor muscle injury.
After childbirth, weakened pelvic floor muscles may not provide enough support for the bladder. This lack of support can make it difficult to control urine release, especially during activities that further pressure the bladder like coughing, sneezing, laughing, or running.
I and 14 amazing ladies just finished the beta round of the program and their results were OUTSTANDING. Even I couldn’t believe it. lol.
Run Strong Mama is designed to:
1) Build your base of strength: breathing, posture, core, legs.
2) Build your strong running muscles: aka your GLUTES!
3) Help you find the right run training plan to meet you where you are: starter, runner, racer.
4) Create a strong core while we build your strong runner’s body (and YES, you can run with a diastasis I’ll show you to do it and how to heal it).
4) Have the confidence to go outside and run as far and as fast as you want to without pain, peeing or problems.
If you’re like, HECK YES! Sign me up to Run Strong Mama, go here.
Thanks again for reading the end. This is first time I’ve ever shared part of my emotional running story in an email, and if you know me at all, you know I hate telling people stuff like this. Ha! But I feel so passionate and excited about this program because I know it can help tons of other running mamas who feel just like I felt.
I’m SO EXCITED for you to experience Run Strong Mama! Your running game will be forever changed. Check it out here.
Q: What is diastasis recti and how does it affect running?
A: Diastasis recti is a condition where the right and left halves of the Rectus Abdominis (the “six-pack” muscle) separate, leaving a gap in the middle. This is common in pregnant and postpartum women due to the stretching of the abdominal muscles by the growing uterus. When running, this condition can affect your core stability, impact your form, and potentially lead to lower back pain or pelvic floor dysfunction.
Q: Can running worsen diastasis recti?
A: Yes, running can potentially worsen diastasis recti if the body is not ready for such an activity. High-impact exercises like running might put added pressure on the weakened abdominal muscles, potentially widening the gap. It’s recommended to check with a healthcare provider or a physical therapist before resuming or starting a running routine post-pregnancy.
Q: What are the signs and symptoms of diastasis recti in runners?
A: Signs and symptoms of diastasis recti include a noticeable bulge in the middle of the abdomen (especially when the abs are engaged), lower back pain, poor posture, and a feeling of instability in the core. In runners, this may also result in a change in running form or efficiency and could contribute to other running-related injuries.
Q: How common is diastasis recti in postpartum runners?
A: Diastasis recti is quite common in postpartum women, affecting anywhere from 30% to 60% of this population. Among postpartum runners, the prevalence may be even higher, given the added strain that running can place on the abdominal muscles.
Q: What exercises can help heal diastasis recti for runners?
A: There are various exercises specifically designed to help heal diastasis recti. These exercises aim to strengthen the deepest abdominal muscle (the Transverse Abdominis) and the pelvic floor, thereby reducing the gap. Some of these include heel slides, pelvic tilts, and certain modified yoga poses. It’s recommended to work with a physical therapist or a trained professional who can provide a tailored program and ensure these exercises are done correctly.
Q: Can I run while I’m recovering from diastasis recti?
A: It is generally advised to avoid high-impact exercises like running while recovering from diastasis recti, as they can put added strain on the weakened abdominal muscles. However, each person’s recovery is unique. Some may be able to return to running sooner than others, depending on the severity of the diastasis and their overall strength and fitness level. Consult with a healthcare provider or a physical therapist for personalized advice.