There are so many “gurus”, other moms, magazines, postpartum programs, and fitness pros out there giving their best advice for how to get back to running after having babies. It’s certainly no easy task. There are so many things that need to heal before you’re fully ready to run again like you used to. But it’s totally doable!
So, as running mom, a mom with DR, and a fitness pro who coaches other running moms, I thought I’d add my thoughts to the conversation. And I’m not going to tell you to heal your core first before you start to run (although that definitely should be high up on the list).
The very first thing you should do to prepare to run again after pregnancy is work on your breathing. Please don’t tune me out at this point! I know breathing is totally not exciting, but I promise, breathing is crucial for proper, injury free running. I’m talking diaphragmatic breathing where as you run, your breath is filling your ribs, backs and sides in a 360 degree pattern. Get this right and you’re 80% through the running battle.
A correct breathing pattern sets the groundwork for correct running form, core activation, a strong pelvic floor, and avoidance of injury. The minute you slip into a shallow breathing pattern when running where all your breath is going up into your neck and shoulders instead down into your back and sides, your stress level will rise, you’ll lose your form and core strength and start to strain the muscles.
So, practice before hitting the road. Take about 5 minute to do some deep breathing before heading out on a run. Put your hands on your back and sides and breathe into them, feeling that breath going down, then exhale and feel your pelvic floor come up to resting, your belly flatten and your ribs and back returning to normal position. If you can’t feel your breath going into your back, then you may have some tightness that’s limiting your midback mobility and we need to address that with some corrective exercise. (Stay tuned for another post coming soon about how to get that back open and moving.)
Then on your run, try to keep correct breathing, The minute you feel your breath starting to be shallow and go up into your neck and shoulders, stop and walk. Reset your breathing pattern and then continue the run. You’ll find you’ll be able to keep your form better, your pelvic floor won’t have so much strain, and you’ll be able to run longer with less pain.
Tomorrow, I’ll be back to share the next phase of returning to running after pregnancy, and, here’s a hint – it’s one thing almost every mom does, but something she actually shouldn’t do. Stay tuned!
And – PS – if you love running as much as I do, I’ve got something special coming for you late Spring. If you want a sneak peak, grab a spot a on the VIP waitlist to check out my secret running project and be eligible for a huge VIP discount. Check it out here.