Returning back to running after having a baby can be challenging, so we chatted with recent mum Martha to get her 5 top tips on how she approached her comeback.
I welcomed my daughter Freya into the world 6 months ago and I have found it hard to adjust to my new running life. I naively thought I would bounce back into my old running routine and be signing up to races within a few months but it has been a totally different story and I have had a lot to learn. I get a lot of messages from pregnant runners and new mums asking about how I have approached my comeback and so these are my top tips for a safe and enjoyable return to running.
Recovery – do not rush it! Go and see a women’s health physio. They will assess you internally and externally to ensure your body (and mind) has completely recovered before you start to exercise again. A lot of new mums underestimate how long it takes for your body to recover from having a baby. It’s at least 6 months and that’s if you had a normal uncomplicated delivery. It will be even longer if you had surgery, a tear or other trauma.
2. Choosing The Right Clothing
Get refitted for a new sports bra especially if you are breastfeeding. Your body will be different and things may feel a little uncomfortable, to begin with, so you want as much support as you can. Shops like Bravissimo offer a bra fitting service for free which is well worth the time if you can get to one and they have a good range of affordable and comfortable bras.
3. Starting slow
Start slow and find a c25k course to help you ease back in gently. Even though it may seem like it’s going to be easy, it will warm your body back up and ensure you don’t get injured. I’m not just talking about calf strains either. I’m talking about the pelvis, lower back and other areas of your body which are under strain from having a baby. They are a lot harder to recover from as those injuries are not always visible to the untrained eye and can be costly to sort out.
4. Setting Goals
Set some attainable goals – for me, it was getting back to park run. I didn’t intend on running the full 5km. I just wanted to be able to complete it through a combination of walk/running. From there I know I can build up steadily. Now that Freya is 6 months old I can also start using the running buggy which will help me get out more regularly.
5. Be Kind To Yourself
Mums are the worst! We are always so hard on ourselves. But do you know what? You might not always be able to get out and things are going to feel hard to start with. You will have days where you feel really low about how far back you’ve gone but the reality is that you have just grown and nurtured a baby! Your body is a badass. Please please give yourself some credit and remember that slow and steady will win the long game. And please do not compare yourself to anyone else. Your comeback is your own and no one else’s.
If you’re a new or expected mum and you are returning to running, please get in touch on Instagram (@martha_runs) as I’d love to hear about your journey and share tips and experiences. After all, us mums really are in it together!