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Running after birth

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Hey all,


I am an avid runner. I have run lots of half marathons, a full marathon, and lots of in betweens. I have slowed down to a trot now that I am five months pregnant, and am thinking that within a few months I will be mainly walking. I am already anticipating starting to run again after the baby is born, but hear so many vastly different points at which people start up again. Most stroller manufacturers recommend six months because that is when babies have developed their neck muscles. But I have read of many runners getting the okay from their pediatricians who approve of their stroller set up as early as 6 weeks. I have heard of others who use a car seat in a good quality running stroller at 2 weeks.


I can see that certain running strollers are much more stable, and it seems that the six month rule is an arbitrary one set by the industry. However, I wish there was more clarity on the issue from a pediatric standpoint. Anyone with experience have any advice? I imagine I will want to run after 4-6 weeks, depending on how my body is feeling. But I do worry that this might be too early for the baby. Anyone have any experience or thoughts on this?


I know to some non-runners this sounds a tad obsessive, but to those of us who have the bug, running is such a great feeling thing!





post #2 of 16

Sorry for the DDC drive-by:


Meggsy, as a fellow runner, I strongly recommend that you do your first few post-partum runs without a stroller.  A gradual restart is generally safest and best, and adding an extra forty pounds that you aren't accustomed to?  Is not gradual.  If you do the stroller with carseat, it's more like fifty pounds.


Find a way to practice with the empty a stroller a few times before you take the baby out in it, just to get used to what it does to your stride.


My first post-partum run was at 3 weeks, but it was only a mile - nursed, left baby with DH, ran a mile, walked a mile, ended at home.  I wasn't really doing distance running at the time though.  Depending on your speed and how often the baby eats, you could nurse and then do 5-10K. 

post #3 of 16

I agree with the previous poster. Try to get out out on your own a bit first to build strength and readjust to your body. My balance was a bit wonky for a while after i have my second! She was a big girl. Not so bad with the others though. I typically prefer to run on my own, and at this point would have to take out a double stroller which I have no desire to do right off the bat! I like to try to go early in the morning before DH leaves for work or on the weekends. Luckily we will be heading into spring and the days will be be getting longer so I hope to be in the swing of regular, longer runs by the beginning of June. My midwife would really not approve of me running prior to 6 weeks and last time she preferred 8, I think I started in slow around 6 weeks though. I can not for the life of me remember how old my third was when i took her in the stroller, but mine folds down into a bassinet type thing and I rolled blankets to keep her from moving. I still thought she jiggled a lot though if I was going for speed, but I typically don't wind up going really fast with the stroller. If I want to do speed work I find a time I can go alone.

post #4 of 16

Yeah - I should confess that running at 3 weeks PP was not the brightest thing I've done (not the dumbest thing I've done post-partum either, but kind of getting up there), and my OB definitely disapproved.  Six or eight weeks is much more sensible.

post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your feedback!


I am definitely not one to overstep my limits, and I hear you both - I guess it is a good idea to anticipate needing to listen to my body. I am not, despite being a runner, a glutton for punishment as I only last year recovered from an injury that kept me from running for many years. It kind of taught me to hold back when necessary - it's amazing how many runners have a hard time with that. 


But the stroller thing is the primary reason why I am thinking about it now. I am just started to make a budget and am picking out a stroller. Even if I go out on my own until 8 weeks or longer, I imagine my DH will want to run with the baby at times. Just not sure when exactly it is safe for the baby to go out and not sure what to make of the manufacturers' six month thing.

post #6 of 16

We have a BOB revolution and absolutetly love it (I know some hard core runners think it's not good enough, and while it's true that I've never done more than 12 km and faster than a 5:30-6:00min/km with it, I looove my BOB!)


Anyway, I ran with DD when she was still in her bucket seat clipped to the stroller; not recommended according to the manufacter, but I used my judgement slowed down, only ran on a smooth paved, fairly straight bike path so no fear of tipping (having the carseat clipped to the stroller really does make it more top heavy).  If I wanted to go hard, I just left her with DP.



I didn't run during pregnancy (and admire and envy those who can and do!!), and when I took up running after 6 weeks pp, I ended up hurting my hip.  At the recommendation of a physio friend, I joined a gym and did strenght training for 4 weeks, then started running again and did fine.  I ran a decent (not my best, but not my worst) 10K when DD was 7 months, and a half 3 months later.  I haven't been injured since.


What I didn't know (maybe you know this already) is that as long as you are b-feeding, you have enough relaxin in your body to make your joints more prone to injury.  So I took extra time for warm ups and ran longer but slower and eased off a bit on the speed training.


oh...and another important (hard learned!) lesson.  The running bra you had before pg is just not going to cut it anymore!!!!

post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 

Bena, I was looking at the BOB revolution. One reviewer at Runners World though cautioned that the wheels might not be large enough for longer runs. On the one hand, I question if I will ever want to push a stroller for my longest runs - I hate having any extra weight. But I just don't know if I will have a choice - my husband and I just qualified for the NYC marathon next year! But I am thinking about the BOB Ironman, which seems similar to the Revolution but a bit smoother on long runs. 


I think I am getting the sense that people just use common sense to keep their young babies from jiggling around too much. 


I have noticed the effects of relaxin during my pregnancy so far. I am normally very inflexible and it is actually making me feel like a yogi! I have had pelvic girdle syndrome from a car accident, and I think  that is what causes hip injuries in post pregnancy runners. Fortunately I am seeing a physical therapist for that now to prevent problems later. But I think most of it is strength training as you said.


Boy, I am already struggling with what feel like enormous boobs! I can;t believe they are going to get bigger. Yikes. I have never needed much support so it will be a job in itself looking for running bras that provide decent support. I have no idea where to begin with that one....

post #8 of 16

the bob ironman is hard to turn, I have the Bob AWD, a model I don't think they make anymore with smaller wheels in the back, and I love love love it.  You can lock the front wheel if you want for better running but I don't.  My pedi asked that I wait until 4 months just with all the jostling of the baby to have them on the bob in the carseat with me.  I plan to do C25K again after baby to ease back in.  As soon as my coochie doesn't hurt to walk, I'll start the first week.  

post #9 of 16

I really hurt myself trying to get back into running shortly after my second pregnancy. I was an avid triathlete and cyclist. I swam daily with a master's team. About 3 months after my daughter was born, I started running again. 2 weeks into it, I pulled a ligament in my hip and was unable to run without pain. It actually began to hurt to walk. It was two years before I could run, again. I really would try not to get back into things too fast.

post #10 of 16

I mentioned that I don't do most of my long runs with a stroller, i feel blessed that for the majority of the year I can find a time to run when DH can stay with the kids. I have used a really old double (not sure the brand),  and a first step single jogger and now I use my Phil&Ted, but they are pretty leisurely runs when I use them. The Phil&Ted has smaller wheels, but I stick to pavement or sidewalks when using it. It would be great if the handle was a bit higher. I had to get rid of the other strollers because I could not store a single jogger and a double. Phil&Ted is not an ideal jogger, but it fits all my needs and I have the space to store it, it works when I absolutely need it to.


And yes, just use common sense. Babies develop head control at different ages and strollers are built different also.


I also find it hard as a runner to listen to my body and slow down when I need to. It is hard to not want to push. I think pregnancy has given me a good lesson in this. I still run a bit, but my pace is over three minutes slower and I have to take walking breaks... we will both get back though! I did a half right before I got pregnant with my third and then when she was 14 months old. I would have done that half sooner, but I got pregnant with this little one and just could not do it my first trimester.

post #11 of 16

Wow. I admire you ladies. The longest run I've made, officially, was a 5K, though I've run 7 miles on my own. I then injured myself, and had to scale back again, only to finally get in another 5K before I got pregnant. I am so excited to get back into running after #2 gets here! All of you shall be my inspiration. :)

post #12 of 16
I'm a slow, "penguin" type runner, and unfortunately injured a pretty critical tendon last December after my last marathon-- the kind of injury it takes a year to fully recover from. So I have only done a touch of jogging during this pregnancy, to my disappointment. But with the added risk of injury, I'm gun shy. Even if I had run throughout pregnancy, as I had hoped, though, I would be extremely careful after birth. I have heard way too many stories of ligament/tendon injuries PP! I would start VERY slowly, adding in just a bit of slow jogging at a time, to be safe, and only starting at 4-6 weeks PP, not planning on being back to pre-preggo levels for about 4-6 months. I know-- pretty cautious! But just my plan!
post #13 of 16

Just going to throw my 2 cents in from a fitness professionals POV. First, listen to what the PPs have said -- Listen to your body!! Even though it sounds like you'll be in phenomenal shape after birth, your body still needs time to adjust to the changes that are happening. If you're planning on bf'ing, make sure that your supply is established before returning to exercise hard core! Start working on your ab & pelvic floor muscles right after birth doing isometric exercises & kegals. The last thing you need is to have some bladder issues on a long run :) Also, this will help support your low back, and remember that there will still be relaxin in your system right after birth and up to a year post partum. So some resistance exercises to strengthen the muscles around the joints is helpful to. Just build in some cross training days. Most fitness professionals suggest waiting at least 4 weeks before beginning even moderate exercise (walking is OK before this) and then building back up from there. Keep in mind that even if you're very fit at the end of this pregnancy, that you will experience some deconditioning and will need some time to build back up to your previous level. It will go quicker than it would if your had not been exercising during pregnancy, but it will come. Finally, if you're bf'ing, make sure that you're hydrating before, during & after. This might mean running with a bottle or hip belt of some kind for awhile, which I know that some runners hate!


From a mama and runner's point of view - and runner is used very loosely - I agree with PP that you might want to start back without the stroller at first. It gives you some time to work at your pace w/o the added weight and the form adjustments that come with running with a stroller (you're pushing a stroller and so you lose the ability to swing your arms during running and lose some of the momentum that comes from that). On the strollers, I have a BOB revolution which works well for the slow and short runs that I do. The front wheels swivels, but is lockable for running. We used it for our everyday stroller as well, so the swivel was necessary for navigating tight spots. It is difficult to maneuver when the wheel is locked. I ran with DS in a carrier on the stroller, but not until his was 6-8 weeks or so. It was fine, but again I am a very poor runner & just stuck to sidewalks. 


Good luck on finding what works best for you. If you're really itching to get back into a fitness routine right after baby gets here, you might look into a Stroller Strides class to help you build up your base again before going out on longer runs. A lot of the classes incorporate exercises for runners (including running) in the classes. Then you could just return to running once your stamina is back.

post #14 of 16

I'm not a great runner - I dabble from time to time but not tons - but I did just come across a reference to aquajogging - running with a flotation belt in the pool.  I did that for a while pre-DD and it's actually really great exercise and certainly strengthens running muscles without risk of damage.  Maybe start with that?

post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 

Spughy, there is no such thing as a good or bad runner! :) However, my local gym has pool running, and I think I might just go ahead and do it once I stop running - probably not for a couple more months. Thanks for the really great idea!


I have finally chosen my jogging stroller - a Chariot Cougar, which you can also take cross country skiing and biking when they get older. There seem to be a lot of parents that use it from 8 weeks on and a lot of pediatricians appear to approve it from the baby's point of view. I still wish they has a more standardized approach to giving the okay for the baby.


Thanks everyone for the advice about getting back into it. Maydaymom, and the others who echoed some of your thoughts, I really apprecaite all the details. I am someone still overcoming pelvic girdle pain from an car accident/ibackinjury. I think I have acquired the self-awareness to adjust to my limits, which is a very, very hard lesson for most runners who become addicted to the high of pushing to the limit. I still have to remind myself now and then, but my hips usually remind me to slow down. My injuries actually improved with running again only because I listened to my body, started weight training, and stopped feeling the need to go fast. It's a definite ego-adjustment, as I could run at a decent pace once upon a time.  Now I am just happy to be able to plod along pain free. I really hope I this will continue post preggers.


But this is such a new experience ahead of me and recovering from pushing this boy out of me is not something I can even put my head around. I hadn;t even thought I would still be in pain after 3 weeks. So, every piece of advice is so welcome. I think Maydaymom, your point about adjusting my arm swing will be a big one for me once I hit the road again. When you run really long and far, even a bit of arm fatigue builds up after a couple of hours, so I have a feeling DH is going to watch baby for me once I get back up to really long runs. It may just be that the baby comes with me for my shorter runs. 


Anyway, thanks everyone for all your input!

post #16 of 16

The thing to watch out for with pool running is that sometimes the pools are too warm and you get overheated quickly.  When I was pregnant with DD I tried to do it and I just got too hot.  I was thinking it would be better as a post-partum training thing.

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