Whether you’ve had a child in the last year or 10 years ago, this article pertains to you. This article really isn’t meant to segregate new moms. It can influence any woman who has given birth. Ever.
Although I’m not a postpartum mother looking to run, I certainly understand the obstacles between the delivery room and the road. Truthfully, I see a fair share of moms in the clinic who attempted to return to running but found it more difficult than planned. There’s no lack of motivation, either. Who wouldn’t be chomping at the bit? Most running moms will trade their running shoes for other various forms of exercise leading up to the birth of their child, while some will forego most forms altogether. Let’s say you take the last two months off. Tack that onto what will likely be a minimum two months postpartum and we’re already looking at four months without impact. A cocktail of one part stir-crazy and three parts wanting to get back in “pre-baby” shape becomes a disastrous recipe for injury. A relative sedentary lifestyle is necessary as you accommodate a growing fetus, but nearly equally important to allow for ample time to recover postpartum. As we stated in our previous article on postpartum running, research has measured both thinning and weakening of the abdominal wall one full year postpartum.
Sciatica, SI dysfunction, and low back pain are large obstacles when looking to not only return to running, but life (and if you have to look any of those terms up it’s likely a good thing—meaning you haven’t dealt with them). Although what I’ll call ‘the big three’ (sciatica, SI dysfunction, and low back pain) represent a large percentage of postpartum impairment, moms looking to hit the pavement again will also likely flirt with an assortment of lower body injuries.
A common theme arises in my evaluation for moms looking to run: “I wanted to run to get back in shape. I wanted to run because it’s months since I last did.” If you’re reading this blog then there’s a fair chance that you run. Whether you’re a man or woman we all know the quickest way to burn calories: lace em’ up and start logging some miles. Sure. That may be true, but the changes that occur throughout pregnancy and delivery have something different in mind. You may, in fact, need to get back in shape to run.
I can’t recall how many times this has been written in my articles, but running is a highly loaded, repetitive activity. Without the stability and structural support to withstand impact your body breaks. With the literature being established that chronic weakness is overly prevalent in postpartum moms, it’s obvious that achieving prior strength and stability through the abdominals, hips, and pelvic floor is extremely important. It’s likely event required before beginning to run. Yeah. You may need to get back into ‘shape’ to run.
Our upcoming video series aims to teach you just that: restoring core strength while safely returning to running through a progressive, gradual return to running. As we continue to fine tune the video, literature, and program, we need your help. The feedback from article #1 was great and we are already incorporating your feedback. Through commenting below, on our Facebook wall, tweeting us, or filling out this form, we can continue to expand and perfect the program.