Postpartum Running: An Update

10.26.2015

*Yes, I still own and use the giant Garmin from about five years ago. It works just fine, so no need to spend a few hundred dollars on a new (albeit smaller and sleeker) upgrade.

Basically forever ago I said I would share an update on my running and postpartum recovery, but time has gotten away from me. This might not be of interest to all of you, but I know it will be to some. I also thought this was good timing, because I received an email asking if I would blog about October being National Healthy Lung Month. Normally I don't blog about random things like that, but I do believe in having healthy lungs, so this is my official plug for keeping yourself--and your lungs--healthy! Don't smoke, and make sure you are mindful of pollutants and indoor toxins. Your lungs are important! I know you've seen the commercials. Okay, on to the running update.

At my six-week checkup, my doctor cleared me to run. That was a Friday, and I went for my first run the next day on Saturday. I don't waste time, y'all. I had absolutely no idea how I would feel, so I set a low goal for myself: run half a mile. I took my watch with me so I could know how far I went. I ran half a mile and was feeling good, so I decided to just go as far as I felt, and I ended up running two miles! It was a super slow run at nearly 3 minutes/mile slower than I had been running before I got pregnant, but I was really excited.

Maybe it was because I set such low expectations for my first run post-baby, but it actually wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. The biggest problem was that I could tell my core was not as strong as it used to be, so I got a major cramp pretty quick. But my legs were like, Praise the Lord you are using us again! Let me tell you: after spending the last two months of my pregnancy sweating from walking ten feet, it felt so good to do some legitimate sweating from working out.
So that was at six weeks PP. R is now almost eleven weeks old, and over the last five weeks I've logged maybe a dozen runs or so. All of my runs have either been 2 or 3 miles with one 3.25 because I got ambitious. I have gotten faster and the run has gotten easier, which is encouraging! I'm really happy to be running again. I haven't taken R in the jogging stroller yet because we don't have a car seat adapter, and she is still a little small to sit in the seat if I'm running. But soon!

I mentioned before that I already signed up for the Oklahoma City Half Marathon in April 2016. I definitely think I can be ready by then, but one thing that I know will be hard will be finding the time to train the longer distances. Obviously having a baby changes things, and especially since I'm breastfeeding, I have to carefully plan out workouts more than I had to before. I still haven't quite figured out a schedule that will work well.

I am also hoping to keep getting faster, although I know that will take some work. My first run pp was at 11:30 min/mile pace, and each run since has been in the 10s, with two runs around 9:45. That is still much slower than I was running before I had R, but again, I am okay with my runs for now.

Besides running, I have been trying to get my stomach to flatten up again. And maybe flatten up isn't even the right phrase... more just tighten up the flab. I tried on a pair of jeans that I hadn't since getting pregnant, and although they could button, my stomach was spilling out the top. I know it may not look like it in the above photo, but I swear to you it was like those girls you see at the gas station wearing only a thin tank top, and you think, You should not be wearing that shirt. I know that sounds terrible, but don't even pretend you don't know what I'm talking about.

I downloaded a workout app on my phone, and I've been doing a daily plank. (I've probably skipped maybe five days total off and on because I forgot.) As of this writing I am up to 3 minutes and 24 seconds! It took me three tries to get to that time, and I'm going to keep doing it until it feels easier and then continue to work up. I am also doing some arm workouts and hope to get back to being able to do pullups. I currently can't even sort of do one pullup, so I definitely have some work to do.

One thing that I regret from my pregnancy is that I didn't continue doing arm workouts. I'm not beating myself up about it or anything, but even if I wasn't running, I could have been doing some arm exercises. It is seriously depressing to me how much strength I've lost in my arms.

So that's basically where I'm at right now. I am continually telling myself not to take it too hard because I did just recently have a baby, and that isn't a small feat. I'll try to update again once I have something useful to say...maybe once I try running with the jogging stroller?

Until then, celebrate National Healthy Lung Month by going for a run or hitting up the gym! Your lungs will thank you.

Please feel free to ask me any questions about my workouts or pp recovery either by adding it here, emailing me, or leaving a comment!

16 comments:

  1. Yay for running!! Glad you're getting back into the swing of things. You'll have no trouble doing the half in April. What time does Jordan go to work in the morning? The best time for me to run is early in the AM when Em is still in bed (so is my husband), but he's at least there if she needs something. He actually does the whole morning routine with her, so it frees up a huge chunk of time for me. I know that's hard when R is still so little and dealing with breastfeeding/pumping, but you'll get into a good routine!

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    1. He leaves around 6:45... She's been waking up to eat around 5:30 so I guess I could go then but I'm so tired! Hopefully once she sleeps through the night I'll have more energy but right now mornings are slow for me because I'm such a zombie person... Ha!

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  2. I like this updates so thanks for sharing!!! Excited that you have something on the calendar, even though like you said I am sure it is so hard to find time.

    PS Can I just say your 11 wks pp is flatter than my no pregnant belly! Maybe I need to run more too :)

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  3. Okay, seriously, though, WHEN do you run? I don't mean that in a rhetorical sense, but I honestly don't know how or when to find the time! I want to get back into running so badly, but I just don't know when to do it. I think if I had a jogging stroller it would definitely make things easier- but man, those things are expensive!

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    1. First of all, remember that I'm working at home right now, so I don't have your commute quite yet. So there's that. It will be tough to find the time once I'm going back to the office. But all of my runs, except for the weekend ones, have been around 4:30/5:00. Jordan gets home from work, and he can feed R a bottle while I go running during the evening feeding, and then I do the feeding right before bed. It gives me a solid hour to run, take a shower, etc. It will be REALLY hard to leave her to run once I'm not with her all day... I try not to think about that!

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  4. Can you share which planking app you use? That sounds like a good challenge!

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  5. Yay, the running shoes are back on! It must feel great after all this time. :)

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  6. i have a newish garmin, only because i don't have an old one. lol. why waste money if it still works?!
    congrats on the awesome plank time, that is hardcore. hahahaha pun not intended, but it works.

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  7. Girl, you are doing great! Your arms are still probably a ton stronger than mine :) I'm embarrassed to tell you how long its been since I've made time for myself at the gym. I'm changing that this week! I'm proud of you! Great job on the runs, and girl, you look amazing.

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  8. I think you're doing an amazing job at getting back to it! I haven't tried any planks in a while but I can pretty much guarantee I wouldn't last 3+ minutes. And your running paces have improved so much already, I can't even believe it. You'll be more than ready for a half in April!

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  9. You are inspiring me to lengthen my planks. I'm pretty sure I've never made it past 1 minute, ha! Go you! Glad you are running again and that it's going so well! You'll definitely be ready by April!

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  10. You are doing fantastic! Don't be too hard on yourself, your progress is amazing. And your tummy-flattening project is going amazingly well, you look like you never had a baby in that belly!

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  11. Great to hear your running again! I only went three months without running cause of my broken foot and it nearly killed me when I started back up again!
    Your pp bod is looking great! Keep up the good work!
    -Linds

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  12. Did you find running decreased your milk supply at all? Also, any good recommendations for a supportive running bra while nursing?

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    1. I don't think my milk supply decreased due to running. I started back to work and had to begin pumping a few times a day, and I haven't taken well to the pump, unfortunately. But when I am breastfeeding, I don't seem to have a problem! For bras, I bought 2 sports bras one size up from what I usually wear, and then I wear that and another running bra over that.... Basically I just have to double up on the runnings bras! I forgot once and just wore one, and it's not enough support!

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