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Postpartum Running — What You Need to Know

If you’re a new mom, the thought of returning to running might seem daunting- but don’t worry, with the right guidance, you can safely return to your favorite activity.

Perhaps you’re a new mom, eager to get back to being active. Maybe you’ve just been cleared by your doctor to start exercising, and you’re ready to feel like yourself again. Or maybe it’s been a few months, a year, or even three years, and you’re finally feeling the energy to take control of your health and fitness. No matter where you are in your postpartum journey, we’re here to help you regain your confidence and reach your fitness goals. 

There is growing recognition that the traditional 6-week postnatal check-up is too late for women to resume low-intensity physical activities like pelvic floor exercise, core work, and walking. At our clinic, we often have eager clients returning around 4 weeks postpartum for their fourth trimester assessment.

It’s challenging to provide universal guidelines because your pre-baby fitness level and birth injuries can greatly impact your timeline for returning to running. That’s why our birth health specialists offer personalized runner’s assessments to give you the confidence you need to do what’s best for your body.

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At our runner’s assessment, we conduct a thorough evaluation of your muscle strength, endurance, and balance to determine your readiness to run. 

We also assess your abdominal wall to ensure it can withstand the physical demands of running. This includes checking for diastasis recti, or separation of the abdominal muscles, and evaluating the mobility of any incision or scar tissue if you had a caesarean.

Our assessment is designed to give you a comprehensive understanding of your body’s capabilities and limitations, allowing us to create a customized plan to help you achieve your running goals safely and effectively.

Some weakness of your muscles is not always a barrier to starting running, but it certainly helps to identify where strength work should be focused. At a minimum, you should be able to walk 30 minutes without any pain, heaviness, or incontinence.     

It is essential to start small, around 1-2 minutes of running at an easy pace with a target time or distance. Beginning with some alternating intervals of walking and running covering 1-2 miles a week is a good starting point.

Progress to increasing the time spent running and not needing to walk, still focusing on the same distance or time. For example, if you covered 1 mile last week and required 4 rest breaks, shoot for only needing 3 rest breaks this week OR if you were able to run 5 minutes before needing to walk last week, try increasing to 6 minutes of running the next week.

Increase your distance and time by approximately 10% per week if there are no increases in symptoms or pain until you are satisfied with the distance. For example, if you ran 4 miles last week, you could increase to running 4.4 miles this week. Eventually, this may mean adding an additional day of running, while still completing the same distance each bout.  

In summary, returning to running after having a baby requires a well-planned and careful approach. While the guidelines discussed in this blog post can be useful as a starting point, seeking guidance from a professional physical therapist can significantly improve your chances of a safe and successful return to running.

As birth healing specialists, working with moms is what we do best! We offer mom runners specific programming designed to assist postpartum moms in rebuilding strength, avoiding injuries, and reaching their fitness objectives.

Don’t let fear or uncertainty hinder your progress towards getting back into the game. Because you took the time to read this entire post we would love to reward you by offering you $111 off your runner’s assessment. This means you get your initial assessment and doctor’s recommendations for only $99!

Dr. Leslie and Dr. Kaitlyn are pelvic health physical therapists specializing in pregnancy care and postpartum healing.

Schedule free discovery phone consultation today to find out if you are a good fit to work with our team in Cascade, IA.  Be sure to mention this blog post to claim your $99 runner’s assesment.

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We will review your problem list, where you want to be and then determine if you are a good fit for our services.

Dr. Leslie Kremer Dr. Kaitlyn Smith

Prenatal Postnatal Therapy

We help moms minimize pain and discomfort during pregnancy, prevent birth trauma, have a positive birth experience, and heal completely postpartum.