The end of last week marked eight weeks postpartum. I’ve been running for four of those weeks and in the past week have started to feel a shift in my fitness. I haven’t had any expectations in regard to pace on any of my runs, but on Saturday I took Sophia out in the stroller and managed 8:30’s. I honestly thought I’d be closer to a 10 min mile, but once we got going my body seemed to settle into a rhythm right around 8:30. The same thing happened yesterday when I went for my longest run so far: a six miler at 8:30 pace felt easy.
But most of that ease is in my breathing. I feel like structurally my muscles, ligaments and tendons are still adjusting to running more. I’ve been sore after some of my runs and old aches that usually crop up at high mileage are cropping up now: my calves and hips have been sore.My body still has some adjusting to do as it gets used to running again. I stopped running at 36 weeks so I took a total of 8 weeks off from running, I still walked, rode the bike and did various fitness workouts. But that time off from running means my body is a little achy after a 50 min run.
I was able to be more consistent this week with foam rolling, although sometimes the moment I walk in the door from a run there’s a fussy baby that needs holding so I can’t stretch or foam roll in that moment. But after everyone goes to bed that’s when I find the time, or while the kids are playing with blocks on the floor.
Here’s how last week went down in the fitness and running department:
Monday: (morning) 4 miles/9:20 pace This was my first “non-hill” run and my body settled right around a nine minute pace as what felt “easy.” But running still doesn’t have that mindless ease that it has sometimes. It will be a while before I get there.
Tuesday: (after bed) Sometimes you just do what you can when you can and that’s what this workout was all about. It just didn’t happen in the morning like I had hoped, or the afternoon and finally I went down to do laun dry after the kids had gone to bed and decided between swapping the clothes from the wash to they dryer to bang out a few drills.
3×50 each skaters, high knees, butt kicks, toe taps
2×20 pull ups, reverse push ups
Wednesday: (evening) Track. I joined my club at the track knowing I wouldn’t run the workout with them (5×1000). I thought I’d just run a few miles on the track, but spoke to the coach and he recommended strides. Strides are a series of 50-100m “pick-ups” that help increase leg turn over and can help form as well. I ran 8x100m strides. To run a stride you break up the distance into thirds, run easy for the first third, speed up to a sprint in the middle third and then ease back down to an easy run in the last third. I ran the strides on the straights and jogged the turns for a total of a mile around the track. I cooled down with another mile on the track and a mile in the woods. I wanted to run fast on the track, I really did. But my body isn’t ready for speed work yet, it’s one of the last “layers” to add in training after you’ve built up mileage. Running speed work too soon can lead to muscle strains, pulls or ligament and tendon damage. It was killing me to hold back, but being sidelined later on would be more “painful.”
Friday: travel day…a 5 hour drive took 8 hours.
Saturday: (mid-morning) 4.0 single stroller run/8:31 pace. Took my original running partner out for a spin along the shore road. Felt so strong and fast pushing the stroller. It felt like a turning point in my running so far. Big difference between my run from Monday.
3 x10,12, 15 squat jumps, modified push-up*, kettlebell rows
3×10 modified plank hold*, modified plank push-ups with flow through to child’s pose*, clamshell, prone leg raise, bird dogs
* I’m still modifying planks and pushups to guard my abs. Before doing planks (or any ab moves against gravity) after giving birth you should talk with your doctor and find out what kind of separation (diastasis) you have. Putting strain on it to early can actually cause it to worsen instead of closing.
Last week was a solid week and I’m looking to build on that with an additional run, upping the days I’m running from 3 to 4 per week. I’m going slow, but building confidence as I go and I feel absolutely certain that a more conservative approach will benefit me in the long run.
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