So, when can I start running again??
Let's answer the question that all of you are asking...
The answer is, obviously, well it depends!
You will likely be cleared for exercise by your OBGYN at your 6 week check-up. This does not mean you are ready to go for run. Running is considered high intensity and needs to be gradually built up. My recommendation is to start working on your strength for a couple of weeks first. You might be able to do some basic exercises shortly after birth (tranverse abdominus training, glute activation, breathing correctly...stay tuned for a later blog post about all this), or you might not feel ready for a few weeks. If you cannot walk without pain or issues, you wont be able to run without any. Once you have a good foundation of strength, you are probably ready to hit the trails! Or the treadmill...
How to tell if you're ready to run?
Here are some things you might consider before lacing up those sneakers:
Can you walk for at least 30min without your pelvic floor or cesarean scar hurting?
Is intercourse painful? (Are things still healing down there?)
When was the last time you ran? Exercised?
Do you have hip or back pain?
Do you have a diastatsis recti (abdominal separation)?
Can you manage your prolapse correctly?
Do you have urinary or fecal incontinence (leaking)?
Do you feel ready to start running?
I tend to recommend a more conservative return to running, and people do really well with that approach. I utilize a walk/run protocol (see below) that I give to pretty much all my patients getting back into running, whether it's from injury, pregnancy, switching to minimalist footwear, as a new sport, or whatever.
The first couple weeks of running can seem really short, but in the grand scheme of things, taking a little extra time to build up your fitness safely can make all the difference.
This is the walk/run protocol I give to everyone. It's from The Running Clinic and can be found here https://therunningclinic.com/en/runners/learn/training-programs/training-programs/return-to-running/interval-running-programs/
Following a protocol gives you guidance and structure. There are so many out there, from "couch to 5k" plans, to apps, to pretty much everything you can think of on google. The bad news is, there are a lot of choices to pick from which can be confusing. The good news is, if you're thoughtful and careful about it, it's hard to make a bad decision!
Remember, everybody's body is different, and everybody's birth experience is different. What works for you might not work for your friend. You have to listen to your body. The risk of doing too much too soon can include delaying healing time and increase your likely hood of further injury by 50%, which will set you back even further. However, if you start slow and easy, build your strength, and follow a protocol, you're almost guaranteed that runners high!
There are so many topics I want to discuss on this blog, and many of them overlap with each other, but I think "when can I run again" is the ultimate question for many moms, whether its right after their first baby, or years after they've had kids. It is possible, you just need to be patient, careful, and positive!