9 Weeks Postpartum Fitness Update

Our baby boy arrived on June 8th! I’m grateful to have had a fast labor and delivery without complications, and to have welcomed a happy, healthy little boy into the world. Mike and I have been soaking up all the special moments over the past two months, and can’t believe how much William has grown and changed in such a short amount of time.
Although it’s easy to go on and on about William, I’m still going to focus my blog on exercising, specifically running. My posts will likely be less frequent, but I’d still like to maintain my blog to chronicle and share my journey back into running – to motivate myself and to perhaps inspire others.

Understanding everyone’s pregnancy, delivery, recovery, bodies and babies are different, what has worked for me won’t necessarily work for everyone. And I’m by no means an expert. I’m still figuring this all out – what my body is capable of now, what areas I need to work on and simply how to find time to squeeze in workouts. I’ve quickly realized how much more challenging it will be to find time for exercising, especially when I just want to spend time with William. But it’s important to make time to take care of myself, as well.

The First Six Weeks Postpartum
I decided to wait until after my six week appointment to run for several reasons. One, I was way too tired to think about running. Two, it was extremely hot and humid in NC. Three, I’d have to carefully plan the run (early morning or evening) so Mike could watch William. Running was the last thing I wanted to do early in the morning – sleep ranked much higher! Four, although I didn’t have any complications, my body still didn’t feel the same. I felt more comfortable waiting for the official “ok” from the doctor. There was no point in pushing it.

Despite not running, I was excited to do exercises I hadn’t been able to do while pregnant! But I quickly realized that finding time for exercise becomes much more complicated when caring for a newborn. If I was in the mood and William was asleep, I’d do a P90X3 DVD (Warrior, Pilates, Yoga). But when William was asleep, napping, showering and eating usually ranked higher priority than exercising. To squeeze in some abs, I often pulled out my yoga mat when William was on his playmat to do some planks or Ab Ripper X exercises – again, dependent on my energy level.

I loved going on walks with William – and still do! It’s so nice to get out of the house and exercise while spending time with William (granted, he usually sleeps during walks). I noticed right away what a relief it was to walk up hills and not feel winded or feel intense bladder pressure!

My First Run
Thu, 7/28 – 7 weeks postpartum
2 miles at 9:12 pace

About to head out on first run since baby!

About to head out on first run since baby!

Mike and I timed our runs so that he would run while I nursed William first thing in the morning. When he came back, I went for a run. It felt so strange to be separated from William. But running again felt so wonderful! There’s a feeling I get from running that I don’t get with any other type of exercise; I get both physical and mental benefits. Of course, my pace was slower and my cardio is not near where it had been prior to baby — to be expected! I felt heavier, in general – also, to be expected. Hills were a killer on my legs. Other than those to-be-expected changes, I felt like myself again. Though I ran just two miles, it was so relaxing. And I couldn’t wait to get home to see my boys.

Run Number Two
Sun, 7/31 – 7 weeks postpartum
2 miles at 9:24 pace
It was so hot and humid that I debated whether going or not. But I figured I could run two miles and take my time. I felt pretty sluggish and heavy. But it was nice to get out, listen to my music and really sweat (granted a lot of that was due to the heat and humidity). I had missed really sweating during workouts when I was pregnant. Felt so good!

Run Number Three
Wed, 8/3 – 8 weeks postpartum
3.2 miles at 9:50 pace

First run together in a long time!

First run together in a long time!

My mom was in town and watched William so that Mike and I could run together with the Lynnwood Brewing Run Club. Lynnwood Brewing is near our house and our favorite area brewery; the run club began this past January. After 10 runs, you earn a tech tee and a Next Level tee after 50. I love run club incentives! Only two other people showed up for the run, but the organizer said the usual size crowd is about 10 people.

This run was extra special because Mike and I ran together for the first time since maybe November. He obviously slowed his pace and I ran slower since this was my first time running more than two miles. But then pushed at the end – splits: 10:07, 10:21, 9:08, 9:22.

We enjoyed beers and pizza from the food truck at Lynnwood after the run.

Family photo at Lynnwood

Family photo at Lynnwood

Run Number Four
Fri, 8/5 – 8 weeks postpartum
3 miles at 9:08 pace
Mom was still in town so watched William after I fed him so I could run. I didn’t look at my watch much so I was surprised to see my fast pace. Listening to my music pushed me to pick up my pace, although I’m really not trying to run fast right now. I want to focus on getting my strength and cardio back. Hills were still pretty tough but I’d try to make it to the top before stopping. Playing mental games like that helped me push through the hard parts of the run. I started to feel some tightness in my inner thigh during the run, so I stretched quite a bit when I got home and realized I should learn from past mistakes and make time for stretching!

Run Number Five
Sun, 8/7 – 8 weeks postpartum
3 miles at 8:38 pace
My pace was much faster, unintentionally, on this run. It felt good to get in a rhythm and hills were feeling a bit easier. I could tell my cardio was improving, as well. However, my inner thigh/groin on the right side started bothering me again going up the hills. I decided to take a week off to rest. I don’t want to push it and get injured. I really need to work on my core strength (understandably not what it used to be!), which I think will ultimately help take pressure off my hip flexor and groin area and help pull me up all these Raleigh hills.

Run Number Six
Sun, 8/14 – 9 weeks postpartum
3.2 miles at 9:13 pace
Despite our getting out early, our Raleigh Greenway run was incredibly humid and hot! Mike and I (and William!) ran on the Greenway, avoiding hills to both not aggravate my groin/hip flexor and so that we could try out our BOB Ironman stroller on flat terrain. We bought an attachment so we could snap our Britax carseat in and run with William, since he’s younger than the recommended 8 months age to sit in the regular seat. Mike pushed the stroller and said it was easier than he expected! After a few more runs with our BOB Ironman, I’ll share more thoughts and info. Wanting to avoid injury, I tried to really focus on my form and posture, including tightening my core – my abs were sore afterwards!

This was a tough run for me – my legs felt so tired for the rest of the day. However, it feels so great to push myself a bit, get my heart rate up and feel tired and sore after a workout again! And I feel like myself (sort of!) again, running along the Greenway with Mike (and now with William!). We’re all looking forward to running the Dulles Day on the Runway 10K/5K next month! I signed up for the 10K but am thinking the 5K will be challenging enough, especially if I’m pushing our little guy in the BOB!


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