What’s Helping Me with My Fitness Post Baby

As I mentioned in my training log on Monday, I already met one of my April goals last week, as well as broke my almost year old 5k PR.  Breaking my PR took me by complete surprise, and to be honest, I’m still quite shocked by it.  I only hope that I can be as speedy at my first post-baby 5k race later this month.

My stats from last Tuesday evening's run

My stats from last Tuesday evening’s run

Many of you have commented, either here on the blog or on social media, that you’re amazed that my comeback to running as been as smooth as its been since having little man at the end of December.  I’ll admit, I’m quite shocked as well.  I did not expect to rebound anywhere near as quickly as I have, though I’m of course very thankful that I have been able to.  Being able to run is one of the ways I’ve made taking care of myself a priority, and one of the ways that I’ve been able to feel like “me” again, despite the new role that I took on the day that little man was born.

I’ve been trying to process for the past week what it is that I’ve done to help me rebound as quickly as I have.  It certainly hasn’t been pure luck or magic that has allowed this to happen!  So what do I think are the main things that have been helping me the most with my return to running?

  • I set out to walk as soon as my body allowed me to, and the weather allowed me to.  And when the weather didn’t cooperate in January, I headed to the gym to walk on the treadmill.  It was extremely difficult to be at the gym and only be allowed to walk until I was cleared at my four week postpartum checkup to start running again.
  • Even though I’m breastfeeding and am constantly hungry, I’m not using it as an excuse to eat junk.  I’ve been trying to focus on keeping healthy snacks readily handy, especially now that I’m back at work and have the temptation of the vending machines staring me in the face.
  • I haven’t been trying to overdo it in terms of my cardio.  Prior to pregnancy, and throughout my pregnancy, I ran 3-4 days a week, and have been maintaining that training schedule.  Even if I’ve been able to fit in cross training to my already busy schedule, I’m refusing to allow myself to run anymore than I did prior to pregnancy, even though I’m eager to tighten the last of my post-baby loose skin.
  • I ran up until I was 32.5 weeks pregnant.  Running while pregnant was no easy feat, and even though I slowed down significantly towards the end, I was still moving.  And that was while carrying extra weight, which certainly helped with maintaining my endurance.
After one of my last treadmill runs back in October. The last time that I ran pregnant was at Rock 'n' Roll Philly on Halloween, after which I turned to the elliptical for my cardio exercise.

After one of my last treadmill runs back in October.  The last time that I ran while pregnant was at Rock ‘n’ Roll Philly on Halloween, after which I turned to the elliptical for my cardio exercise.

QOTD: To my fellow mother runners, what do you think helped you the most in your postpartum return to running?

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42 Responses to What’s Helping Me with My Fitness Post Baby

  1. You’re doing so amazing Kathryn! I just love your dedication and perseverance! And what a great example you are setting for little man!!! Great job Momma!!!

  2. I didn’t recover well after my first born. However, after my second was born, I was able to get back to running earlier. Taking care of my body was key for me postpartum.

  3. Lesley says:

    I’ve read that being active before and during pregnancy allows for an easier comeback. That’s not to say it will be easy peasy, but the body remembers its fitness.

  4. This is inspiring for the future for me, and you’re so lucky you were able to recuperate quicker. Also, I read an article in the New York Times just last week about how exercising throughout pregnancy with your doctor’s blessing is good for both mom and baby – I always feared it was something only elite runners were capable of, but you’ve proven me wrong (not that you aren’t elite in your own way 🙂 )

  5. Wow- congrats on your 5K PR, that is amazing! I had been struggling with fitting in runs in my post-baby workout schedule but recently got a treadmill so that now I can squeeze in a couple of runs per week while my baby naps. I’m lucky that I’m back in the shape that I wanted to be in already, and that’s due to staying active doing (very, very) modified CrossFit and circuit training until the very end of my pregnancy. Unfortunately I stopped running in my second trimester because it became too uncomfortable so that may also set me back a little bit when it comes to running and speed…but it’s ok, I’m doing what I can!

    ~Julia

  6. Your like the perfect example:) Granted I’ve never had kids. But seriously, I’ve been amazed at how well you did pregnancy and now post, your a health and fitness rockstar!

  7. My return to running has not been so smooth for sure! I’m battling an old knee injury that surfaced again after giving birth, so I’m focusing on nutrition (I’m starving too!) and really working on my core and stretching. I walk when I can, run when my hubs is in town and can watch the baby, and I’m really exercising PATIENCE with my body! Luckily my first race isn’t until Labor
    Day so I have plenty of time to build a base, get stronger, and get faster. Way to go mama!!!

  8. Ana says:

    I wasn’t active before or after my pregnancy, but I can confirm to you that the “Always Hungry” feeling never goes away after you stop breastfeeding. But you are on the right path to not eat junk! That is a huge victory!

  9. I was cleared to run 2 weeks pp but I ran walked like a mile or two so it was nothing major, but I definitely think getting out there early and often helped!

  10. Just found you via TrD Link Love – great post! I don’t have any littles, but right now working on my own nutrition I can say it definitely makes a HUGE difference.

  11. Isn’t it great how your body knows what to do? I bounced back after my pregnancies and hysterectomy surgery very quickly! Not to mention returning to running after injuries as well. I’m always amazed at that.

  12. mkadens1 says:

    You’ve done so great and are inspiring many, Kathryn! Even though I was a bed rester for most of both of my pregnancies, I managed to bounce back really quickly. I think the key is to work back gradually to an active, healthy lifestyle.

  13. I think our bodies are truly amazing!! I’ve also heard from others that our body remembers fitness, so being active before pregnancy makes it easier to return to activity after.

  14. So wonderful that you have bounced back so quickly. I think being active before and during pregnancy really helps. I am working toward a 5k PR as well great job.

  15. I wasn’t a runner until a few years after I had kids but I was a gym goer. I think being patient was key for me and realizing I had to come back slowly. So great that you are back at it so well!

  16. MCM Mama says:

    With my first, we had this amazing carriage where the kid was completely flat. Since he only napped when he was moving, I walked for HOURS with that and then “ran” with it when I could. With the second, I had him in some sort of wrap on me all the time while I kept up with my four year old. It’s amazing what carrying that extra weight for several hours a day does for your fitness LOL.

  17. Jessica says:

    I totally agree that working out before and during pregnancy makes the recovery SO MUCH better!!

  18. Carmy says:

    You’re doing so amazing! Congrats on the PB

  19. haleyduke17 says:

    Definitely staying active until the end made things easier. Taking too much time off results in too much lost cardio.

  20. I’ve heard staying active as much as you can during pregnancy can help with recovery and getting back to activity, and I know you did that really well. Keep it up!

  21. You are seriously such an inspiration! Great to hear that you’re active and doing well. Keep it up!

  22. nsalama1 says:

    Wow! Amazing job! I ‘m still working on my post baby running (5 years later 😉 Found your post on #SundayBlogHop

    Nicole | The Professional Mom Project

  23. I’m 2 months pp and starting at it again. Definitely taking it nice and slow. Biggest challenge for me is the lack of sleep which makes it so hard to actually get out and run. Right now I’m only asking 1 mile of myself at a time. Then I usually end up doing more.

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