This week's questioner had a baby in January. But, unlike her fellow new mum Paula Radcliffe, she doesn't have a coach as a hubby. How should she get back into running?
"I used to run most mornings (approx 3 miles) and loved it. I gave up a year ago as I was pregnant. Have since had a baby girl (22 Jan 2007) and am getting my fitness back. But I've read that I shouldn't be doing an 'active' sport like running until five months after the birth. Can anyone advise me on how I can get back into running, and what training programme I should be undertaking?"
– Tracy Skriczka
Your best answers
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Tracy, provided you feel fully recovered and don't have any obvious medical problems there is no reason why you shouldn't start running again. You can use any of the scores of beginning-to-run schedules that are out there. With my first I had a C-section, and a nice young physiotherapist who visited me a couple of weeks later gave me lots of advice about rotating my ankles to keep the blood flowing while I was lying on the sofa. I kept quiet about it not having occurred to me that I shouldn't be scrambling in and out of the loft with heavy boxes, digging the garden, and hopping on the train and doing some gentle hill-walking with the baby in a sling. Result? My scar is invisible and my insides haven't fallen out! – Velociraptor
I gave birth less than three weeks ago, unfortunately by C-section, but as a sports therapist I plan to resume running (provided I get the OK) from my six-week check up. When I say running I mean jogging and walking initially, taking it very slowly. I managed to run whilst pregnant up to the six-month point and then carried on swimming and using CV equipment for another couple of months. Take it gradually, and definitely do some core stability and pelvic floor exercises. Don't expect to be anywhere near your pre-pregnancy fitness. – Jayne Ecott
The key thing is to do what you feel. I ran all the way through both of my pregnancies and felt fine, albeit slower. I also swam a mile every other day. Like many of the ladies of the forum, my midwife was horrified with my exercise regime. They thought I was mad, but I knew what my body could do and I never took any risks – I knew what I was capable of. After giving birth to each baby I was back on the road a week later. (Both deliveries were problem free and relatively quick with no drugs.) Be careful though, and wear lots of supportive underwear and pads! I raced about three months after giving birth, and with my second baby I did the London marathon six months after he was born and achieved a personal best. Having a baby certainly makes you more motivated. Good luck and don't give up. – raceshy
I was back running within two weeks of giving birth to my daughter, who's now two, and I trained for and ran a half marathon PB within 5 months. It is tricky, especially if you are breast feeding, but I enjoyed it as the only "me time" I ever had/have. – caterpillar girl
I had two C-sections and didn't do anything other than light walking until about three months after each operation. Then I built up slowly, it probably took a full year after each to get my top speed back. Wear a good bra, especially if you're breastfeeding. Oh, and always a good idea to feed before you run. – kittenkat
I'm expecting a baby in three months, and still managing to run a bit (very slowly). Like you, I'm also hoping to get back to running as soon as I can after the birth. Make sure you come and see us on the pregnant runners thread, where you'll find lots of mums and mums-to-be at different stages. Good luck! – sarahbob
I think you're the best judge of how you feel. Five months is plenty long enough for your body to start getting back to normal. Provided you've had the all clear from the health visitor and take it steady to start with, wear a good bra and listen to your body, go for it. I couldn't wait to get back exercising after having my daughter and found it really helped to have some time to myself. Everyone says you should get as much sleep as possible, but I used some of my spare time to run and I think it made me much more level headed. Just play it by ear if you've had a bad night with the baby, and pace yourself. – Lisa Moore
I horrified my midwife by running to and from my ante-natal clinics (3 miles) up until 34 weeks (though it got very slow) and swam a mile the night before my daughter arrived! I did a triathlon when she was 6 months and carried on feeding till 18 months or more (it is the only time I have any bust!) – and this was my fourth child. So just build your fitness back steadily and play it by ear, because the speed at which your fitness comes back will be very individual. As others have said, make sure your core muscles and especially your pelvic floor are in good shape, and you should be fine. My daughter is 16 now and I am still running. – Tootie A
Unless you had problems after the birth (eg problems with your scar after a section), get out there if you feel up to it. I didn't start again until my daughter was nearly eight months, and I regret it as I lost so much fitness in that time. I'd kept exercising until the bitter end during pregnancy, and then felt I'd wasted all that effort! I'm getting back into it now though, and it's amazing how quickly it all comes back. If you can find any other newish mums to run with that really helps too. – Clara Cluck
Make sure you're taking a good multivitamin, as pregnancy and childbirth rob your body of essential nutrients. I found that I just didn't have the same reserves as before, as I could never fully recover – and my sleep was patchy most nights. I can now run similar distances compared with before I had my girls, though I'm much slower. Enjoy your baby! – cher wingrove
25 years minimum. After finally getting them through university, I can now afford a pair of running shoes again! – slow motion
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