postpartum strength

Building a Base

13 October, 2020 Steph's diary

This blog is waaaaaay overdue…how long can I keep using my child as an excuse for my tardiness, until he is 21 years old? [Note from Editor: As long as you can!]

In the last blog, I emphasized the importance of doing pelvic floor and core exercise post birth. I think that just focusing on those for a good few weeks got me back into the position of being able to do more gym work and high intensity interval training sessions, safely and with no pain. I still integrate the exercises I learnt into my sessions as I don’t think one should ever neglect them. I am now 19 weeks postpartum and very happy that I have got to the point of doing 2 gym / HIIT sessions and 4 runs per week. My runs are still 10 km at most because my gap between feeds is still only 2 hours - what the hell! I have resigned myself to the fact that this probably won't change until this boy is well into his solids.

But isn’t two hours plenty of time to do more than 10 km? Well, yes it is, but there are also other things that need to be done during that time! I'm hoping it won't be too long before I can push the distance a bit further.

A few weeks ago, my running club held a personal best 10 km challenge. I decided that this would give me something to work towards and I called it my post baby challenge. The organizer designed a 5 week training programme – only 5 weeks because most of the runners were already fit. I followed the programme as best I could within the time I had available – the weekend runs were too long for me as they were 12 km and 15 km and I couldn’t be away for that length of time. But I found that having specific runs to do, such as runs with tempo intervals, speedwork etc helpful as it gave me focus.

It is important to first build up a base of fitness which I did just by doing regular easy runs a few days a week before starting the programme. Once you are adequately fit, I think it is really important to change your runs up to integrate speedwork, hill repeats as well as your slower, more consistent runs. When you have a limited time frame to run in, doing a good quality run that pushes you a bit makes you feel like you are achieving something, and not just plodding along. So that would be my advice for anyone in the same boat: start with easy walking and work on those pelvic floor and core muscles. When you feel ready, start with some easy running and then set a goal (say a local 10 km race) and find a programme to follow to get you there.

I was thrilled that I managed 48 minutes for my post baby 10 km. I felt really good and it boosted my confidence a bit. My next goal will be running a 21 km but that all depends on Jackson and how his routine changes over the next few months….

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