So you've just given birth and can't wait to get back out on the road or trail?
For some tips on coming back to running sensibly and safely after having a baby, we spoke to Hong Kong super mum and ultra trail queen, Marie McNaughton, who proves you can come back stronger than ever.
In fact, there is some science to suggest that post-partum hormonal changes could help women train harder, and both Paula Radcliffe's win at the 2007 New York Marathon and Kara Goucher's 2:24 PR at the 2011 Boston Marathon were within nine months of giving birth.
Photo credit: SCMP
1. Don't rush back till you are really ready
"There is a lot or pressure on new mums to get back into shape as soon as they are cleared for exercise, but often it’s just not realistic. You are likely to be completely knackered from child birth, sleep deprivation, and breast feeding for some time. Just go with the flow in the early days and don't try to fit in exercise too soon.
When you finally feel like you can get your head above the parapet for an hour a day, then think about getting outside for some fresh air and a long walk and work up from there.
If you start too early, you are likely to put too much pressure on yourself. In those early days, don't set any goals or expectations around exercising. Just get out if you really want too. Maybe enter a race at some point in the future as a goal to work towards.
2. Treat yourself to a new pair of compression pants
Everything is going to wobble and feel strange and uncomfortable for those first few runs. Something that gives you some support around the jiggly bits will make it a lot more doable and less depressing - and you can enjoy burning them afterwards…!
3. Embrace the suck
Your pelvis is likely to be at a 45 degree angle from where it was, your abdominals may no longer exist, and that first run back is going to HURT like hell - but trust that every step will make you stronger and that you will be a better runner for it.
A year of running while breast feeding and with a few extra kilos helped me to build strength and endurance I wouldn't have otherwise. Look at it as training with a ‘weight vest’. You will get super strong and, as the weight gradually comes off, much faster too.
Don't be afraid to run or race while breastfeeding. It's perfectly fine for you and the baby, and may even be the key to unlocking super fat burning capabilities….…who knows right?
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