Thursday, August 2, 2012

Running Post-Baby {post #1}

As I near the beginning of the third trimester (tomorrow!!), I came to some conclusions on my run/walk this morning that make me feel better.  {I have been lacking in the running department lately.  After my race, I was severely lacking in motivation to continue running.  I was just getting frustrated mentally.  But after a week off and then I have been run/walking (2 minutes run, 1 minute walk or today 3 minutes run, 1 minute walk)  I feel like I can keep going}

  • I am running.  Period.  I am running more than many people who are not pregnant can run.
  • I cannot compare myself to anyone else.  Even if they are running a gazillion more miles than I am, it's because they were running even more before pregnancy and I am really right on for what I was doing when I got pregnant.  And along those lines, I am not a marathon runner.  I do not ever run volume like that.
  • It might seem like what I am doing is insignificant now, but it will help me after Baby.  There are benefits to labor {it's supposed to make it easier!} and I will be able to get in shape again easier.  And trust me, I have gotten back in shape twice after not exercising at all during pregnancy and it's not fun.
  • Use this time to cherish the season--cherish my pregnancy with Baby Boy #3 {no, he doesn't have a name yet...} and use it to dream about what I want to do after baby.

Like I have said, running during pregnancy is new to me, but running after babies is not.  So I want to share my experiences with my first two and also share some of the new things that I have learned.  {Disclaimer:  I am not a medical professional nor do I claim to be.  This is simply a collection of information I have read and my experiences.  Talk to your doctor about your individual needs before exercising.}

Pelvic Floor Muscles
I'm going to jump right into the awkward part...If you've only had one baby you may not notice problems with your pelvic floor muscles as much as those who have had multiple children {unless you had a really awful labor or a really big baby...} But trust me, running is so much more fun if you don't feel like you are going to pee your pants the whole time...or do {fortunately I have not, but I officially do not like jumping jacks at all after babies...}  I am sure that every one of you have had Kegals preached at you.  But just recently I ran across an article I found extremely interesting.  This lady argued that Kegals perhaps are not the best way to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles.  I would highly recommend that you go read this interview between blogger Kara from Mama Sweat and biomechanical scientist Katy Bowman.  Bowman instead argues that squatting is the way to go.
and the follow up also...

I think what is presented makes a lot of sense.  Kegals simply do not truly strengthen, but tighten the pelvic floor muscles.  Bowman argues, and I agree, that:

One of the biggest misnomers is that tight muscles are "strong" and loose muscles are "weak." In actuality, the strongest muscle is one that is the perfect length - you need Pelvic Floor Goldilocks - it's juuuuuust right. The Kegel keeps making the PF tighter and tighter (and weaker and weaker). The short term benefits are masking the long term detriments. Ditch the kegels and add two to three squat sessions throughout the day (anywhere). The glutes strengthen and as a result, they pull the sacrum back, stretching the PF from a hammock to a trampoline. Viola! You can still practice opening and closing your PF in real-time situations, but you don't have to approach it like a weight-lifting session or anything. It doesn't need to be on the To Do list :) {}.

And check out what squatting is good for....

In strength training, the squat is a compound, full body exercise that trains primarily the muscles of the thighships and buttocks, quads (vastus lateralus medialis and intermedius), hamstrings, as well as strengthening the bonesligaments and insertion of the tendons throughout the lower body. Squats are considered a vital exercise for increasing the strength and size of the legs and buttocks, as well as developing core strengthIsometrically, the lower back, the upper back, the abdominals, the trunk muscles, the costal muscles, and the shoulders and arms are all essential to the exercise and thus are trained when squatting with proper form.[1] {}.
I have started squatting already {no weight or anything} 3 sets x 10 squats.  And is definitely something I want to be diligent about post-baby.  Squatting also supposed to help in childbirth.  Check out this post.  It has a ton of great information about proper squatting and how it can help you during labor:

The First Run
I have to be honest and say that I started running before getting an "official" go ahead from my midwife.  However, I had been in for a 2 week check up and she said everything was fine, so when my babies were about 1 month old, I went for my first run.  I ran 1 mile.  As slowly as I had to.  And then I did it again and again until I could go a little farther.  Then a little faster.  And by circumstances, I didn't really build up mileage or run super consistently until they were about 3 months old.  But doing something, anything, was so good for my mind and body.  And as long as everything goes smoothly, I am planning to do the same with this baby.

My plan this time around {I am still working on specifics, but this is it in simple form}:

  • invest in a treadmill.  This would cure every excuse about the weather.  I will be getting back into running in early-mid December and sometimes winter in Nebraska really stinks and it's too easy to just not do it.  And in the winter it gets dark so early that I have a very limited window of time to run.
  • Start walking as soon as I feel up to it.
  • Be smart.  I'm not going to push things until I'm ready.  I would rather wait to start than injure myself and not be able to run at all.
  • Have races to motivate me to train.  For me, this is the single best way to motivate myself out the door on the days, I really don't want to run.
  • Add strength training/yoga and/or pilates.  I have always been horrible about cross-training, but I need to be strong to not hurt myself.  And for sure on the strength training, wait a few months out due to the relaxin {thus a higher risk of injury}.  Although I read that relaxin can be present as long as you are breastfeeding.  So I will proceed with caution.
  • Diet.  This is huge for me.  I struggle with this one.  I always joke that I run so I can eat whatever I want, but I severely lack self-control and that needs to change.  I am working on a plan that will work for me.  {I'll share it when I finish it!}
  • Have a plan.  A training schedule...something to follow and something that has the rest days I need built in.  If I know what to do, I am so much more likely to actually do it.
I have so much more I'd love to share with you like breastfeeding while running wait that doesn't work  running while breastfeeding, and abdominal strengthening, my goals and race schedule.  But I'll do that all in another post.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this!!! As a first time mom who doesn't know what to expect I really appreciate this information and I can't wait for your next posts on this topic. I am glad I'm not the only one who is already thinking about races and training after baby. I just wrote a post on it! Also, I love squats! Hopefully they will help me in labor and with the pelvic floor issues after birth. My childbirth instructor said that squatting during labor opens the birth canal 15% more - I like the sound of that!