Running Postpartum- 3-12 weeks

When I first started “running” after delivering my son I was about 3 weeks post partum.  Non-sanctioned, just going by how I felt.  I ran short sections of a 3 mile route near my house with lots of walking breaks.  If I cramped up, I stopped and walked.  If I felt like garbage, I didn’t run. It took me about a week and a bit to build up to a slow “yog”  (walk-jog) where I sort of bounced through all 3 miles.  The first time I went out and did this- I wondered when and if I would ever be able to get through all 3 miles, let alone get back out and tackle my favorite 6 mile route.

The reality is that it was hard to get to 3 miles non-stop.  I remember each one of those runs clearly, even though I was (and still am) in a sleepless fog.  After Teo’s first nap, I’d nurse him, pump, change his diaper and get us both dressed and hopefully out the door by 10 AM or so.  We’d cross the street and hang a left to the nearby neighborhoods- roads that previously marked just the beginning of a longer run- and did an “out and back” route where I could add some distance with side roads if I wanted to.  Roads I had shrugged off as flat? With the jogger you become intimately aware of each slope, each incline.  Pushing my son up the “baby” hills made me stronger, though- and by 5/6 weeks I was ready to tackle bigger hills and longer routes. Let me be clear though- I took plenty of breaks.  It was June- hot and muggy.  Even if I wasn’t starting over with running, those are the months that make easy runs sweaty and hard.

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I didn’t follow a set “plan”-  I let the sleep (or lack thereof) of the previous night and my energy level dictate our daily mileage goal.  If we only got up a few times and I had at least a 3 hour stretch in there-  I’d  feel somewhat confident in tackling something new and different.  Most of the time that meant a hillier route, or trying to run a flat section of the route faster- or just making it up the last hill without walking.

On one of my runs, I surprised myself by running the entire length of a steep hill because I didn’t want to stop and take a break in front of a landscaping crew that had given me the thumbs up.  Pride is a bitch.  Similarly, there was a lot of road construction going on all summer and I kept seeing the same police officers directing traffic.  I didn’t want them to think that I was lazy…  so I ran faster and more when I was being directed around the construction.

By randomly adding “extra” I built up some fitness.  I got my biggest boost when I joined my mother and sister on a road trip out to Michigan so that Teo could meet his great grandfather.  My mother is an avid runner- and we had babysitters- so instead of running 3 or 4 miles most days during that 10 day stretch- we ran mostly 6 miles with lots of 8 milers.

Through 8 weeks or so, that meant that each week my “long run” got one mile longer.


I averaged about a 10 minute/mile pace for all of my stroller runs-  but for most of them I didn’t/don’t time it, and I didn’t/don’t put pressure on myself to hit a certain distance or time.

A typical week at 6/ 7 weeks postpartum looked something like this:

Sunday- 5/6 mile treadmill run, about 9 min/mile pace

Monday- 4 mile run, stroller

Tues- 5 mile hilly run with stroller (walk up 1 steep hill)

Weds- rest

Thurs- 6 mile hilly stroller run

Fri- rest

Saturday- walk/jog with the whole family 5 or 6 miles.

Total mileage- 20-25 miles.

I am lucky, though.  I had a “normal” and uncomplicated birth- and I worked to maintain fitness during my pregnancy.  I recognize that not everyone is going to feel motivated (AT ALL)  at 3 weeks postpartum to begin a running routine. What motivated me was that I really missed my sport.  I missed the “runner’s high” and I missed the tone that running gives my muscles.  I won’t lie-  I also wanted the calorie burn to help get my pre-baby body back.

I also gave myself a pass when I felt I needed it. I rested, walked, cut things short as needed. I am starting to be harder on myself…  just now.   And when it is appropriate (aka being whiny about a run that I know that I can do vs running when I really ought to rest).  Of course I learned the hard way- I started a half marathon training plan in August for the Baystate half that I didn’t get to finish because I sprained my ankle from running when I was just too damn tired.  I literally fell…  because of nothing at all.  Thankfully my Mom was with me when it happened-  but seriously!

Please leave any questions in the comments or email me!  If you are running postpartum, how is it going?

















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Pregnant Running- Part 1, a Reflection of the First Trimester

As a part of returning to this space, I want to dedicate a few posts to “pregnant running” – a recap of sorts of what I did and how I felt.  When I found out that I was pregnant, I was training for the Baystate Marathon.  None of what follows should be considered medical advice – I am leaving out some private details and sticking to the running portion of my pregnancy.

(at the end of the first 20 miler for Baystate- 2:49 total time for me).

Prior to finding out that I was pregnant, Teo and I ran at least a 16, 17, and 2 20 mile training runs.  The first couple of long runs were in the pace range that I was expecting (8:20-8:30 pace)-  but the last few,  MAN were they a struggle.  The final 20 mile run (in early September) I was totally exhausted, slow, and needed a million bathroom breaks.   Over the next week running just got harder and some other symptoms popped up…  and low and behold-  we were pregnant!

After finding out that I was pregnant- I made some changes to my training and plans. My OB didn’t nix running the full marathon (plenty of women run full marathons pregnant)-  I did.  I would have only been 11, almost 12 weeks pregnant for the marathon and I just didn’t want to risk it.  Since I had been running double digit training runs all along, I felt comfortable sticking with the half marathon distance.  Other factors that I considered when deciding to run the half-  did I really want to “slog” through 26.2 just to say that I had run a marathon pregnant?  The quick answer- NO.  Would I blame the marathon if I got injured, something happened to the baby, etc?  Yes.

I felt different about the half marathon distance, though.  Running less than 2 hours at a moderate pace was nothing new to me or the little one!

My running partner and I decided to run The Manchester by the Sea half  a couple of weeks before the Baystate Marathon.  I didn’t push the pace at all, but did need a bathroom break around 8 miles in.  I ran a 1:53 (1:52:56)- about 8:37 pace- inclusive of a stop :).

(9.5 weeks pregnant)

(Baystate- 11.5 weeks pregnant)

I wanted to run Baystate a little faster-  and I did! Only by a minute and a bit :)  Baystate was completed in 1:51:48-  for an 8:33 avg.

How it felt:

Running any faster than an 8 min/mile was tough almost immediately-  I just felt short of breath and tired.  Training paces were fine for the whole first trimester.  As I closed in on 12 and 13 weeks I needed bathroom breaks, often.  I was actually surprised that I didn’t need portapotties at Baystate-  but I did need the post race food!  After both halfs I had gas left in the tank-  but by the end of the day on those race days I was WIPED OUT.  Nap city.

Around 12 weeks I became full on exhausted.  8PM bedtime, evening nausea (though I was never sick)-  but I kept up with my routine.  Running still felt pretty good (even though it was slower)-  and there was no medical reason to stop.  Looking back on my logs I ran about 35-40 miles/week through 15 weeks pregnant without any problems.

And speaking of bathroom breaks- this was the most uncomfortable part of running in the second half of the first trimester, for me.  I felt like I had constant pressure on my bladder.  For someone so small at the time- Teo was making his presence known!  It made running outside tough-  I wanted a potty every 2 miles or so.  I switched to running on the treadmill for the most part.

The takeaway-  I listened to my body!  Being pregnant changed my philosophy regarding running- no longer did I feel the need to hit a certain pace or distance- I just ran for the sake of running.  In some ways this was exactly what I needed-  I felt the “pressure” of performing and competing lift. During the two races I struggled a little bit with being “slow”- and thinking about what I “could” have run if I wasn’t pregnant- but by 13 weeks I was over that hump and just enjoying myself.


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Dusting off this space


That was a significant break from blogging.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy writing- it’s that life happened and happened in a beautiful way and while I wanted to write, I was just so damn busy experiencing it all!

It has been over a year since my last blog post-  and in that time this little guy entered our lives.

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Michael Theodore was born on May 7th, 2015.  We call him Teo.  Pronounced “Tay-oh”.

He’s currently 5 months old, and pretty amazing.


So little!  (yes, that is a cloth diaper peeking out from under those shorts).

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While in utero he ran 2 half marathons, several double digit training runs, and raced a 5k.  I’m hoping to address running while pregnant and what I did (and didn’t do) in separate posts and am happy to take questions.  I ran in all 3 trimesters- but not up to the bitter end as some women can.  I took a conservative approach and in many ways I am glad I did-  I was able to return to running around 3 weeks postpartum  (walk-runs) and have been working on building up my base.  20150618_113100

6 weeks postpartum- 6 mile run with the baby.  I have the BOB Ironman jogger and a carseat adaptor.  Teo is just getting big enough to sit in the jogger without using the carseat.


8 weeks postpartum- 8 mile run around Mackinac Island, MI.

Running postpartum has been challenging in new and different ways.  I’m slower than I was before. I’m tired, like really really tired. The baby is in daycare 3 days a week so we are getting sick, often.  I sprained my ankle over labor day weekend and needed to take 2 weeks off from running entirely  (running while tired is hazardous).  I was trying to train for the Baystate Half Marathon but decided not to run it under trained-  I would just have been disappointed in myself and my performance.  I didn’t want to run the race just to run- I wanted to run it well.


Yes- that is my yucky sprain!  Looks are deceiving- it only needed to be babied for a little while.  Good thing, since I have a baby.

I’m training again.  This time for the Hyannis Marathon-  and I am hoping to BQ  (Boston Qualify).  That means I need to run it in <3:35  (or under an 8:10 pace).  That isn’t going to be easy, for so many reasons.  But that doesn’t mean impossible or improbable.

I’m currently running between 20 and 30 miles a week.  Prior to spraining my ankle I had gotten back to about 40-  and that’s where I’d like to be in the next few weeks.  As far as a training plan goes, I am probably going to go with Pftizinger’s 18/55 plan-  I’ve done it before (Disney 2012).  It looks something like this:

To put my current fitness into perspective, this past week I only ran 25ish miles-

Mon- 5 miles @ 8:49 pace (TM)

Tues- 60 min arc trainer

Weds- 7 miles (broken up over 2 runs)- 9:05 pace and 8:30 pace (a 3 miler and a 4 miler)

Thurs- 60 minutes arc trainer

Fri- off

Sat- 9 miles, 8:49 avg (TM)

Sun- 3-4 miles- 2 @ 8:1o ish, the others at ?.

Hyannis is in 19 weeks….  so next weekend my long run will be 11 miles and then we will be launching right into the 18 week program.




I had to add just a few more photos of him-  I can’t help myself.







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