How to Start Running After Having a Baby
You know what every new mom has in common? A desire to lose the baby weight fast! There are few quicker ways to shed those extra pounds than running. But because of the changes in our bodies, we have to be careful when we start running after having a baby. Jump in too quickly and we could get seriously hurt — not ideal when you’re trying to care for a tiny human. Here’s your how-to guide to start running after having a baby:
Running coach Bobby Holcombe says every recovery is different but generally advises to start slow — walking the first three to four weeks, increasing your distance each week. After four to six weeks, if you feel comfortable with walking, you can jog a couple days a week, gradually increasing mileage, pace, and the number of days you run. Holcombe notes women who remain active during their pregnancies — jogging and/or walking three to five days a week — generally have a faster recovery.
Listen to your body
If something feels really uncomfortable, don’t force it. Back off for a couple of days and try to ease back in again. If something’s really hurting, talk to your doctor. Running could be shedding light on an injury.
Listen to your heart
Don’t pay attention to paces. Instead, pay attention to your heart rate zones. In the beginning, aim to keep your heart rate at 60 to 71% percent of your max, or a pace where you can comfortably hold a conversation. (To calculate your heart rate zones, check out this calculator.) Once you’re gaining in fitness, you can begin having a couple up-tempo runs a week where your heart rate reaches 78 to 81% of your max.