Free Postpartum Running Plan

Congratulations on your new baby! Now that your little one is here, you may be wondering: “When can I run after giving birth?” If the time is right, I’m thrilled to help you return to running after having a baby with this postpartum running plan.

Regaining your strength and returning to running after childbirth is a fantastic goal. My postpartum running plan will guide you back to running safely and effectively, taking into consideration the unique needs of your body after giving birth.

Postpartum running is also very individual. Everyone progresses at a different rate. No person OR pregnancy OR postpartum return to running is the same. So, vow to not compare yourself to anyone—including a past version of you. That’s unproductive and could even be hurtful physically (and mentally).

Related: 6 Steps to Return to Running After a Break

Before I go on, I have created a very extensive postpartum running guide. I also have some tips for you on breastfeeding while running, the best nursing sports bras, and a guide to stop leaking while running.

In this article, I’m going to cover the following:

  • My FREE postpartum running plan and a sample week in my postpartum running plan
  • When can you start running postpartum
  • When to start running postpartum after a c-section
  • A step-by-step guide to how to return to running postpartum
  • How to strengthen your pelvic floor and core after giving birth
  • Top postpartum running tips

Related: How to Ditch Mom Guilt

Download the Free Postpartum Running Program

This After Baby Run-to-Walk plan trains you to run for 30 minutes without stopping in 8 weeks. Do this plan when you can walk for 30 minutes without discomfort. If you’ve had a c-section, aim to walk for 60 minutes comfortably before beginning this postpartum running plan.

As a beginner postpartum workout, this exercise plan progresses your run/walk intervals safely, is flexible and comes with my personal support.

Remember to prioritize listening to your body and avoid comparing yourself to others. This plan is a guideline, and you can adjust it to fit your progress.

 

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A side note, I do not include a pregnant running plan because pregnancy and running are so individual. Instead, I coach pregnant runners so that the plan can be totally customized. Find out more about my run coaching services here.

A Sample Postpartum Running Plan Week

  • Monday: Run 8 minutes, walk 2 minutes, 3 times
  • Tuesday: Strength train for 20 minutes and cross-train with something such as cycling, elliptical, or walking for 30-60 minutes
  • Wednesday: Run 8 minutes, walk 2 minutes, 3 times
  • Thursday: Strength train for 20 minutes and cross train for 30-60 minutes
  • Friday: Rest, Yoga, or cross-train for 30-60 minutes
  • Saturday: run 10 minutes, walk 1 minute, 2 times
  • Sunday: REST

When Can I Start Running Postpartum?

Here’s a recap of the general wisdom for a safe return to running postpartum.

For Vaginal Delivery

You can start running postpartum when your doctor says it’s okay, you can comfortably walk for 30 minutes, and you are free of pelvic pain. This may be at 6 weeks or 12 weeks, or more or less. A 2019 study recommends 12 weeks.

But the postpartum return is incredibly individual and influenced by a myriad of factors. Start running after having your baby when YOUR body is ready—not when you think you’re supposed to or even when you get the all-clear from your doctor if it doesn’t feel right. 

For C-Sections

postpartum running plan to download for free
Pin this free postpartum running plan for later!

When can I start running postpartum after a c-section?

Women who have had a c-section will likely return to running later than women who have had a vaginal birth. Women who have had a c-section should wait at least 8 weeks after having a baby to resume running. This is because the core is weaker after giving birth.

How Do I Strengthen My Pelvic Floor and Core After Having a Baby?

I highly recommend new moms do the ReCore Fitness program after having a baby before resuming running and during. (I also highly recommend their pre-core program for pregnant runners).

Seeing a pelvic floor specialist to ensure your body is ready and identify any issues is a smart move.

How Do I Return to Running After Having a Baby?

Here are the six general steps to follow when returning to running after baby:

  • Step 1: Assess your pelvic floor health.
  • Step 2: Strengthen your core and pelvic floor.
  • Step 3: Assess your alignment.
  • Step 4: Work on your breath.
  • Step 5: Walk before running.
  • Step 6: Resume running and pace yourself.

Get a detailed list of my postpartum running guide here.

7 Essential Postpartum Running Tips

1. Walk before you run

Walking is the best activity to ready your body for running. As long as you’re cleared by your doc, you can start walking right away.

2. Aim for 30 minutes

When you’re able to walk for at least a half an hour without pain or discomfort, you’re ready to start run/walk intervals. This will likely be between 6 and 12 weeks postpartum.

3. Start with short run/walk intervals on a flat, level surface

Gradually elongate the time you run and shorten the time you walk so that you work up to consistently running for a half-hour. At this point, you can segue to running. This is what my postpartum running plan does.

4. Alternate run and cross-train days

Do not run consecutive days until you are able to run for 30 minutes comfortably. Then you can try a back-to-back run and see how your body responds over the next 48 hours.

5. Strengthen your core and pelvic floor

Getting with a pelvic floor physical therapist is always a good idea. They can give you targeted exercises to work on that will help you sidestep discomfort or injury down the road.

6. Take a “down week” every 4th week

About every month do one week of reduced mileage by about 30 percent to let your body adapt to the new training stimulus.

7. Wait to do speed and long runs

Be able to run comfortably for an hour before resuming speed work, starting with strides. I typically don’t recommend speed work or runs longer than an hour until about six months postpartum. This is due to physical recovery post-childbirth and the reality of sleep deprivation for new moms. Bear in mind, this is very individual, and the progression may be slower or faster.

What is a pelvic floor physical therapist and why should I see one?

What is a pelvic floor physical therapist and why should I see one?

A pelvic floor physical therapist is an expert medically trained in the function of muscles, joints, and nerves associated with the pelvic floor, which holds the contents of your pelvis. The pelvis is crucial for stability in running and undergoes a myriad of changes through pregnancy and childbirth. These changes don’t reverse right after having a baby.

They can take many months to rehabilitate–and often times need corrective exercises. This is a topic I have written about extensively as I finally sought the help of a pelvic floor physical therapist to stop my injury cycle 7 years after having my last baby. (It is never too late to see a pelvic floor physical therapist, by the way!).

You can locate a pelvic floor PT near you here. Many also do virtual visits.

You can also utilize at-home pelvic floor strengthening programs such as Get Mom Strong. (Read all about returning to running after having a baby here).

WANT TO BE A BETTER RUNNER?

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Looking for a free running plan? Email me at [email protected].

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