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Running Family

Running is simple when you’re young and simple, but how do you become a running family? You start running with your new baby.

For new parents, running after having a baby can seem like a daunting task. Let’s face it. For one, having a baby hurts; and it changes your body so that old activities feel like activities in someone else’s body. Not to mention sleep is at a premium after a new baby, so why on earth would you get up 30 minutes early to run? And how do you get back to it when before you were pregnant you were running 5 miles like it was nothing, and now running five minutes leaves you breathless and standing bent over, hands on knees, puffing for air? But is important to be a

Let’s answer the question, why would you want to get up to run when sleep is so valuable? I have one word – space. Running can offer that much needed piece of mind time, self – care time, or peace and quiet time; however you want to look at it. Not to mention the health benefits from exercise will help keep you healthy and return to your regular weight so you are in good shape and live a long and healthy life to care for your little one. And besides being a running family, new parents will need some quiet, personal time alone or alone together as well, too. Why not have that time during exercise?

Now the real trick. How? Some people can run right out of the hospital, like nothing happened. I admit, that was me after baby number 1 when I was 29. But after baby number two at the ripe old age of 38 things were a bit different. Now I broke my water at the gym, let me confess. I wasn’t sedentary during my pregnancy, but I certainly wasn’t running. What I did continue to do, with my husband, was walk. Everyday, weather permitting (and remember we live in New England) we walked. A 5k loop around our home was the norm, and we varied it from time to time. I couldn’t hike because my son was sitting on some nerve that occasionally made my right leg buckle. Then I experienced separation of the bones in the back of my hip during labor, which was VERY painful, which made my return to running that much more eventful.

My husband worked out with me – so he was equally lacking aerobic ability after the new baby was born. He also had pretty severe sympathy symptoms, so we both had some weight to lose. Fortunately, he had the base of walking too, and the luck to NOT have the bum hip. So here’s how it started.

If we wanted to run together, we put the new little one in his jogging stroller (when he was old enough, of course) and we started out walking. Then one of us would run out for 2 minutes and then turn back and run to the stroller and take over while the other one did the same run for 2 minutes out. Then we would walk together for 3 minutes, and repeat. Any time combination will do, depending on your conditioning and comfort level. We did this for the 5k loop by our home, where there was very little traffic. I did this run/walk combo long after I wanted to run more. Even when I thought I could run the entire way, I made myself run/walk the 5k. My first non – stop run was 1 mile, after about 3 months of run/walk. I would walk everyday and run only 2-3 days a week, and only one mile. Then 2 miles. I knew I could run more, I was dying to run more, but I showed restraint and held back. Then I would run the whole 5k, but only 2 or 3 times a week, and with no watch.

After a few months of this, like 2 or 3, I went to the track. I dared a track workout because my daughter was on the city track team and I was at practice for an hour with nothing to do so I thought “what the heck?” I ran a one mile warm up and then 4 x 400 with about 2 minutes rest in between. Just running with no goal time my 400s turned out to be around 1:45, and that was real tough. I wanted to do more, but I did just 4, then a mile cool down. Three miles, and that was all. I did that work out once a week for one month, getting my 400 time as low as 1:31 with 90 seconds rest between. (maybe we will be a track and field running family!)

So now my son is 15 months old. I still only run 3-5 times a week. My longest run so far was 4.75 miles. My track workouts are not more than 4 miles of running total and vary 4 – 6 x400 or 1 x 1 mile, 2 x 800, 2 x 400 or (1x 800, 1 x 400) x3. I know my body is not the same, I am still not sleeping through the night, my time and energy is divided between 2 children, a step child, a business, a husband, and myself. I keep it doable. My real motivating factor is I run just enough that I want to do more. I rarely dread getting out the door; I’m not hurting, pressed for time or over trained. I keep it fun, and I don’t let the time restrictions of the new baby affect my running or the other way around. I keep my expectations and goals realistic and I run injury free and have fun. And I am develpoping my running family.

As an update, my son is now 3 and loves to run and run/walk in the woods with my husband and me. So you too can start a running family! I have proven this technique to be successfull!

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