Things I Didn’t Know About Running Postpartum (Plus Tips!)

Fair warning: This post is for my women readers! Sorry gentlemen, you can read if you want, but there’s nothing here for you.

Disclaimer: If you are considering running postpartum, no matter how soon after giving birth, always check in with your doctor before starting any exercise program. I have some tips below that worked for me based on my experiences, skills, and knowledge. I also read a TON and I am a personal trainer, certified RRCA Run Coach, and a high school coach. I am NOT a doctor or nurse.


Right before I became pregnant with Layton, I was running about 20-30 miles weekly, 5-6 days a week. I was right at the end of coaching the 2018 Cross Country season and was in pretty decent shape. During pregnancy, I had a really hard time running. Mostly, I was just tired and didn’t have the energy, but I also didn’t like the feel of my belly from the impact of running and didn’t want to invest in a belly support strap, so I took to the elliptical and walked a lot.

Hiking super pregnant

When Layton was born I was super eager to get out there and run again! I missed it. I missed being active. I missed the joy and relaxation of a long run. I missed putting on music and running along the creek by myself. I missed trail runs and the sounds of the trees and the birds. I missed the feeling of my heart pumping and my legs working hard.

I went for my first run just under four weeks postpartum. Yeah, it was a little ambitious, but I was feeling relatively good (and had doctor’s permission). I started my run shortly after my doses of ibuprofen and Advil were on board and right after feeding my little one.

Holy moly; that mile was hard.

Yes, one mile.

But it was oh so wonderful…and not pretty at all.

Let me paint you a picture… My running clothes didn’t fit anymore so I wore Ben’s shorts, my shoes had holes in them because they were old but stretchy enough to fit my wider feet, and I couldn’t figure out how to move my new, stiff body. I probably looked like Pheobe from friends (if you know, you know).

I started running a couple days a week, slowly building up the miles. I felt like I had a whole different body that belonged to someone else, a body I didn’t know how to work. My joints we stiff, my core was weak, and my feet hurt! Not to mention my endurance was gone. There were so many things going on with my body that it surprised me!

No one talks about pregnancy, birth, after birth or all the gross, uncomfortable things that go with it. It’s such a faux pa to talk about it all with those that haven’t gone through it (and even those that have) and when it comes to something less common like RUNNING postpartum, there’s even less info out there and people to learn from.

So here’s to hoping this post finds someone that needs to hear it.


Here are 7 things I didn’t know about running postpartum:

1. I didn’t know my breasts would hurt when I ran. Or that they may leak too. 

Okay, in all fairness, this may only apply to me and a low number of women. I was “gifted” with small breasts. When I got pregnant, they grew…. and then they grew again when I started breastfeeding. I had no idea how painful running with larger breasts was – seriously, don’t you laugh! Cue the double bra or the super tight one that you can barely get on. Then you feel like you can’t breathe, nevermind trying to get out of the thing when you’re done! UGH! It was a serious conundrum for me to figure out. Some women have already solved this problem before children, but if you’re like me….

Tip 1: Invest in a good sports bra (or two). Seriously, go get a better bra. It’s worth it. Due to my small size pre-pregnancy, I had a ton of cheap Walmart brand sports bras that worked just fine for me at the time. Postpartum, they were not strong enough. The one sports bra I did own that minimized the impact was a challenge to get on and off, it was so tight, and I couldn’t breathe!

I recommend trying Handful Bras. They are chafe-free, quick-drying and they look good too! I have The Closer which is great for high impact activities. Because you need more support for running, and sometimes with that comes a tighter fitting bra, The Closer zips up the front, making it easy to shove the new milk sacks into a bra. It’s also relatively easy to breastfeed with!

Tip 2: Go for your run right after you feed or pump! Get those suckers as small as possible so that you can minimize the pain and chance of leaking.


2. I didn’t know my joints would change. Pregnancy comes with a whole bunch of new hormones and bodily changes. One of those new hormones is relaxin, which allows your hips to become a little bit looser in order to birth that watermelon. It also affects ALL of your joints. Unfortunately, you don’t go back to normal as soon as your bundle of joy pops out, so you’re left with a bunch of weak, loosey-goosey joints and your muscles are taking more impact than normal. And it doesn’t feel great.

Tip: Stretch! All of your joints are still getting back into place, your muscles are going to need a bit more recovery than normal. Whether you were an avid stretcher before baby or not, now’s a good time to make stretching post-run a good part of your routine. This will help your muscles recover while your joints are still “healing” and getting back to normal.

Stretching under the watchful eye of Layton


3. I didn’t know my feet would change. Before pregnancy, I had very narrow feet and wore narrow shoes. Once baby Layton was here, my previous shoes no longer worked for my feet! My feet are now wider and splay out a lot more.

Tip: Go get fit for shoes at a running store. Go through the whole process, even if you’ve done so in the past. Have them watch you run and use all their fancy gadgets and do-dads. Let them give you recommendations on the type of shoe you need and try not to assume or revert to your old shoe. Then, try them on and go for a run! Most stores let you at least run around the store and some let you run outside. A lot of stores have generous return policies if the shoes just aren’t working for you. Take advantage of those things to get in a good pair of shoes for your “new feet.”

My new shoes


4. I didn’t know my gait would change. When I first returned to running postpartum, I could not run with good form to save my life! I tried, oh boy did I try, but I literally felt like my muscles were not listening to my brain. This is due to all of the above… your stretched out joints, your new feet, your weak core…it’s all making your running form go to shit.

Tip: Start training your core as soon as you can (i.e. as soon as your doctor says it’s okay. This is one thing you should make sure you’re not starting too early). Depending on the type of birth you had and whether or not you have diastasis recti, pending doctor’s orders, start training your core again. I waited five months before doing any real ab exercises and yoga postpartum, per doc’s orders. I noticed a huge change in my gait once yoga was a regular practice in my routine. Your core is your powerhouse and all movement originates from your center. Once your core gets stronger again, your form will return back to normal.

Yoga with a baby is a new challenge


5. I didn’t know that it’s super challenging to run with a stroller. I love running with Layton in the jogger! I couldn’t wait until the pediatrician said it was okay to take him on runs with me! But I do remember my first run with the jogger; It was way harder than I thought it would be – especially up the hills! And RACING with the jogger is a whole different ball game as you add in more people to avoid!

Tip 1: Switch sides/hands often.  Since you have to hold on to the stroller, your form tends to be altered when one arm isn’t swinging. Your foot strike also tends to be a bit different. When the sidewalk is wide enough, I actually run off to the side a little bit, switching hands and sides every once in a while. Running off to the side allows for a more natural footstrike and switching hands makes sure you’re not developing an imbalance on one side of your body.

Tip 2: A jogging stroller doesn’t have to be expensive! I got the BabyTrend Expedition jogging stroller and it came with my car seat for only $130 (and by “I got,” I mean, my Mom gifted it to us…THANKS MOM!)

And for the love of your baby, use your safety strap! My friend told me a horror story of him chasing his stroller down the hill! (Shudder) I’m terrified this is going to happen to me!

He loves it!


6. I didn’t know it would feel like I have never run a day in my life! It really did. My first run postpartum was only a mile but it felt like 100 miles and my lungs felt like they were on fire!

Tip: Ease into it slowly! If you were running 50-mile weeks before baby, you should probably start off with a wee bit less. Remember that first training advice you ever got? Yeah…start slowly! The 10% rule is real (only increase your weekly mileage and/or your long run by 10% each time).


7. I didn’t know HOW hard it would be – mentally. I did really well with getting out for runs the first few months postpartum. I ran a few races too, but as I got back to work more and more, and Layton got older (i.e. didn’t just sleep all day), I’ve found less and less time to get out for runs – even with him in the stroller. Part of that is the winter weather but I also work full time and do not have child care during the week. When I do get out for runs, I’m pretty much starting at ground zero every time since it’s so long in between. It’s HARD to stay motivated and keep up a fitness regimen when your only free moment is after baby goes to bed and you just want to watch Netflix.

Tip: Don’t be hard on yourself! Believe me, I get it, it’s hard not too! I am on the struggle bus myself to get a weekly running plan going. If a running buddy motivates you to meet up for a jog, do it, here’s my kick in the butt to reach out to your BRF (best running friend). If a race motivates you, sign up for that half marathon! If the scale kicks your butt; use that!

But above all, go easy on yourself; after all, your body MADE a baby; you GREW a human being! And you did squeeze something the size of a watermelon out of your body. So there’s that.

Peace! Just kidding! Celebrating running TWO miles a month or so postpartum.


Extra – Things that didn’t happen to me, but I have heard happen to other women postpartum:

1. You may pee when you run. I didn’t, but you might.

I only add this one because all my friends joked about it with me. This is all due to your pelvic floor and the muscles being stretched out.

Tip: You know the drill: pelvic tilts, squats and yes, Kegels.

2. Mom guilt is a thing. Some women get it, some women don’t. For some, it’s really hard to take time for themselves, feeling guilty leaving the little one at home (even though they are with someone else). I get it! You want to be there all the time and be the source of comfort if something goes wrong and you feel like you do it best.

Tip: Remember YOU are a person too! I know everyone now only asks about your baby and comes over to see the little one, but YOU are still a human being and you deserve a few moments to yourself. KNOW that you are not less of a mother for getting out for a run!

And don’t feel guilty about not feeling guilty.

Happy trails to all your running moms out there! I hope your journey is fun and not too challenging.


I want to hear from you! What was your biggest challenge of returning to running postpartum?  Comment below!

Remote Runner – The San Jose 408K, Race to the Row – Post Race Recap

Disclaimer: I received a Remote Runner Entry into the San Jose 408k Race to the Row to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!


The Race:

The 408k is actually in San Jose, CA but I got a to be a part of this fun event all the way in Golden, CO. Through being a BibRavePro, I got the opportunity to race virtually.

Held on Superbowl Sunday, this was the 9th year of the race in San Jose! Put on by the company Run Local Events, this kicks off their racing season of five races, all part of three different challenges runners can do for more bling.

The 408K, Race to the Row, is a point to point race that features the famous “Mariachi Mile” and “Memorial Mile,” and takes you through some of San Jose’s most charming neighborhoods, including The Alameda business district and the historic Rose Garden, before an exciting finish at Santana Row.

It looks like fun! I’m a little jealous I couldn’t be there for the local event (but not going to lie, running remotely allowed me to sleep in).

As a remote runner, I obviously can’t speak to the local event as a participant, but I can speak to a few things. The swag is super cool, I’ll get it in the mail this week, and I love the race’s communication! I got all the same emails that I would have gotten as if I was running the event locally. I got all the details of what to expect and I think that’s a key part to races. I also saw photos online, noticed that racers get them for free, and it looked like a great time this year!


My Race:

Since I was running remotely, I woke up when the kiddo woke up, fed him, had myself a decent breakfast, and slowly got dressed. I think I ended up leaving for my run around 11am. It was lovely to not have to get up at a certain time to make it to a starting line, or worry about parking or wait in a port-o-john line…

Rollin’ out of my house at 11am….

The course I chose was the Clear Creek Trail in Golden. I have access to this trail within half a mile (or less) from my house and it goes on for miles! It’s relatively flat (though nothing in FLAT in Golden) with only two hills. I decided this would be a great racecourse for my virtual 408K. (that’s 4 – 0 – 8k. It’s an 8 km race).

It was a beautiful winter day! I’m not being sarcastic – I was blessed with bluebird skies and 70-degree weather, in Colorado, in February! It was LOVELY to run in shorts and a t-shirt! The next day, it snowed over a foot. No joke.

1 KM down!

Now, I haven’t been running all that much; pretty much one or two days a week when the weather is nice and I have a chance. So for me to just bust out five miles was not going to be pretty. I decided I was going to break my race into pieces and walk every kilometer (I even switched my Zombies Run app to kilometers). I ended up following my plan perfectly and felt pretty good!  I completed my 8k in 59:37! Not too shabby for walking every kilometer! I didn’t feel completely drained at the end and minus a little bit of hip stiffness and pain (due to postpartum bodily changes), I felt pretty good.

Finished!

I even got some surprise supporters at 7km! I said hi to my cheer section, finished my race and then walked back to join Ben and Layton for the rest of their walk. We then went grocery shopping, I got a “post-race beer” and we chilled out to watch the super bowl.


I cannot wait to get my swag in the mail and hope I can get to the live event sometime in the future; It looks like a fun race!


Check out the event!

2019 and Into 2020

It’s not too late for a previous year recap, right?

2019 was not easy by any means. Many aspects of it made downright not fun, stressful and overall a weird year. But one thing made 2019 the best year I’ve ever had. That one this is obviously Layton.

In July, Ben and I welcomed this amazing little man into our lives. I know you’ve heard it before, but you truly don’t know how much you can love until you have a child. Sometimes I call myself the “Reluctant Mother” because for the longest time I wasn’t sure if I wanted kids or not. Even when Ben and I first got together, and a few years into our relationship, I wasn’t sure. When I used to think about having a baby, the idea freaked me out, to say the least. I was scared of pregnancy and labor as a whole and frankly, I thought I would be too selfish to be a good mom.

Well, life has a way of making decisions for you and I can tell you none of my worries even come into play. Selfish isn’t even a word in our house anymore and I am soaking up all the snuggles, midnight rockings and loud noises I can get.

Well, maybe not the loud noises.

Here’s a photo recap from 2019.

January, Little tiny baby bump

Jan & Feb, Working some pretty cold races

Feb 14th, Announcing our little Valentine

Feb, Trip to Florida for Ben’s Cousin’s Wedding and Disney World

April, Ben and I, a part of our friends’ wedding

April, Hiking super pregnant

May, Track season summed up. Me, food, cold.

June, Our baby shower

June, Our Nephew was born!

My due date, July 4th

July, Our Little Family

Aug, Coaching. The little one got to come to work with me a lot

Aug, The Thinker

Aug, Cousins!

Oct, Working with Baby

Oct, Babys First Road Trip! Drive out with an overnight trip to Grand Junction for our Cross Country Regionals meet. We also went to the Colorado National Monument

Nov, baby’s first flight and National Park! We flew out to Vegas to meet Ben after he took a rock guiding certification and all drove back together. On the way, we stopped in Zion for some sight seeing and hiking!

Nov, Shoes and Brews, Solemates 5k

Nov, Mac n Cheese 5k

Dec, Christmastime

Here’s to 2020! Even though it’s already February.

New Product Alert! Testing Out Turtle Glove’s latest design!

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Turtle Gloves Lightweight Turtle-Flip Convertible Running Mittens to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!


Let me start off by saying this: 

I was totally going to put Turtle Gloves on my Christmas list this year! I REALLY wanted a pair after seeing other Bib Rave Pros test them out. Then, I got the chance to test the latest model (and then I had to think of other things to add to my wish list which I always struggle with).

When I got the gloves in the mail, they were everything I had hoped for.

The Lowdown:
Turtle Gloves are convertible mittens. You can use them as mittens, flip them open to expose your fingertips OR slide them down to use as arm warmers. I really wanted them not only for running but for use at work. During the winter months of race directing, all us staff members know our hands are going to be cold. We use tablets and our phones a lot during the race and as everyone knows, touch gloves don’t quite work, so I’m constantly taking my gloves on and off on race day and getting really cold hands. I wanted a pair of Turtle Gloves so that I could work on the pads, with the gloves flipped open, while still keeping my hands warm.

The Specs:

CURIOUSLY ENGINEERED – TURTLe-FLIP® Patented Functionality.
Wear on left or right hand – Low-bulk flip-over design – No buttons, magnets or hook & loop – No cumbersome mitten piece to get in the way – Thumb piece naturally folds into place in Fingerless Gloves mode – Simply curl fingers and flip elastic trim piece over all fingers and thumb together – Fold over or under to adjust length of finger exposure – From fingerless mode; tuck in thumb and slide to wrist, pull up full length for arm warmer or fold twice neatly into cuff or roll as desired – From Fingerless Gloves mode, use similar flipping method to turn back into mittens

This product is the lightweight version of their main glove design. They suggest they would be good for spring and fall. I tested them during a Colorado Winter and they were still warm enough. If I need extra warmth in the future, I could probably put a pair of lightweight gloves under them and be great – but that would only be for the extreme cold!

The Pros:
For my job, the gloves worked just as I imagined! I was able to work a freezing cold winter race, use my phone and the tablets, write stuff down AND my hands stayed warm!

For running, they were perfect. In mitten form, my hands stayed warm and toasty and then when I got warm, I flipped them open to allow for a little bit of cold air with windbreaker protection! I really like this over other gloves that I would take off while running and then have to hold them, worrying that I would lose them.

The Cons:
I have never tested any of their other products out, but with this specific model, since they were still trying it out, I noticed the sizing was a little weird. I got a size small, which fit my hands themselves but the wrists are super loose. I felt like they were going to fly off if I didn’t keep my hands in a fist while running. When I wasn’t running, I would tuck in the wrist part to my jacket and the sizing issue was not a problem.

The only other con I have is the color. Right now they only come in grey, which is just blah. When they start putting them into more of a rotation, I bet they will do other colors!

The Verdict:
Get a pair! Seriously. For running, it makes your gear/clothing choices minimal since this one product has multiple functions. You can keep your hands warms in the winter and easily convert them when you get hot. Plus, there are so many other uses for these gloves, like working outside as I do!


Other Bib Rave Pros:

Jeremy | My Feet In MotionKen | Juan | Kelly | Daddy Did You Win | Crazy Hampster | Brandy | RunNerd Girl |


Find them online; click here.