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Running Postpartum: Five tips to get you started

So, you’re ready to hit the ground running but things don’t *quite* feel the same.

You’re not alone.

  • 1 in 3 people experience involuntary leaking.

  • 50% of people who have had vaginal births have some degree of pelvic organ prolapse.

  • 1 in 5 postpartum people experience postpartum depression - which can impact physical activity and performance.

  • Nearly all people with young children have experienced sleep deprivation for extended periods of time.

    I’m not sharing these stats to scare you. In fact, my hope is that we can normalize the conversations about the impact pregnancy and birth has on the human body. You are not alone! These issues are super common, but they’re also manageable.

    Whether you’re six weeks, six months or six years postpartum, there are considerations to make when returning to running - or any high impact activity - after birth.

    The good news is, it doesn’t have to be complicated. Research has come a long way in the field of postpartum exercise. Gone are the days of “safe vs unsafe” exercises and sitting on the sidelines avoiding movement completely.

    Here are five tips to get you started:

    1. When in doubt, consult with a pelvic floor physiotherapist.

    If something doesn’t feel quite right, you’re experiencing leaking or pressure in the pelvic floor, a PFP can be helpful. They are able to assess the cause of your discomfort and provide a rehabilitation plan to alleviate symptoms.

    2. Learn to connect with your core and pelvic floor through deep breathing.

    This is a key component in managing symptoms and safely re-entering high impact activity postpartum taking care of your core and pelvic floor!

    3. Start with strength.

    Strength training will help you establish those basic movement patterns safely so you can get stronger, increase core strength and stability. Re-gaining strength before running

    4. Embrace being a beginner again.

    There is an expectation that once you’ve cleared the six week mark, you’re good to go running like you did once before. Except it’s not always that easy, is it! For many of us, the process will take some time. So go at your own pace and give yourself compassion.

    5. Prioritize rest.

    Low sleep compounded over days/weeks/months will impact your performance. In addition to that, adding high intensity activity to an already stressed system can lead to burn out. One tip I have for parents who don’t get a full night’s sleep regularly, is to determine how much you’re sleeping in a 24h period (including naps) vs. just overnight.

    It is not recommended to resume high impact activity like running while experiencing symptoms like leaking, pressure or pain. Rehabilitation along with gradual strength progression can help to build a strong foundation, so that when you do go out for that run, you’ll feel confident and capable in your body.

    And last but not least, remember that progress is not linear. There will be moments that feel really hard and other times you feel amazing. Give yourself grace and compassion, my friend.

    Questions? Let’s connect on social media! My DMs on insta are always open. You can find me at @itsreenaparekh

    Reena Parekh

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