After over six weeks without exercise, except for walking and carrying my heavy baby, I was finally cleared to do whatever I wanted at my post partum followup appointment. The day after my appointment, I went out for my first run in about seven weeks. And remember, at that time it was much more of a walk than a run anyway (see third trimester recap!).
I was definitely itching to get back out on the pavement, especially because I decided to sign up for (and made the cut off for!) the Boston Marathon in April. I’m excited to have a race on the schedule!
My first run back was definitely not easy. I had been going for walks and increasing mileage and pace since I returned home from the hospital. But let me tell you, recovery from a c-section is not easy either. The first day I got home, I could barely make it up the stairs, and walking across the house was a big effort. My first walk outside was only down the street and back, and included stopping twice for rest breaks! But over time I was able to go further and faster, push the stroller or carry Trevor, and also bring our dog along.
Back to the running though — while I was pushing Trevor in the stroller, I probably only ran a total of 1.5 miles of my 3.75 mile “run”. And it wasn’t all at once. I took several breaks to walk with my longest stretch of continuous running being about 0.5 miles. My pace ranged from about 11-12 minutes/mile. Yes, it was hard and I felt awkward — my gait felt different and I felt sluggish, and pushing the stroller made it a little more difficult. But it felt amazing to sweat again and actually have my heart rate up!
Afterward I felt good and tired. My legs practically felt like I ran a long run — time to slowly build the endurance back up! I was most sore/tired in my glutes and hamstrings. Since then I have been trying to get out for a run every couple days. I have been improving quickly, and am up to a continuous 4.5 miles at about a 10 minute/mile pace.While that’ a far cry from where I was a year ago, I know I will continue to improve every day.
I’m also working on doing some stretching and strengthening exercises during naps whenever possible, and working in cross training with biking and hopefully soon some swimming. I want to make sure that I keep taking things slow and building a good base before really getting into long runs. I hope to avoid any major setbacks! I’d love to be ready for a triathlon or two in 2016 as well!
Have you ever had to work back up in your running/fitness after a long time off? How long did it take you?