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Postpartum Running: Training Tips for New Moms

The Disneyland Half Marathon weekend is right around the corner and I’m partnering with Cigna to bring you training tips!

I remember the first time I ran after giving birth to my firstborn. It was as if I had never run before and exercise felt foreign to my new body shape. It can be hard to ease back into running when you’re determined to get back into shape. Brittany Onufrak MS CWP (Cigna Health Educator, Consumer Health Engagement), from Cigna, has some great Postpartum Running and training tips for new Moms.

I couldn’t wait to run my first Run Disney race after giving birth and I know there are plenty of awesome new Moms who will be running at Disneyland Half Marathon weekend this year. Here are some of Brittany’s tips to get moving after having your baby!

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Postpartum Running and Training Tips

Give yourself an “atta girl”

Carrying a baby, going through the birthing process, and adjusting your life around your baby is not easy. Give yourself credit by writing down three things you’re grateful for and hang them up where you can see them daily!

Reach out for support

Call on your team of friends, loved ones, etc., to help watch baby so you can schedule in some “me” time. Start small and be realistic, but know that you deserve this.

Reset your mind

Sometimes, moms may not expect the changes a new baby brings. Getting back into your normal routine may seem like a shock, and even disappointing or frustrating. That’s why it’s important to take a step back and reassess your expectations based on your new life.

Tips for successful outcomes

  • Accept where you are and plot out simple, realistic expectations of what you’d like to achieve.
  • Reflect on changing your perspective on how you used to work out, or your previous objectives.
  • It’s about progress, not perfection (there’s no such thing). Jot down a simple list of active things you’d like to plug into your week, your day, etc. Set a minimal time frame, depending on baby’s schedule, of course. This way you won’t feel defeated if the baby wakes up from a nap early and you only get in 10 or 15 minutes of your workout.
  • Define your “why.” Why do you want to be active again? This will help you to clearly define your goals and help you better digest your new circumstances.

For Example:

  • Before baby: “I want to increase my speed for my upcoming 5K race.”
  • After baby: “I want my energy back and to increase my mobility.”

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Every little bit counts

Maybe you were working out several days a week before or during your pregnancy, but now that just isn’t the case. It’s important to reassess your situation and set new, but realistic goals for yourself. For example:

  • With or without baby, walk for 10-15 minutes at a time. Build on this as you see fit, and be realistic about the support and time you have.
  • Count your blessings and your steps. Put on a pedometer and calculate your steps taken while running around taking care of your baby. You’ll be surprised to see how far you walk in a day – and maybe even motivated to walk more. Wear the pedometer for a week to see how many steps you get in on average. Then set a small goal to progressively increase this – 10,000 steps a day equals about five miles.

Integrate activity with baby

Maybe you aren’t able to set aside alone time just yet, or you want to make some of your time with baby an active opportunity. Check out these three exercises from WebMD’s “Mommy & Baby Workout Tips.”

  • Baby glider: Hold your baby close to your chest and do a forward lunge  (take a big step forward and bend your knee). Don’t let your toes go past your knee. Then return to starting position and lunge with the opposite leg. This will help strengthen your legs, back muscles and core. Repeat 8-10 times on each side.
  • Baby bouncer: Step to the side and do a squat (reach back with your behind as if you’re sitting in a chair, keeping your knees over your ankles). Repeat 8-10 times to each side.
  • Rock-a-baby squats and curls: Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart. Hold your baby tight and close to your chest and squat down, allowing your baby’s feet to touch the floor. As you rise, bring the baby closer to your chest. Repeat 15 times. (Note: You should do this exercise only when your baby is at least 10 to 12 weeks old.)

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