Motherhood and Running

by Elizabeth on March 20, 2013

Two of my favorite things in life, although the second one doesn’t even compare to the first. I’ve had quite a few people ask how I transitioned back into running after having Noah.

Since I was struggling quite a bit during the middle of my pregnancy, I stopped running in July and didn’t start again until six weeks after Noah was born in November of 2011. I remember my first run back with a stroller. My legs felt like they were made of lead. My stomach was jiggling for the first time that I could recall. I could no longer pump my arms since I had a stroller to push. We maybe hit a 12 minute mile and it felt like sprinting. And you know what? None of that mattered. After what felt like an eternity of struggles, adjustments, hardship, joyfulness, and triumphs, I was finally healthy and cleared to run again. Not only that, I had the greatest gift in the world to accompany me. I was determined that my new relationship with running wouldn’t become one of obsession and compulsion, and rather one of gratitude and love that I was able to have this gift back in my life. I will never forget that morning in Terry Hershey park or the amount of joy my heart felt that day. It sounds a little lame, I know, but I truly do love running just to run. Not for time, pace, or accolades, although those things are bonus when they come.

It wouldn’t be truthful if I told you I jumped right back in without feeling very out of shape. It took about two months to feel normal running in this new body and pushing the stroller, but it did happen. I took it slow from the beginning? no workouts, long runs, or speed stuff I just enjoyed my time outside. I appreciated the “me” time and I believe came back a more attentive and happy new mom. I really think ALL moms need some sort of time they call their own, away from being needed constantly. If you get the added endorphin benefit, that’s great!

I continued to balance my running throughout Noah’s first year. I was lucky that he loved the stroller! We would sing songs, talk about things we saw along the way, and just enjoy nature as I’m sure many of you running moms also do! When I entered the Houston marathon in January and ran 3:15, that was the extent of my training. Things like singing Elmo songs, pushing a stroller into the wind, and occasionally picking up the pace to beat the rain were my workouts.

I think the main thing I want to leave you with in this post is something I think is key to motherhood and running. Running will probably always be there for you. Whether you’re 20, 40, or 60, hopefully you will be able still run in some form or fashion. Your babies are babies for such a short time. Enjoy it and soak up every minute you can! You can get back in shape, get fit, and get your body back (well sort of? haha) for the rest of your life! Try not to stress too much. I don’t want to look back and wish I spent more time cuddling, rocking, and loving Noah while instead I was out running. I wasn’t perfect at it, but going forward I can make sure I do the best job I can!

So my that’s my long answer to a simple question :-) Fitness will come back in time. Enjoy your precious time being a mom of a new baby while you can! As fast as you can blink they will be running themselves?

Speaking of running, please don’t forget to enter the giveaway and win your own personal running coach!

Questions:

1. Moms: what was your transition back into running like?

2. Anyone expecting a little one out there have questions about running as a new mom?

 

{ 32 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jade March 20, 2013 at 7:03 am

Such a great sentiment about running being there for you later and I don’t even have kids yet!
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2 Jenn March 20, 2013 at 7:04 am

I’m expecting my first child in July and was supposed to be running Boston next month. I am trying not to feel bad about not being able to run it and instead be blessed with my baby bump : )
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3 Elizabeth March 20, 2013 at 1:26 pm

You can get there again! And I honestly believe motherhood makes you an even stronger runner.

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4 Rachel @ Undercover Diva: A Sitcom March 20, 2013 at 7:19 am

I love this! I’m not a mom and don’t plan on being one for a few more years, but this is such a beautiful post.
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5 HilJo March 20, 2013 at 8:03 am

That is really sweet. I really like your approach :) I had to be sidelined from running for 6 months for a injury before I was able to come back with the pure love of running! And it is SO MUCH BETTER–I would way rather have had those months off than have the same crappy obsession and compulsion to run every day ____ far. I am so excited to have kids and when I do I hope I approach it in the same way that you do!!

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6 Elizabeth March 20, 2013 at 1:27 pm

I am so happy you had that experience too!!! I agree it’s a huge burden off your shoulders!

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7 Carly @ Snack Therapy March 20, 2013 at 8:35 am

I don’t run and I’m not a mom so I have no good advice to add.

But OMG WHY IS NOAH SO CUTE? Oh yeah. Because he has a super hilarious, super gorgeous mom. It all makes sense.
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8 Elizabeth March 20, 2013 at 1:27 pm

Your comments make my day… EVERY DAY!!! Thanks Carly!

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9 kendra @ http://www.kennygump.com/ March 20, 2013 at 8:43 am

i ran through both pregnancies to the end. like day of/day before. and i really feel this helped speed recovery too. with my first i was walking the next week and running by week 2 after. with the stroller of course and loving every slow stride! with my second it was only 5 days after and that was amazing to me. i really felt fine and everything healed so quickly. but by then there were 2 to push which made for an even slower pace. it was all about getting fresh air and some endorphines and burning some post baby calories. not stressful about distance/time. just to do it was an accomplishment. now they are bigger and go to the gym while i treadmill run. i think the key is to stay moving throughout pregnancy if you are able.
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10 Leigh Madewell March 20, 2013 at 9:07 am

Touche my friend! This post is exactly how I feel….about the running, about Riley, and about how it felt getting back into shape. Hopefully you and I can still meet up when we are sixty and go on runs….maybe with our grandkids in the stroller-LOL!! Love you friend and hope you are having a great day! :)

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11 Elizabeth March 20, 2013 at 1:29 pm

I plan on us running together well into our 90s. Fit me into your/your great-grandkids schedules!

Mam are these YOUR cows I just ran over with my stroller??? ;-)

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12 [email protected] March 20, 2013 at 9:10 am
13 Jen Floyd March 20, 2013 at 9:13 am

This is great and so true! I think that running is great for everyone too! I am just getting into racing but have been running for the love of running for more than 10 years. I ran through both of my pregnancies and started up again when they were about 3 weeks old. I took them both in a jogging stroller. Now my girls are 8 and 10. I love the time I got to spend with them in the jogging stroller and now they sometimes go for short runs with me. I think it is great for them to see me being active and it makes them want to be active too! Sometimes in the summer they will bike while I run and they love to do that. I just found a race that we are starting to train for that is a kid marathon…it is 2.62 miles instead of 26.2! I thought it was the cutest idea!

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14 Elizabeth March 20, 2013 at 1:30 pm

That is so cute!!! Perfect for kids!

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15 Laura @ beanstalk March 20, 2013 at 9:22 am

I love this post! We haven’t had a babe yet but I know we’ll start trying to have one in the (somewhat distant) future. I love and appreciate your honesty. Motherhood must bring so many changes both physically & emotionally. Thanks for sharing!

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16 Chelsea March 20, 2013 at 9:29 am

What a beautiful boy, that lad of yours! We’re still baby-free for the time being, but I love the sentiment of slowing down to enjoy the things in life that won’t always be around/the same – Lord knows its something we should all take more time to do!
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17 Cori @ olivetorun March 20, 2013 at 9:40 am

I do not have kids yet but I hope to be one of those running pregnant moms :)
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18 Brooke March 20, 2013 at 10:12 am

I second everything you said! Now if only we can figure out how to make N and S stop getting older and stay babies forever that would be great! Notify me if you make a break through on this task…I will do the same! :-)

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19 Lindsey March 20, 2013 at 10:59 am

Great perspective, Elizabeth! I too enjoyed running with Robby and found that it wasn’t that difficult to get used to pushing the stroller. I just had to find some relatively flat places in Washington because those hills were too much! I was surprised that I was able to jog about a mile 4 weeks after my c-section. Stroller Strides was also a wonderful way to get some me time and also enjoy early motherhood. There is nothing like working out with your kid to show them a healthy example of how to live! I remember my mom used to have us ride our bikes every day while she ran. I am itching to start jogging again after baby is born…but I fear it may be just too hot for me here in the summer. I might melt.

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20 Elizabeth March 20, 2013 at 1:32 pm

You might melt… or you might adjust ;-) I’d be happy to go with you sometimes!

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21 Amy N. March 20, 2013 at 11:24 am

I didn’t even start running until just after my second child was born, so I’ve never run through pregnancy. I totally completely agree that Mom’s need some time to just be themselves for an hour or so. It makes such a difference! Great post.
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22 Michelle March 20, 2013 at 11:29 am

Yes to all of this!

I didn’t start running until my 2nd baby was 11 months old — and while I’m struggling with not running right now (and I went through a mild breakdown about 2 months ago b/c I had to stop) — I know that once I have my baby my body will eventually get back into it. Once a runner, always a runner! It may not be right away and it may not be fast, but if I did it once, I can do it again!! I miss racing and running, but I know that putting added pressure to “do it all” when my baby is still a baby is not healthy.
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23 Lauren March 20, 2013 at 12:56 pm

I could not have read this post at a more perfect time! I have an almost 3 week old son and just started back with a light elliptical workout today, which felt great! I cannot wait to run again! I am doing a half at the beginning of August which I am a bit anxious about finding time to train for, but I will certainly take your advice and not stress over it :-)

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24 Elizabeth March 20, 2013 at 1:33 pm

YAY that makes me so happy! You made my day with your comment! Just have fun with your half! No matter how it goes at the end of the day, you have something so much better than a PR or a medal!

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25 Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries March 20, 2013 at 1:07 pm

Thank you for sharing this with us! I’m excited to get back to running, but more than anything, I can’t wait to be a mom. I will definitely be savoring every moment with him!
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26 Hilary @ PeanutButterSpoonfuls March 20, 2013 at 1:35 pm

This is a great post and I’m so impressed by how quickly you bounced back! I was lucky to be able to elliptical until the day I delivered (ran until 32 weeks) but then I was cursed with a stroller hater. That made running really hard at first since he would just scream and scream after about 5 minutes. Strangely he loves it now at 18 months and that first chunk of time feels like such a distant blip on my radar. SO I agree with your good advice to enjoy them when they are so little, running will come back eventually :)
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27 Becky @ OMG Becky, look at her blog March 20, 2013 at 3:59 pm

What a beautiful sentiment! And so true! (And what motivation, lookin at a face like that starin up at you from a stroller….or the top of his head…? Guess it depends on the stroller….)
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28 Mallory @ ifgravityhappens March 20, 2013 at 4:49 pm

Holy cow i just love you and this post!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It really hit home with me after having to put running on the side lines for a year now and wondering when i finally do become a mom how i will fit it back in. I think it’s so important to cherish your babies when they are babies and running definitely will always be there for you when the time works out right! There is way too much more to life than a good run and that’s something we all have to remember :) Girl, You rock!!!!!
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29 Debbie @ Deb Runs... March 20, 2013 at 5:23 pm

After my first son was born, I tried running with him in the stroller, but that didn’t work because it was a regular stroller. I even tried locking the front wheels so they wouldn’t get all wobbly, but that didn’t work either. If running strollers were available, I wasn’t aware of it; so I ran at night after my husband got home from work. Then in the blink of an eye, they were riding their bikes along side of me so I could run. Then in another blink of an eye, I was attending their cross-country meets. Now they sometimes run with me and my husband!
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30 Debbie @ Deb Runs... March 20, 2013 at 5:26 pm

P.S. I hope Noah loves running and is someday your running buddy. There’s nothing like it! :-)
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31 [email protected] March 20, 2013 at 9:23 pm
32 [email protected] March 20, 2013 at 9:48 pm

Great post!
I was pregnant with twins so my running went from high to zero due to high risk stuff. The first run I did post partum was 4 weeks out of a c-section.
1 whole mile. and I had to stop and walk like 7 times. I remember thinking I would never run again… side ache, jiggle ugh. it was terrible really!
Each run got progressively better. I didn’t go over the mile until I could do it without stopping and I got faster every time.
Now that they are 2 almost 3 {eek!} we are thinking about adding another one or two… and I kind of dread the post partum part… but its all worth it.
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