It’s the moment I’ve been waiting for: at long last I can pound the pavements again. After hanging up my trainers at 36 weeks pregnant I then had four weeks ‘off’ after Little B’s birth and went for my first run exactly four weeks later. Without a bump I felt like I was flying.
My running bible throughout pregnancy has been Runner’s World Guide to Running & Pregnancy by Chris Lundgren, one of only a handful of books I’ve been able to find on the subject. She advises waiting until you’ve stopped bleeding and then adding another week before attempting your first post-partum run, and then if you have any fresh blood afterwards wait another week before going out again. I followed this advice with both BB and Little B, and it seems a sensible approach to me.
I was careful to stick to my pregnancy pace – you’re actually more at risk of injury in the months immediately after giving birth than you are during pregnancy – and not to take too big strides owing to my recent date with the needle and thread, but wow. As it did after BB was born, it felt brilliant.
Even though I hadn’t run at all for eight weeks I managed my pregnancy route surprisingly easily, and since then I’ve been gradually building up my pace and extending my distance. Each time I go out I’m shaving a couple of minutes off the run as things get back to how they were before, and running further as a result. At this rate I reckon I’ll be back up to speed by the new year.
The thing to remember when running and breastfeeding is to eat more – not only are you burning up calories by producing milk, you’ll be burning them up during and after running too. My book advises an extra 100 calories for every mile you run, which basically means you can have you cake and eat it.
I do miss running without a baby on board, but at the same time it’s great to leave the baby at home and have an hour to myself too. Just make sure that if, like me, you’re breastfeeding, you have a jolly good feed first. Otherwise you’ll know about it.