I think it’s challenging for most women to navigate running after having a baby. My postpartum running journey has taught me a lot and I wanted to share some of the things that have helped me to resume consistent running after the birth of my baby girl.
Starting slow and building gradually: This is important whenever there has been a significant break in training. For me, running during pregnancy was really hard and very inconsistent. After I gave birth, I was eager to lace up my running shoes and I completed my first run 1 week postpartum (not recommended by the doctor but my body responded well to this). I started running 5+ days per week but limited myself to very short runs at first (beginning with 1.5 mile runs and increasing 1 mile each week per run until I had reached my desired daily mileage).
Being flexible: I think this has been the most valuable thing that I have learned from postpartum running. Breastfeeding, lack of sleep, nap schedules, and all the other changes that come with having a baby have taught me to have flexible expectations for myself. Rather than laying out my weekly training plan with set mileage goals each day (ie. “5 mile run” or “7 mile run”), I now give myself a range for my daily mileage goal (ie. “4-6 mile run” or “7-9 mile run”). This has allowed me to feel successful while also accommodating the joys and challenges of parenthood. I have also needed to apply flexibility to my bigger running goals. After experiencing diminished milk production at 6 months postpartum due to marathon training, I chose to stop training (my milk production returned to normal immediately after I stopped) and my current running does not include speed workouts or the long runs characteristic of marathon training. My current running focuses on fitness/health rather than racing/performance.
Maximizing benefits: Running makes me feel good… not always during my run but afterward, I always find myself feeling more relaxed and happier as well as more patient and present. When I started postpartum running, I ran solo and it was my brief time to decompress and get some space. This worked great for me at first but it wasn’t long before I started running with a stroller so that I could take my baby with me. Now all of our runs are stroller runs. Not only is running with my baby a nice way to share my passion, but I have also found that it can be a very relaxing activity for her (oftentimes her longest and deepest naps occur during runs) and she is usually happier afterward.
Do not include this pose in your practice if you have a neck or knee injury or if you are pregnant. Warm up for this pose by enjoying child’s pose and hero pose. After relaxing into happy baby pose, follow up with downward dog pose.
Begin by laying on your yoga mat with your back supported by the ground
Exhale your knees to your belly
Inhaling, place your hands on the outsides of your feet and widen your knees before raising them up to your armpits
Place both of your ankles above your knees so that your shins become perpendicular to the ground
Flexing through yours heels, push your feet into your hands while you pull your hands toward the ground
This pose is beneficial for runners and non-runners alike.
I haven’t been posting as much recently because I have been focused on spending time with my HAPPY BABY (she is 8 weeks old today)
daily training schedules with goal-specific workouts
personalized running paces
weekly check-ins/ Q&A
weekly training e-newsletter
information about nutrition, gear, foam rolling, recovery, running form, race day strategies, strength training, and mental training strategies
bi-monthly meet-up to go for a run, to practice yoga for runners, or to discuss running strategies
Half marathoners and marathoners of all levels are welcome but, to ensure that you are successful in completing the training and race, we recommend the following prior to beginning this training program:
1. Being able to run or run/walk for at least 7 miles or 70-90 minutes continuously.
2. At least 6 months of consistent training for at least 4 days per week.
3. Being able to maintain a 12min/mile pace.
For Half Marathoners:
1. Being able to run or run/walk for at least 3 miles or 30-50 minutes continuously.
2. At least 3 months of consistent training for at least 4 days per week.
3. Being able to maintain a 12min/mile pace.
These programs have limited space. Register now to reserve your spot!
I just finished reading Deena Kastor’s book, Let Your Mind Run (which I highly recommend… it’s a great book). In her book, Deena spoke about how gratitude transformed her mind and running. Inspired by this reading, I wanted to share a simple gratitude practice to help you improve your mental and physical training this week. This is an excellent practice for runners but, more importantly, it is an excellent practice for people. Focusing on gratitude can improve mood, focus, and energy.
This practice is simple which is partly what makes it so beautiful. Using the list below for each day this week, identify five things that you are grateful for each day. You can form this list throughout your day or solely focus on it at the end of your day. Challenge yourself to identify things that are different from what you noted on your gratitude list the day before. Utilize the follow-up questions to record other important observations about yourself and this activity.
I am grateful for:
Was this activity challenging or easy today?
What did I notice about my thinking today?
Did this activity affect my thinking?
Did this activity affect my behaviors/ performance?
Are there any other observations that I want to note pertaining to my thinking, behaviors, or this activity today?
Celebrate your successes. By bringing your attention to your successes, you can improve confidence. Runners who are more confident take greater risks and, as a result, can experience greater accomplishments.
Practice mindfulness. Practicing mindfulness can promote greater mental control leading to improved focus during running training and racing. Practicing mindfulness can also help you to identify and change unhelpful thinking that is getting in the way of your running performance.
Focus on your goals. Remember what you are working towards. By focusing on the “why” to your training, you can draw upon additional motivation to fuel your workout today.
For more information on how you can improve your mental training to enhance your running, check out Run Your Mind Training Workbook below.
Run Your Mind Training Workbook
This workbook is designed to both introduce you to general concepts in sport psychology and to help you to implement psychology techniques to improve your running performance. Throughout this workbook, you will focus on enhancing your goal development, motivation, mental toughness, confidence, concentration, and energy management. This workbook contains some information about caring for the body including yoga practices to supplement your running training. This workbook also contains several sample training plans and a training journal section in which you will be able to integrate the information that you have learned throughout this workbook into your training.
It seems like the hardest part of starting or restarting running is developing consistency. Once we have, the runs flow much easier but the initial steps of forming the habit can be so tough! Here are some tips to help you successfully develop running consistency.
Choose your when. Commit to a time to run each day. Most people choose to run first thing in the morning or in the evening after work.
Don’t let tiredness be an excuse. Choose to face your run even when you feel tired. Running when you are tired can have both physical and mental training benefits.
Write down your completed runs. Take the time to log your miles. Reflecting on the work you put in and the progress you have made can help you get back out there tomorrow.
Focus on your effort rather than your results. Rather than focusing on your speed and comparing your times to others or to your previous bests, focus on the effort you put into each run.
Reward yourself. Take time to reward yourself for your hard work.
Share your goals and successes. Boost accountability by sharing your goals and successes with others.
Push yourself appropriately. It can be easy to push too hard too fast which can lead to injury or burnout. Examine where you are starting from and understand how much is enough. Don’t be afraid to walk. Taking it slow has great training benefits for runners of all levels.
This pose provides both mental and physical benefits and can be a great resource for runners.
This pose should be avoided during menstruation or if you have serious neck issues, back issues, or eye issues such as glaucoma.
As both an inversion and a restorative pose, Legs Up the Wall Pose offers many benefits including alleviating challenges with:
Restorative poses are supported and, as shown in the image above, support in this pose can include blankets, a strap, an eye pillow, and a sandbag.
Sequencing for this pose
This pose is typically sequenced near the end of a yoga practice, often just before pranayama or corpse pose. Preparation poses include hero pose, standing forward bend pose, reclining bound angle pose, and bridge pose.
Getting into this pose
The first step to getting into this pose is setting up your support. Lay your yoga mat on the floor with the short end next to the wall. Next, place up to 3 folded blankets along the short edge of your mat along the wall as shown in the image above. Optional: place a strap, eye pillow, and sandbag alongside your mat.
If you tend to have tighter hamstrings, consider placing your blanket farther from the wall and using lower support (i.e., <2 blankets). If your hamstrings are more flexible, set yourself up closer to the wall and consider utilizing higher support (i.e., 2-3 blankets).
Your height will also play a role in how far away from the wall you set yourself up. Those who are shorter tend to need to be closer to the wall than those who are taller. Experimenting with how close you are to the wall may take some time and I recommend beginning with your support about 5-6 inches away from the wall.
Move into this pose by starting in a seated position on the right side of your mat with the right side of your body located next to the wall. On your exhale, swing both of your legs from the floor up onto the wall. At the same time move your head and shoulders onto your mat. If you are using blankets in this pose, check that your sitting bones are resting between your blankets and the wall. Notice an arch in your torso. If your torso is flat or your back is rounded, adjust your support by bending your knees and pushing into the wall to lift your pelvis off your support. While your pelvis is lifted, adjust your support so that it is higher and then slowly lower your pelvis back onto your support.
Using your hands, lift the base of your skull away from your neck. Feel your shoulder blades extending away from the spine, soften your throat, and allow your arms to reach out to your sides with palms up.
While engaging your leg muscles, feel them relaxing into the support of the wall. You may place a strap around your thighs to provide additional support and relaxation to the legs. You may also add to your support in this pose by placing a sandbag on your feet. To do this, bend your knees as if you were going to do bound angle pose and place the sandbag on top of your heels before carefully extending your feet back up the wall. This step should be done before placing the strap. Finally, close your eyes and feel free to utilize an eye pillow.
Feel free to remain in this pose for 5-15 minutes. When coming out of this pose, bend your knees and push your feet against the wall in order to lift your pelvis and remove the support from under you. After you lower your pelvis back onto the floor, you may bend your knees and roll to the side before using your arms to push yourself up into a seated position.
New Release! Written by Elevate Running Founder, Julia Raffaini, this book was published yesterday.
My intention for this workbook is to help runners become more successful by improving their mental training. This workbook is designed to both introduce you to general concepts in sport psychology and to help you to implement psychology techniques to improve your running performance. Throughout this workbook, you will focus on enhancing your goal development, motivation, mental toughness, confidence, concentration, and energy management. This workbook contains some information about caring for the body including yoga practices to supplement your running training. This workbook also contains several sample training plans and a training journal section in which you will be able to integrate the information that you have learned throughout this workbook into your training.