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1. Ease back into it. Having a baby is hard on your body. You need to take the time to rest and recover. Your doctor may clear you for exercise at a postpartum check up, so rest well before then. Once you do start running, go easy on yourself. Start with short easy runs and work your way back into the long runs gradually.
2. Listen to your body. Don't push your body past its current limits or risk injury. Particularly important for c-section mamas, it is possible to reopen the incision which would not be good. Your ligaments and muscles have been stretched for months and your body is still trying to recoup. Be wary of overstretching as your muscles and ligaments are still loose due to relaxin, the hormone that helps your body through labor and delivery.
3. Fuel properly. This is especially important if you are breastfeeding and running. You need to consume enough calories to sustain yourself and your milk supply. It's also important to drink plenty of water.
4. Get good running gear. Odds are, your postpartum boobs are a different size than before. Invest in a good quality sports bra with a proper fit in order to make running as comfortable as possible. Equally important is a good pair of shoes. If you ran throughout pregnancy, you may have stretched out shoes and may benefit from a new pair.
5. Invest in a jogging stroller. A good jogging stroller will make running with the baby an easier task. Your little one could use some fresh air and sunlight (but not too much!) This way you can head out for a run even on days when no one can help watch the baby. Make sure to feed and change the baby right before you go to ensure the best outing.
7. Get some rest. It's extremely hard to get enough sleep when you have a baby. When nights are spent changing diapers, feeding and soothing back to sleep, it can be hard on your body and mental stability. Sometimes you just need to allow yourself to get some rest instead of going for a run. Sleep when the baby sleeps, right?
8. Sign up for a race. There's something about picking a race and plunking down that entry fee that gets the blood going. The excitement of an impending race is a great motivator for getting back into shape. Make sure you have plenty of time before the race date to train. Mark the date on your calendar and get moving!
9. Go easy on yourself. You had a baby, that's an incredible feat! Don't expect to return to your pre-baby race times instantly. Your body produced a human life which is a major strain. Don't be hard on yourself if it takes time to get back to peak performance. Be gentle with yourself so as not to be discouraged. Don't compare yourself to what you used to be, but look forward to how you will improve in the future.
10. Enjoy it. Enjoy your runs. Enjoy your workout routines. But most importantly, enjoy the time you get to spend with your little one. They won't be this little for long.