Mumma! Let’s get you running!
We hope you have read Part One of this series and have a good understanding of the changes that have happened to your body during pregnancy and why it’s so important to wait until you are at least 3 months to return to running.
Our Empowered Motherhood Return to Running Program is designed to help you to return to running safely and without leaking, pain or discomfort. We LOVE running and are all for it! But! We have also seen (and experienced) the complications that can arise when you return to running before your body is ready.
In this post, we’ll walk you through the EMP Return to Running Checklist workout that is included in our Return to Running Program and help you to decide whether your body is RUN READY.
Taking into account all of the above physiological changes (not to mention the mental and emotional changes, lack of sleep and nutritional factors) the majority of women won’t be ’RUN READY’ until 6 months and some might not be ready until 12 months postnatal. However, as a general rule, we recommend that all women wait until 3 months postpartum for the reasons above (and below!).
Before we go further we want to make sure that:
If you answered YES to all of these questions - then let’s get running!
When you run, a well-functioning pelvic floor will activate and contract just before your foot hits the ground. It is an anticipatory reflex that, prior to pregnancy, you probably never thought about!
We know that in the postnatal period, generally, that pelvic floor reflex doesn’t work as well. Your pelvic floor might be a little sluggish or non-existent. Either way, the timing is off.
Step 1 of your return to running plan is to get your pelvic floor run ready.
If your pelvic floor doesn’t contract the way it should - every time your foot hits the ground, you will have a force of 1.6 to 2.5 times your body weight going through a pelvic floor which is unable to handle it.
Before you run you should be able to activate your pelvic floor in standing as well as being able to do:
If this doesn’t mean much to you, don’t worry we walk you through the whole process in our return to running program.
The second stage of our EMP screening checklist involves Women’s Health Physio guiding you through a series of exercises you need to be able to do before returning to running. These exercises are designed to test:
Phewf! No wonder if feels more like a workout than a screening.
Some of the exercises you should be able to do before returning to running include:
Plus a range of other exercises to determine your readiness to run. If you can’t get through this part of the assessment, it doesn’t mean you can’t run, but that you need to take a little more time to build strength and control in certain areas.
For this reason, we have included several running, core, and pilates workouts in your return to running program to support your safe return to running.
When you start doing our screening checklist and return to running workouts, you may have to think about engaging and lifting through your pelvic floor. But over time, the goal is to train this involuntary reflex so that you don’t have to think about it.
In this part of the screening checklist, we work through a series of high and low-impact movements to train the pelvic floor reflex. These moves build in intensity so that you can determine your current level and what you need to focus on.
Congratulations! You are ready to run! Check out our Return to Running Program for an 8 week guided return to running program including run-ready workouts, running plans, education, and support OR read the next post in this series for our running tips!
Download three free videos for either pregnancy or postpartum. Led by Women's Health Physio Lyz Evans + PT Kimmy Smith.