I am truly surprised at how out of shape I am after having my baby. While it seems obvious that I would lose some fitness while being pregnant, I was not ready for just how much I would lose. Having your abdominals stretched out for nine months is clearly going to do a number on them but it was still a shock when it's hard to get up off the floor.
Immediately after giving birth I knew I couldn't do too much but I wanted to get out and start walking as much as possible. The first couple weeks I mostly just rested, tried to recover and took a few short walks. I will admit I started to feel a little bad that I wasn't up and about as much as I thought I should be or as much as other new moms I have seen on social media. I had to remind myself that I had a little more to recover from than some and thankfully less than it could have been! Comparison really is the thief of joy.
After about three weeks I felt up to doing a little more than walking. My doctor said before coming in for my 6 week appointment I could do exercise that I felt up to doing with the exception of swimming and anything too high impact. I didn't feel up to cycling (no thanks to sitting on a saddle) so I added in some short amounts of time on the elliptical and some jogging mixed in with my walking. I didn't have a plan at all and just did what felt good each day. Getting a little more active really helped work some of the soreness out of my body after delivery and SO MUCH SITTING while nursing my newborn.
As we approached six weeks postpartum I began to think about what I wanted to do to get back in shape. After having Cannon my main goal was to work on my strength. My body feels like a stretched out rubber band so it is really important to me to focus on building muscle and agility. Also I knew I wanted to return to running, I figured I didn't have time to get back to swim-bike-run and focus on strength while getting used to life as a mom (well I guess I could but I wasn’t going to prioritize it). So I decided to focus on running since it is my happy place and just fit swimming and biking in for fun/cross-training when I could.
Ideally I would have loved to work with an endurance coach, personal trainer and nutritionist to make a plan to get back in shape. Unfortunately babies and daycare are expensive so I decided to make my own plan. I felt capable of making my own plan as I have taken some time to educate myself.
While I was pregnant I decided to go through the Ironman Certified Coach program. I couldn't train for an Ironman and had a lot more time on my hands so I figured I could use the time to learn more about the sport I love. I also have been coaching a few athletes and that has been a great way to stay invested in sport while sidelined.
After doing some research I found these resources helpful in building my plan:
Hab-it – I found this through reading Nicole’s blog where she talks about getting back into working out after having her ADORABLE daughter. Getting my pelvic floor strong again was really important to me after giving birth. This short program was developed to help strengthen the pelvic floor by a physical therapist.
Blue-Wave Fitness via Witsup.com - For stability and and mobility training
Jamie Eason's Post Pregnancy Fitness Trainer - For all over strength training. This is also just good resource all around.
Physical Therapy - I saw a physical therapist about 5 weeks after giving birth. I thought this was really important so I could be evaluated on where my imbalances and weakness are. I left with specific exercises to work on my core and hip strength that I am to do twice a day.
I used the resources to come up with my own plan for strength training that I plan to complete three times a week. The PT exercises I do twice a day as directed.
For running I plan to run 3-4 times a week with easy runs, hill training and progressively longer distance runs. I will incorporate speed work when I feel stronger, right now running still feels a bit like a baby giraffe trying to stand up.
And for now swimming, biking and yoga will be included as time allows (meaning usually not). And lots of walking with my family.
So that is that the basics of my "plan" to get back to endurance training. I will check back to report on how it is going. Long term I am not sure yet what races I will be looking at for 2017, I want to take my time and see what I am feeling up to. I am hoping for a 50k sometime in late winter or spring depending on what I can get into.
Anyone else come back from an extended time off? Any tips?