How to start your postpartum exercise routine

Folks often are surprised when I tell them I ran my first 5k about the time Suzianne turned five months old. Let’s be clear: before my husband peer-pressured me into running, the only thing I’d ever run for was beer.

What got truly got me motivated was simply a desire (and desperate need) to get out of the house alone. Soon, I was able to run pushing the stroller. Today, my body actually craves a “long” run, which for me is around five miles. I’m not fast, but I’m proud of my consistency and distance.

Last run as a family living in Washington, D.C.

Besides my persistent husband, I have the Internet to thank for getting me off the couch, and eventually, across a finish line. I’m not alone.

Once your doctor clears you for exercise–usually around 4 to 6 weeks postpartum–give these tips a try. NOTE: during the first run, it will feel like your insides are going to fall out of your vagina, but they won’t.

Get a coach–On my own, I do not possess the willpower to keep running once I get tired, bored, or out of breath. But, if I’m being coached by an iPhone app like Bluefin’s Ease into 5k, I will keep going.

A reliable buddy also can serve as your coach. This morning, I saw two women fast-walking while pushing their teeny infants in strollers. When they got to the stairs, one woman stayed behind with the strollers while the other ran up and back. Her buddy was coaching her as she ran. When she was finished, the other woman took her turn.

Declare a goal–my goal in the couple of weeks before I started the Ease into 5k training was simply to walk like a normal person for 30 minutes. When you consider that Suzianne’s head circumference is in the 75th percentile, you understand this was an ambitious goal.

Once I started using the app, completing each day’s routine–without taking my own breaks–was the goal. A few weeks into the training, I signed up for a 5k; not backing out of that become my goal. Today, I’m pushing toward my goal of running a 10k, with the help of the Ease into 10k app.

Go public–once you tell the Internet you are going to do something, there is no going back. You may not have a blog, but I know you have a Facebook page, a Twitter account, or at the very least, an email address. Share your goals with your network; they will encourage you, keep you honest and cheer the heck out of your accomplishments.

Bottom line: if I can do this, you can! Go get’em, lady.

Crystal City Twilighter 5k, July 21, 2012

My first 5k! The Crystal City Twilighter, July 21, 2012