I’m excited to share today’s guest post for so many reasons.
First, Natalie Borton is one of my favorite bloggers. I’m not sure what it is about her style and content but I just love it. I think it’s the way she effortlessly blends inspiration with authenticity. I love her style and really appreciate her balanced perspective.
Second, getting back to running after having a baby can be a real challenge. With my first I remember that first run so clearly. I wore 2 sports bras, sweat like crazy and barely made it a mile.
Today Natalie is sharing how she eased back into running after having a baby. I hope you find some encouragement and inspiration in her words…
How I Got Back Into Running After Having a Baby
a guest-post by Natalie Borton
The birth of my son Jack was the most physically challenging and most rewarding experience of my entire life. Holding him in my arms for the first time was truly the greatest moment of my life. Recovering from growing a tiny human and pushing him out of my body—definitely not so great.
After being on what I referred to as “house arrest” for a full 6 weeks after giving birth to ensure proper recovery, I was a little stir crazy to say the least and itching to get back into fitness. Though I can count the number of times I exercised last year on one hand, I am otherwise a very athletic person and had been doing 5-mile hill runs several times a week before I got pregnant. I knew I was capable of being healthy and fit again, but my body was in such a drastically different place than before it sort of felt like it would never happen.
Getting back into exercise postpartum required a slow and steady pace and had to be done with a lot of grace and patience.
Today I’m going to share with you my personal approach to getting back at it after having a baby.
Since I had been sedentary for so long, I began with short strolls around the neighborhood. Eventually my little strolls became long walks with Jack in a carrier and I not only enjoyed meeting up with friends to walk and getting out of the house, but also had the added bonus of hauling the extra weight of my baby to strengthen my legs again. (For those curious, my go-to carrier for the newborn days is the Solly Baby Wrap. Soft, comfortable and pretty!)
Once walking became a regular part of my day, I started doing some of Robin’s YouTube videos for 10-20 minutes a day when my little one was sleeping. It was so easy to fit into my day and really helped me regain the core strength I had lost throughout my pregnancy. Also, I knew from experience that my running was always better when I included Pilates as cross-training and my ultimate goal was to get back into my old running routine. As a treat to myself, I also did a few one-on-one sessions with a private instructor—so worth the time and effort. It made me feel so strong!
Though of course I had excitedly bought a jogging stroller before my baby was even born, I decided to start running again without the extra weight to push around. Let me tell you—this was SUCH a good decision. My husband and I worked out a schedule in advance so that he could be home with Jack while I went out for a little jog a few days a week. I always made sure to nurse my baby right before my run so I would be more comfortable , and I also made sure to get a very supportive sports bra (I use this one). I gave myself permission to not be the athlete I was before Jack—at least not yet. I started small with just 15-20 minute runs and it was the perfect foundation to prepare me for running with a baby in tow.
Ease Into Stroller Runs
By the time Jack was 6 months old, I felt confident and strong and finally added the stroller into my running routine. The first run was far from easy, less so because of the weight and more so because of the awkwardness of running while pushing. My stride felt strange and I wasn’t sure if I should hold the handlebars with both hands or just one, using my free arm to pump the way I would otherwise (I chose the latter).
Finally—Back to Hills!
I finally got the hang of my stroller stride and added in a hill run once a week, building up to the point now when I incorporate a big hill on almost every run. Not only do hills help me get in better shape faster than running flat routes, but I also enjoy the sense of accomplishment I get when I reach the top. For me, it’s my favorite way to exercise! I was so worried at first that pushing the stroller up the hill would be too overwhelming, but I’ve found that my physical endurance after having a baby is so much higher than it was before! I am amazed at how much I further I can push myself now.
Obviously everyone’s journey back to fitness postpartum will look different, but I hope this peek into my path is helpful as you navigate it for yourself.
All in all, know that your body is an AMAZING machine capable of so much more than we realize.
Whatever your favorite way to work out is, have confidence that with baby steps, grace and patience your inner athlete can and will resurface—stronger and better than ever!
Natalie is a blogger and Glitter Guide contributing editor who covers style, motherhood, wellness + life. She lives in San Diego where she is a wife to her best friend, Brian, and mama to a deliciously chunky 10-month-old baby boy named Jack. She’s a coffee lover, jewelry-maker and minimalist and is completely obsessed with the ocean. You can find her blog at thoughtsbynatalie.com.