Postpartum Exercise + Mobility For Runners

Let’s start this post out with some story time, shall we? This conversation happened at 3AM when Cecilia was about a week old and wasn’t sleeping unless we were holding her:

K (walking down the stairs, holding the baby – or so I think. Brendan is awake on the couch, talking out loud): Who are you talking to?

B: Umm…the baby…

K: I have her!

B: No, I have her…

K: WHO DO I HAVE?!?

B: (laughing uncontrollably) You have Snoopy.

You can see how I’d confuse the two.

Yes, I was holding my childhood stuffed dog like a baby and legitimately thought it was my child. Also yes, I still have Snoopy. You’re not judging me right? RIGHT?

I thought I would be a wreck with a newborn. I imagined it being a huge mental struggle for me every single day. Motherhood is not without it’s challenges, of course, but I feel much more stable than I imagined. (Above story aside.) Plus, I’m feeling 100% better than I did while pregnant, both mentally and physically. (YAY.) The hardest part is waking up multiple times a night, praying baby girl will please oh please go back to sleep when I finish feeding her.

sleep gif

Still, once I wake up for the day I’m good. (KNOCK ON WOOD x1000) I swear I’m still running on adrenaline and joy that this little angel is here.

In other news, I’m cleared to exercise! As much as I wanted to sprint out the door for a run the moment my doctor freed me from exercise jail, I didn’t. I’m concerned about keeping my postpartum body healthy – it seems like such a fragile transition from pregnancy and labor. I’ve been vigilant about only doing safe, low impact exercises for now. I’m focused on mobility and physical therapy-type exercises and getting stronger. (It makes me feel so productive!) I’ve been inactive for the past nine months so for me, it’s key to build strength before I start pounding the pavement – especially in areas affected by pregnancy like the pelvic floor and core. I’m also working on glute and hip strength as I’ve learned the hard way how important it is for runners to keep them strong and balanced!

On that note, I’m loving this feeling of a “clean slate” when it comes to my muscles and running. I haven’t run since February so my hypothesis is that any injuries and imbalances have worked themselves out with all the rest. (This is proooobably not backed by science; physical therapists and/or Bill Nye the Science Guy please weigh in.)

bill nye science

Are you singing the Bill Nye the Science Guy song right now?

This is the longest I’ve gone without running and exercise since junior high. Because I feel like I’m starting from the verrrry beginning, mentally it feels easier to “do the right thing” instead of what I know I was once capable of. Meaning: unlike when I’d try to return from an injury and run my old paces (dumb), now I’m so out of shape I don’t have a choice but to take it slowly!

Brooklyn Marathon

Remember that time I ran 2 marathons in 2 weeks?! #NotHumbleBrag #RemindingMyselfAboutWhatImCapableOf #WhyAmIUsingHashtags

Because I’ve been so focused on taking care of my body (and am fascinated with human movement in general), I’ve become obsessed with strength coaches and physical therapist’s Instagrams. They’re even helping me as I’m studying for the NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning certification! (I’m not sure if I want to do anything with it; I mostly just love learning.)

welcome to the nerd zone

Some helpful movements for runners from my favorite account, @JoeTherapy:

IT BAND ISSUES? ROLL THIS INSTEAD! – ☝️Tag A Friend who complains about IT Band Syndrome! – 💃What Is the TFL? – 🕺The full name is Tensor Fascia Latae, and it is a small muscle found on the outside of the hip and attaches to the IT BAND! – Do You Do Any of The Activities Listed Below? – 🏃🏻‍♀️ Run 🚴‍♀️ Cycle 💃🏻 Dance 🚶🏽 Walk 🏀 Play Basketball 🏐 Play Volleyball 🎾 Play Tennis – Do You Have Any of These Symptoms?! 💥 Pain in the outer hip. 💥 Referred pain down the outer thigh. 💥 Pain when lying on the affected hip. 💥 When weight bearing on the affected side, the pain worsens. – If you do, check out the TFL release below👇👇 – Here’s How To Perform The TFL Release! – 1️⃣ Grab a tennis ball or lacrosse ball. 2️⃣ Lay on your back and bend both legs up. 3️⃣ Place the ball on the TFL while still laying on your back. 4️⃣ Once the ball is in the right spot roll on to your side. 5️⃣ Make sure the ball is in the right now and if it isn’t, roll around until it is. 6️⃣ With the ball pressed into the TFL, fully straighten your leg. 7️⃣ When the leg is fully straightened, lift your leg up towards the ceiling – 🎵Maroon 5- What Lovers Do ft. SZA (A-Trak Remix)

A post shared by Joe Yoon, LMT (@joetherapy) on

PERFECT WARM UP STRETCH BEFORE LEGS! – 🎄Want to be able to stretch out the following body parts at the same time?? 1️⃣Hip Flexors 2️⃣Hip Rotators 3️⃣Inner Thighs 4️⃣ANKLES – 🌻Not only a great hip stretch, but it also mobilizes the all-important ankles! – 🌴Here’s how to perform this warm-up stretch! – PART I 1️⃣Place one leg bent in front of you. 2️⃣The back leg is as straight as possible. 3️⃣Place hand on front foot. 4️⃣Rock back and forth pushing the knee past the toes and driving the hip forward and down. – PART II 1️⃣All previous steps but this time rotate the upper body as you shift forward. – PART III 1️⃣Place the hand that is on the ground slightly wider. 2️⃣As you shift forward, use your hand to push the knee away from you while keeping the foot on the ground. – 🍄TAG A FRIEND WHO HAS TIGHT HIPS! – 🌷Kygo – Kids In Love ft.The Night Game (SONAN LAY Remix)

A post shared by Joe Yoon, LMT (@joetherapy) on

Since I’m stuck at home now I’m also constantly on the hunt for online workouts, so here are some I’m enjoying at about 7 weeks post-delivery. They’re designed for postpartum women, but I think they could be great for anyone looking for some gentle strengthening and stretching as well:

20-Minute Postpartum Cardio

20-Minute Pelvic Floor Strengthening (try the free 5-day trial to test the video)

10-Minute Postpartum Core Strengthening (try the free 5-day trial to test the video)

12-Week Postpartum Workout Plan

8-Minute Core Stabilization 

15-Minute Upper Body Stretching

What are your favorite at-home workouts?! Hook me up!

I’m a writer currently living in New Jersey and blogging about running, fitness, wellness, and motivation. I want every reader to laugh and feel empowered, balanced, and motivated! Subscribe by email to get 1-2 newsletters a month with post updates, my favorite articles, running playlists and more!
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2 Comments

  1. November 21, 2017 / 12:55 am

    No kiddos or pregnancies here, but you can do a LOT with body weight strength and mobility training. Thera bands are great too… clamshells, glute bridges, leg lifts, squats, lunges, etc. You can change up the foot positioning of bridges to target glutes (feet closer to butt) or hamstrings (feet further out). I think people really underestimate some of those exercises in terms of how much they help imbalances. You don’t have to experience a pregnancy to have them, a lot of it is from sitting all day or even crossing legs.

    • November 21, 2017 / 1:17 am

      Yes, definitely! They are really undervalued. I did mobility work randomly pre-pregnancy but definitely not as much as I should have. Now it’s a bigger part of my “workouts”, and I no longer rush through them like I used to! (If I was smart I would have focused more on this before, too. Oops.) A lot of what I’m doing now is actually movements my physical therapist gave me years ago for running healthy! Clamshells and glute brides are some of my favorites :)

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