Running After Having A Baby
Running can be great for all humans. We are built to run. Actually, we are built to sprint. The mechanics of our bodies are very well adapted to sprinting, our energy systems respond quickly and impressively to sprint training. Also there are significantly more chronic injuries associated with long distance running than there are with sprinting. Evidence shows us that early humans did not engage in a whole lot of long jogs or steady runs. We evolved the ability to sprint to help us escape predators. Today we use sprinting to help us get lean and strong and it works far better than steady state, long distance runs. It is more friendly to the joints and delivers far more return (fitness and physique improvements).
Running or Sprinting?
Sounds like we're about to recommend sprints doesn't it? Hold on, not so fast (sorry, we couldn't resist). Sprinting is a high-end skill. One we should all be able to do. But our modern lifestyle and lack of sprinting for many people past the age of about 11, means that many people are unable to sprint with good mechanics and may have an increased risk of injury.
Whether running is a good idea or not for you, as an individual, depends on a few things. If you are quite strong and fit and were used to running fast before you were pregnant then yes it is a good idea after you have completed the stability phase of the phased return plan outlined on this site.
If you only ever run for the bus and are not in particularly good shape it may not be the best choice. Alternatives such as the spin bike may be superior for you.
Should I Try High Intensity Interval Training?
HIIT training is far better for you than steady state cardio. Sprint HIIT training is awesome for fitness and physique improvement. Added benefits are that it can be free and sociable, just take a friend to the park and go for it! But HIIT running requires periods of sprinting and periods of recovering, it is only a good idea for people who can sprint well to start with. There are two options for those of you are not confident in your sprinting skills. First is to use an alternative, as suggested above, like a spin bike for your conditioning. This will deliver good results safely. If you really want to run, you enjoy the outdoors or do not have a gym membership you can try option two; hills.
Should I Try Hill Running?
Running up hills can be a great choice of exercise for new mums. It challenges your energy systems and provides a great fitness and physique-improving stimulus. It is self-regulated, meaning you can work as hard as you can. It can be social, just take a friend with you.
The mechanics your body will naturally use when running up hills are much more likely to be "correct" than the mechanics you may use on the flat. The intervals are natural, i.e. run up, walk down, repeat. We recommend you complete some stability training for a few weeks before giving this a go as outlined in our phased return program.