Training

4 Ways To Strengthen and Heal For Postpartum Runners

Once you recognize you're not invincible, there's room to do the things to help you heal from a postpartum running injury.

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I haven’t run in 10 days.

As it turns out, five months of interrupted sleep, a full-time job and marathon training actually does put a bit of a toll on your body. And for me, it culminated in a majorly pulled groin muscle and a big bite of humble pie.

I don’t believe in coincidences and am a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. So this groin pull is a lovely (insert sarcasm) reminder that I need to follow my own advice and take care of myself physically, mentally and nutritionally.

Related: Don’t Sell Your Workout Short Based On Mom Schedule

Here are four ways I’m working to heal myself and stay healthy and strong, which you can do too.

Limit refined sugars
I’m not made of stone and I’m not even going to pretend like it’s an easy thing to stop eating foods with added sugars. But I am aware that my sweet tooth RAGES when I’m stressed, bumming and/or tired. Also, when I’m breastfeeding. Why does breastfeeding make you want All. The. Sweets.?! Anyway, I’m being more mindful. I’m reaching for fruit first. I’m staying away from anything highly processed. And I’m trying to resist the 10 p.m. binge. It’s not easy, but it’s helping me. Reducing my sugar makes me feel less anxious, less bloated and sleep better. That’s what I know I need. 

Related: This Pre-Workout Smoothie Can Fuel Your Next Run

Epsom salt baths
If I’m not going to run then I’m going to selfishly take that hour I would be on the road to relax in a steamy tub. Lighting some candles, calm music, and hot bath water with added Epsom salts and lavender essential oil totally helps calm my mind and sooth my body. Being a person who is constantly go-go-go, I’ve found baths to be the ultimate way to make me slow down.

Remind myself of the good
Right now the only thing making an unexpected turn in my training feel okay is the fact that I have a lovey, adorable 5-month-old who makes it impossible not to smile when you’re around her. I want to get strong and heal for her. We’ve got lots of stroller runs in our future, and I’m not about to miss out on that.

Strength train the heck out of my pelvis, groin, glutes and hips
Have you heard of the Myrtl Routine? Me either, until my coach made it part of my new weekly training plan. It gets its name from being focused on strengthening the hip girdle area, which is an area of weakness on almost all postpartum mamas. It doesn’t take much time and I’ve been religiously doing that (plus abdominal work and strength training) daily. Gotta get this body strong!

One step forward.  Here we go.

Related: What It’s Really Like To Come Back To Running Postpartum

Kim McDevitt is National Educator for Vega and a Registered Dietitian, specializing in sports nutrition and lifestyle optimization. Work with her at kimmcdevittrd.com or  find daily support through social @foodierunnergrl.