This Runner's Trials

My body after baby “plan”

Baby update: Thankfully, he has not entered the world yet. At my appointment Wednesday, I was just a little more effaced, but dilation and station stayed the same. Hopefully things continue to move slowly. Just 9 more days until I'm full-term. Hang in there, baby!

Everyone's pregnancy experience is so different. But one thing most pregnant women have in common is their desire to get their pre-pregnancy body back soon after the baby is born.


Advice from experienced moms is all over the place. I've been told:

  • The weight will just melt off of you without much effort.
  • You won't reach your pre-pregnancy size until you're done breast-feeding.
  • You'll never, ever get your pre-pregnancy body back.

I'm not sure which group I'll fall in, and I'm honestly not too concerned about it. I've put on close to 30 lbs. so far during pregnancy, yet I still love my body. Don't get me wrong, it would be nice- and economical- to get back into my pre-pregnancy jeans. But my actual weight? Ehh, it's not that important to me.

You guys know which numbers I care about the most. It's not the number on the scale or the size of my clothes. I care much more about PRs and my pace.

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That's what I'm going to focus on once I'm cleared to workout post-childbirth.

But I don't think jumping back into a training plan for a spring race would be the best idea. For one, I want my hip to be completely healed before I start running hard again. Secondly, I'll only be able to exercise in the early mornings before my husband heads to work. Running outside at 6 a.m. in January and February? Ha, not happening. I will run on the treadmill once or twice a week, but I refuse to run outside in the dark and cold. Plus, I don't really want to train only doing treadmill runs. As much as I love the treadmill, I know I'd eventually get bored.

I hope to run my favorite 1/2 marathon, the Clemson Easter Bunny Half Marathon, in the beginning of April (if my hip is OK). I have no plans to PR or even run the whole thing; I just want to enjoy the experience of running in one of my favorite locations.


How am I going to "train" for a race without running much? I'm going to focus on cross-training. My main racing goals for 2012 include setting a Fall 1/2 marathon PR and completing a Fall 1/2 Ironman. Maybe there will be a marathon thrown in there but that's TBD. So my only goal for the Spring is to rebuild my base and get stronger by:

  • Practicing yoga. I got really into yoga last winter and cannot wait to resume my practice. Yoga makes me feel loose, strong, and downright happy. Even if I just do it sporadically at home, I know it will feel amazing.
  • Swimming. I may be the world's slowest swimmer. I was slow before I got pregnant, and now… well, the woman who shared a lane with me yesterday was close to three times my age and kept lapping me. I don't care how bad I am though. There's something so rewarding about watching yourself improve with practice. Swimming is an excellent complement to running, too; no impact!
  • Biking. Luckily, I can do this at home since we have a bike trainer. I used to love spinning, so I'm going to try to take some classes, too.

Of course, I know a lot, OK most, of this depends on how I adjust to motherhood and breast-feeding. Caring for my baby is my first priority so I expect to not exercise as much as I'd like. I've also heard intense exercise may diminish breast-milk supply, so I'll tone down the intensity if this happens.

There you have it, my body after baby plan. I don't know what this "plan" will do for the size of my body, but I do know it will make my body feel good. And that's what matters. :)

Comments (22) Trackbacks (0)
  1. I’m planning to write a similar post for next week :) I love your attitude about returning to training. I’m feeling similarly. I am mostly getting a little down lately, though. I have my 38-week appointment this morning. After my 4-lb weight gain last week . . . I’m nervous I’ve gained like that again. It’s like I stopped running and BAM. Ugh. My worry is that I’ll never get my body back, and like you I’ve received such conflicting advice from experienced moms. Let’s help keep each other motivated and our spirits high! <3

  2. I trained for a marathon while breast feeding my second kiddo. It’s possible that my training wasn’t qualified as intense since I was just trying to finish, but I didn’t see any changes in my milk supply.

    I had a lot of friends who’s weight just melted right off without any effort (I secretly hated them for it). Not me. I have to eat really well, and do my best to stay fit. I’m ok with that though.

  3. Doesn’t it feel great to have a plan in mind. I was so eager to get back to exercising although it really hasn’t happened yet. He’s just now starting to get to the age where I don’t have to lug a bunch of stuff around … poor excuse I know!

  4. I fell firmly in the must work your butt off to even try to get your body back to half of what it was. It did not come easy for me at all. I just trained for and ran a marathon and my bod is still pretty blah. But I press on… :)

  5. Love your positive outlook, Jen! I agree about not focusing too much on the scale (a thought that will be included in my next week’s post baby body post). No matter which ‘category’ you fall into, I think you’ll be surprised at how confident you feel in y our post baby body. At least I was. I think I have such a respect for everything my body just did (you know, the whole growing and birthing a human being thing) that even though I may not be ‘bikini ready’ (whatever that means), I feel like my body is a rockstar :)

  6. Or you could drop the weight and be in *better* shape post-baby! And I didn’t even breastfeed. Seriously, once I got back to running, I lost all the baby weight (23lb) and then some, hitting my all-time lowest and healthiest adult weight. And now three years after he was born, I’m still 15lbs less than my pre-preg weight. You’ve got a great mindset–good luck!

  7. Love your plan to focus on your fitness. And people who say you can’t get your body back – nuh uh. Sure, things will be different…but anyone can make progress with consistent healthy actions and get in just fine shape. :)

  8. Having a baby was a huge change in mindset for me. It made me realize how amazing my body is and that I should appreciate every bit of it. It hope you too can find the beauty in your body – even when you are 2 days postpartum.

    I really love your positive attitude and that you don’t have expectations. Not rushing into anything is equally as important as exercise when living a healthy life. You have the rest of your life to be fit – but the postpartum period can be just as taxing on your body as pregnancy (sleep deprivation is no joke!). I know you will be a fit mama – especially if you listen to your body!

  9. I think the whole breastmilk thing and exercising probably has to do with hydration. Breastmilk in general requires a ton of hydration! I tried to drink 100 oz/day or water when I was preggo, and then just a little less while BF. I did notice a difference in production when I didn’t drink enough (when I was pumping when I went back to work). If you run a race while you are BFing, pump as close to the start of the race as you can, then feed the baby right after if you can to prevent engorgement.

    Also, a good sports bra for nursing moms is the Moving Comfort Fiona. The straps velcro in the front, so easy access. You can also put nursing pads in if you’re worried about leakage (there are no pockets, but just stick them in. I’ve also heard that the lululemon deep v bra is good for nursing, too. I like that bra in general. It’s very comfy.

  10. looks like a good plan to me!

    i hope someday our baby-making schedules align and we can run a race together :)

  11. Great plan! I am kind of quietly looking forward to my no-pressure “race” plans for next year- I’m thinking sprint tris, and nothing longer than a half marathon (assuming everything is straightforward and goes roughly according to plan) I think it’ll be a great was to focus on finding my passion again- and hopefully getting in shape again will be a bonus.

  12. I think its a great plan. Btw its so weird to see pictures of you not pregnant!

  13. Hey, I know you don’t know who I am, but I have really enjoyed reading your blog for the last couple weeks! I am a hard core runner myself (atleast I like to tell myself that is what I am) and my husband and I are trying to get pregnant. I have loved hearing your perspective and advice. I can’t wait to see pictures of your little one soon! Maybe we will see each other at a race sometime!

  14. Your attitude toward post-baby exercise is so wonderful! As a competitive swimmer new to the running world, I completely understand being the slowest person on the road (or pool). Swimming takes time to get your body into the rhythm and I hope running is the same! Good luck with everything and I hope you are back running in no time :)

  15. Hey Baby Buddy! I’m still on target for 12-15 but it seems that your guy is calling some different shots! :) I liked reading this post. I was starting to think about running goals for next year, but I just don’t know what to expect having the newborn and breastfeeding as well. I like the goal of looking out to fall for a pr and looking at spring to be building the base back. I hadn’t thought of that, but I think I will go that direction too. Thanks again for all of your inspiring posts! And a half ironman is a great goal, Jen!! you go girl!

  16. Very nice to hear such a good and healthy attitude !

  17. Great stuff here. Might have to take a few tips for myself!

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