How To Start Running Postpartum

Woman learning how to start running postpartum

Starting a running routine postpartum can be an effective way to regain fitness, boost energy levels, and promote overall well-being. However, it’s important to approach running with caution and give your body the time it needs to heal after childbirth. By following a gradual and mindful approach, you can safely reintroduce running into your postpartum fitness journey. In this guide, we will explore essential tips to help you start running postpartum, ensuring a healthy transition.

Recovery Period

Recovery after childbirth is a gradual process, and it’s crucial to listen to your body’s signals. Here are some tips to support your postpartum recovery:

Rest and sleep

Your body needs plenty of rest to recover. Take advantage of your baby’s sleep schedule to prioritize your own rest. Nap when your baby naps and ask for help from your family, or friends to ensure you get enough sleep.

Proper nutrition

Eating a balanced diet can support your recovery and provide the necessary nutrients for breastfeeding, if applicable. Stay hydrated by drinking enough water throughout the day.

Emotional support

The postpartum period can be emotionally challenging, so it’s essential to seek emotional support from your partner, family, or friends. If you experience prolonged feelings of sadness, anxiety, or mood swings, don’t hesitate to reach out to your healthcare provider.

Avoid overexertion

It’s crucial to avoid overexerting yourself during the recovery period. Pay attention to your body’s signals and take breaks when needed. Pushing yourself too hard too soon can delay the healing process and increase the risk of complications.

Gradual Return to Running

When you are starting to run, you need to do it gradually so that you do not suffer pain and injuries. Many individuals hesitate to start running if they feel out of shape or lack stamina. The good news is that it is safe and highly beneficial to begin running, even if you’re not in the best physical condition. 

Start with walking and gentle exercises

When you feel ready to start running, it’s important to begin gradually and listen to your body. Here are some steps to follow as you ease back into exercise:


Start by incorporating regular walks into your routine. Walking is a low-impact exercise that helps build stamina and improve cardiovascular fitness. Begin with shorter distances and gradually increase the duration and intensity of your walks.

Low-impact exercises

As you feel more comfortable, you can include other low-impact exercises like swimming, stationary cycling, or prenatal/postnatal yoga. These activities help improve cardiovascular fitness and enhance overall muscle tone.

Incorporate short intervals of jogging or running

Once you’ve established a routine of walking and gentle exercises, you can gradually introduce short intervals of jogging or running. Here’s how to proceed:


Prior to each running session, warm up your body with a few minutes of brisk walking or light stretching. This helps increase blood flow to your muscles and prepares them for the impact of running.

Interval training

Start with short intervals of jogging or running, followed by periods of walking or rest. For example, you can alternate 1-2 minutes of jogging with 3-4 minutes of walking. Gradually increase the jogging intervals while reducing the walking intervals as you feel more comfortable and your body adapts.

Pay attention to your body

It’s important to listen to your body’s signals during each running session. If you experience pain, discomfort, or any signs of overexertion, slow down, or take a break. Pushing yourself too hard too soon can lead to injuries or setbacks in your postpartum recovery.

Build gradually

As your body adjusts to the running intervals, gradually increase the duration and intensity of your running segments while reducing the walking or rest periods. Remember to maintain good form and proper running technique to minimize the risk of injury.

Stay hydrated and wear supportive gear

Ensure you stay hydrated by drinking water before, during, and after your running sessions. Invest in a supportive sports bra and comfortable running shoes that provide adequate cushioning and support.

Consult with your healthcare provider

Before starting any running or exercise regimen postpartum, it’s essential to consult with your healthcare provider. They can provide personalized advice based on your individual circumstances.

Core and Pelvic Floor Strengthening

Rebuilding core strength is crucial for postpartum recovery, as pregnancy and childbirth can weaken the abdominal muscles. Here are some exercises that can help you regain core strength:

Pelvic tilts

Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Gently tilt your pelvis backward, pressing your lower back into the floor, then tilt it forward, arching your back slightly. Repeat this movement, focusing on engaging your deep abdominal muscles.

Transverse abdominal exercises

Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your hands on your lower abdomen and imagine drawing your belly button in towards your spine. Hold this contraction for a few seconds, then release. Repeat several times, gradually increasing the duration of the holds.

Modified planks

Start in a push-up position with your hands on the floor directly beneath your shoulders and your toes on the floor. Lower yourself onto your forearms, keeping your body in a straight line from head to heels. Engage your core and hold this position for a few seconds, then release. Gradually increase the duration of the hold as you get stronger.

Bridge exercises

Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Press your feet into the floor and lift your hips off the ground, creating a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Squeeze your glutes and engage your core as you hold this position for a few seconds, then lower your hips back down. Repeat several times.


Sit or lie down comfortably. Squeeze the muscles around your vagina and anus as if you’re trying to stop the flow of urine or prevent passing gas. Hold the contraction for a few seconds, then release. Repeat several times, gradually increasing the duration of the holds. Avoid holding your breath or tensing your abdominal or thigh muscles while performing Kegels.

Final Thoughts

Running postpartum is an exciting step towards reclaiming your fitness and embracing a healthy, active lifestyle. However, it’s crucial to prioritize your physical recovery and listen to your body throughout the process. By gradually increasing intensity, focusing on core and pelvic floor strength, you can embark on a postpartum running journey seamlessly.

Thinking of buying a treadmill? Here’s my favorite, I always recommend it when asked.

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