Simplifying your return to running exercises
When it comes to returning to running it can feel a little daunting to know what exercises to do that will help to support your postnatal running journey, boost your strength and help to keep you free from injury or pelvic floor dysfunction.
In this blog post, I’ll try to simplify them into a few different categories for you. It’s important to support your running with strength based exercises, no matter what level runner you are. Running is a very technical sport and requires a great deal of single leg strength. Running alone isn’t enough to maintain this strength, we need to dedicate a little bit of time each week to some specific strength exercises if we want to keep running well.
Yes, I know! I’m like a broken record. But if you want to run free from pelvic floor dysfunction then these are essential. No women should settle with ANY pelvic floor dysfunction when they run. Not a little leak, or needing to run with a pad, just in case. Or even a little feeling of heaviness that quickly settles post run. It’s certainly not an indication that you need to stop, more often just an indication that you might need to reduce load a little and work on strength, possibly pelvic floor strength and certainly single leg strength. Working on the single leg element of strength will help to reinforce the work that the pelvic floor is exposed to.
Ok, rant over! But yes, the aim is that you can complete your pelvic floor exercises in standing, which closely mimics how your pelvic floor will be working when you run. You should aim to hold each contraction for 10 seconds and fully relaxing in between each one. Repeating this 10 times. This should ideally be done daily, having a simple reminder such as doing them when you brush your teeth is ideal.
will help you to understand how to do these much better.
Challenging our balance is a great and simple way to fine tune the smaller muscles that will be working hard when we run. If balancing on one leg currently feels difficult, then it’s definitely something you should be working on. Remember the sport of running is a series of bounds from one leg to the next, balance doesn’t often feel like it’s being challenged as we have forward momentum to counter act this challenge. It’s not to say that just because you aren’t aware of the challenge of balance that you aren’t working your balance. Your core, pelvic floor and pelvis will be under much less strain during your run if you can balance well on each leg.
Start gently challenging this when you’re wait for the kettle to boil, standing in the queue at Sainsbury’s or waiting at the post office! The easier this gets, the better your core is helping to stabilize your trunk and therefore the less work your pelvic floor is having to do. Win win!
Finally, working your posterior chain in a single leg stance is really important for mimicking running and ensure your posterior chain, which will help to propel you forward on a run is robust and strong for each step you’ll take on your run.
There’s loads of ways you can challenge this, which is often what is so daunting about training. My course, 'The complete Postnatal Runner' provides you with some simple exercises that will ensure good strength through your calves, hamstrings and glutes. Aim for 10-15 repetitions of each one. Ensure good control and nice relaxed breathing throughout
I hope this helps to simplify some of the areas that are easy to work into your training and also highlights the importance of why strength training to support your running is essential.