Several months ago I posted about the issues I was having getting back into running after having N, and some of the practical tips I was keeping in mind. Now - fingers crossed! - those specific postpartum problems seem to be behind me, and it's just a matter of building back my fitness and routine. I've been consistent with my running a few times a week for a month or so now, and am two weeks into an official training cycle for an upcoming 10k. Yay!
But, it's challenging to feel like I'm starting over. My easy pace is about what it was when I had just finished the Couch 2 5k program when I started running 7 years ago. Even when things are going well, relative to where I currently am, it can seem really hard compared to where I once was. Here are the thoughts that have been helpful to keep in mind to stay motivated.
1. This is cliche, but true - any running is better than no running. Even if going out for a 1.x mile run seems silly after you've run marathon in the past - that's still farther than a 0.0 mile run!
2. Use routine to make it a habit, until it's truly a habit again. I think I might finally be turning the corner back into "running is just something I automatically [usually] want to do". But it's definitely crucial to make it a routine, running on the same days each week and being consistent, in order for it to get there. If you want to want to do something, then do it, and the desire will probably follow.
3. Don't underestimate the power of bribing yourself. I just bought some new workout tank tops - ostensibly for a dance class I signed up for this fall, but I can't say there isn't something to be said for putting on a shiny brand new outfit to get yourself out the door for a run.
|N also reminds me to spend time stretching|
and rolling as I build up my mileage.
4. Try not to compare yourself to others. According to the internet, there are women who bounce back and go for an easy jog two weeks after having a baby, and consistently ramp back up from there, with apparently no significant hurdles. That was definitely not my experience! I'm 11 months out and just barely feel like I'm beginning the process. Everyone's experience is different, and I'll get to where I want to be in my own time.
5. If it's the right thing for you to be doing, to be spending time and energy on, it will be enjoyable even when it's hard. It's true of both parenting and running. A friend asked me during my maternity leave "are you enjoying motherhood?" My response was "do you enjoy running mile 20 of a marathon?" You don't run a marathon because you'll have fun the whole 26.2 miles, and I'm not running for half an hour a few times a week because every second of it is fun. But it's enjoyable and rewarding.