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Running with postpartum aches and pains, abdominal reconditioning exercises

Posted Mar 04 2011 8:59pm
Training update...
Saturday: AM: 30minutes on the trainer, PM: 60minutes running with the baby jogger
Sunday: AM: 40minutes running with the baby jogger, PM: 35minutes with M.E.
Monday: 9 miles with 15X1min at 5:17-5:39 pace, 1 minute recoveries
Tuesday: 70minutes recovery (9+miles)
Wednesday: 20min w/u, 5X1 mile with 2 min jog recovery (5:40, 5:42, 5:46, 5:55 (ouch), NT-on roads) 10 min c/d (9)
Thursday: 70 minutes recovery (9+miles)
Friday: 68 minutes w/ Micah & David (9+miles)
Saturday: Planned long run

This week was not great, my hip cramped up on Wednesday and that pretty much shot me for at least a couple of days. I slept in Wednesday morning (Maddy was up all night), then went out to the track in the afternoon (I filed leave time) to watch the time trials and squeeze my 5X1mile workout in the middle. I thought, "hey why don't I run this workout on the track?" Seriously, why am I a freaking idiot? Every time I run on the track my hip and hamstring cramp up for days, yet I still try EVERY year to get on it!! Wednesday's workout was supposed to be more at tempo effort, and ended up starting off at what I WOULD consider current 5k pace, and then I died to what I would consider 10k pace. The last interval was so bad on the roads that I stopped 90 seconds short--a DNF was easier to write then the split from my garmin.

I guess we can say that this workout kicked my ass. I was ready for it the way I WAS SUPPOSE to run it, but I didn't take splits and messed the whole thing up.

This was NOT the only negative thing that happened either. On the cool down, I started to get massive pains in my abdomen...sort of like labor pains but not exactly. They only hurt when I started trying to jog.
Eventually I just sat on the track and felt sorry for myself while watching others run around it. Houston kept telling me to be careful. I mean, it's not like I'm pregnant, what the hell do I need to be careful of?

Wwwwweeeeellllllllllllll....I started reading, and was reminded of a few things I already knew, like how all the ligaments and muscles have been stretched to their limit during pregnancy and take a great amount of time to get themselves worked back into place. I would like to think I am back to normal, but I now realise it is going to take a real effort on my part to get back to normal more quickly.

(below: 39 weeks and 1 day.. 2 weeks before Maddy..)

It's mostly my abs that feels weak, especially when running hard, I have a hell of a time keeping my stomach tight and my body upright. (Curtisy of article on Postpartum reconditioning: )

Muscle groups that become too tight as a result of pregnancyHip flexors
Lower back

Muscle groups that weaken as a result of pregnancyPelvic floor
Upper Back Muscles
External rotators of the shoulder
Front of the neck
Abdominal Wall*

*The abdominal wall is not just weak after pregnancy, it's also too long, a condition called laxity. This is why the abdomen feels mushy and droops directly after childbirth. This extreme lack of tone (remember it is temporary) often shocks many first time moms.

(4 months 1 week after having Maddy. Notice the "Linea negra" it is starting to fade...)

From reading a number of message boards (remember, everything on the internet is true, right?) and this article, I have come to find that two things are highly recommended to help strengthen the core and abdominals, "scooping", and working with a stability ball.

Belly "Scooping"
is combining a heel slide with a sort of pelvic tilt that is done only by working the abs, no squeezing the butt muscles, and combines with a strong co-contraction of the TvA. This combination allows to abdomen to move closer to the spine, and as a result, become concave in shape. (Photo courtesy of

Stability Exercises with an ab ball (stability ball)
Sit-ups (always a good one, do 3 sets starting out till muscle exhaustion, increase to 5)
Sit-ups side to side, nuf said.
Hola-hoop (seriously, sit on the ball and make like you are hola hooping for 3-5 minutes, great stability all-around core activity)
Wall Squat. (quads, calves and glutes.) Hold the ball against the wall with your back, feet flat on the floor (ball should be on your lower back) squat down till your knees are parallel to the floor. Hold for a second, then return.

For additional info on exercises you can do to get ride of the aches and pains, checkout or
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