How Long Should I Wait Before Returning to Running?

Love running? Yes me too!

And I completely understand the desperation to return to running after having your baby.

However, we have seen (and I have experienced) the complication of returning to running too soon when your body is just not ready.

During pregnancy our bodies go through from major changes and here are just some:


Growing another human being, is no mean feet, and fitting it into your torso means big changes to your abdominal wall.

The linea alba is a band of connective tissue running from your breastbone to your pubic bone. This stretches (as it should) when you are growing your child(ren), meaning it is thinned out and this can be the cause of any abdominal separation or diastasis recti.

When running the core I under a large amount of pressure and if it isn’t able to support you it will effect other areas of your body.

Pelvic Floor

Whether you have given birth vaginally or via c-section, the pelvic floor has been put under strain and pressure during your pregnancy.

However if you have given birth vaginally there is a bigger chance of damage, not just from the birth but due to tearing or cuts (episiotomy).

You need your pelvic floor to be able to activate naturally and act as a shock absorber during running and if it isn’t able to do this it isn’t going to be able to support your pelvic organs and there is very likely to be some leaking.


Whilst pregnant, in the early postnatal period and also whilst breastfeeding (relaxin takes around 5 months to leave your body when you finish your breastfeeding journey, yes even if your 2 years in) you will have relaxin in your body. This means your body can be a little bit more mobile/flexible and can put you at risk of injury throughout your body if you push it too fast too soon.

How Long Should I Wait Before Returning To Running?

Look out for some red flags…

Red Flags

If you can relate to one or more of the following, I would suggest seeking advice from a female physio for further advice:

  • Less than 3 months postpartum
  • Heaviness in the vaginal area or other prolapse symptoms
  • Leaking (bladder/bowls)
  • Vaginal tears
  • Diastasis recti or abdominal separation (these are not the same thing).
  • Still bleeding
  • Lower back pain
  • Stitches not healing (c-section and vaginal perineal)

    Am I Ready?

    So! Taking all that information in, not to mention the sleep deprivation, hormones, and mental and emotional changes that happen, the majority of women will not be ready to run until at least 6 months and for some it will be much later, 12 months and beyond. Remember we are all different.

    I would never recommend to one of my clients to return before 3 months postpartum, and would always get them to do a self check, before returning.

    Download checklist here:

    Is Your Pelvic Floor Ready?

    The pelvic floor is put under a lot of strain during a pregnancy and so whether you have given birth vaginally or via c-section the pelvic floor will not quite be the same as it was before pregnancy.

    So the first step is to ensure you have good control of your pelvic floor and can complete a series of exercises.

    • 10 quick hold, releases
    • 10 long hold, releases (10 seconds on, instant release, relax for 10 seconds)

    A pelvic floor movement is a 50/50 movement of engagement and relaxation – both equally important, ITS NOT ALL ABOUT ENGAGEMENT!

    Are You Strong Enough?

    Running is not just a case of picking up a pair of trainers and heading out the door… well I mean you can do that… however if you haven’t done any exercise in some time, it’s a good idea to strengthen your body first, as mentioned above running can put a lot of strain on your body.

    Attending a postnatal class which focuses on core rehabilitation/strengthening, glute and leg strength, and balance can help your body be better prepared.  It’s also a safer way to discover if your body has anything that may need further attention from a female physio.

    And One Last Thing…

    Do not head out in your old trainers.  Our feet can have changes dramatically during pregnancy and you may need a more supportive shoe or even a larger size.

    Check out my full check list for returning to running here, and see how you get on.

    Passed everything on the checklist? Or maybe you need a bit more work?

    Look out for my group return to running course coming later this year!

    Want to go it alone? Download my 0-5Km running plan here:

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