The Casual Runner

Life with a Newborn: Getting Back to Running

Dads, I am speaking directly to you. Certainly not to exclude the awesome new moms out there, but for one thing, you have recovering to do. And second, I am not even going to pretend to understand what it’s like to have a baby AND try to work out. I’m already impressed with childbirth. Anything more than that is icing on the cake.

So, you or your wife/partner/significant other/girlfriend had a baby. Congrats. It might have been a few days ago (in which case, please get off the internet, make wife and baby comfortable, and sleep) or maybe you’ve got several weeks under you belt. In which case, continue on. You’ve earned it.

For more great parenting tips, ideas, suggestions, and looks at gadgets and gizmos to make your life a little easier, check out our friends over at Bottles & Banter!

The new fam. Meet Olivia, the newest Casual Runner.

The new fam. Meet Olivia, the newest Casual Runner.

The Big Adjustment

Captain obvious here, but having a baby changes your whole life and routine. Duh. For me, the seemingly doing nothing while being totally exhausted was quite… exhausting. I made a New Year’s Resolution to walk 10,000 steps every day for a year. I made it to June 19th, the day my daughter was born. And then, well, it tanked. From May 1st through June 18th, I ran at least a 5k every single day and then took a mile or so walk with my very pregnant wife. I say all of this not for any bragging purposes, but to demonstrate that going from ALWAYS moving to having maybe a few thousand steps in a day is quite an adjustment. After about a month I was going stir crazy and I just had to get moving.

There is literally no better motivator for a PR every time you run than the threat of a frantic phone call from your wife saying the baby just won’t stop screaming.

fitbit_oliviabirthday

125k to 47k. Ouch.

1. Manage Expectations

It seems obvious, but the biggest hurdle for me was wanting to get out there and do 3-4 miles. If I didn’t have time to do it, and who does with a colicky baby, it was tough to get the motivation to go out. It seemed like a waste of time. A 1-2 mile run, though, was just enough to get out, get some fresh air, and get some me time. Eventually babies get more and more easy to handle and you’ll have more time. My advice: take the time you can get! Even if it’s 15 minutes to just wet your beak. Take it!

2. Don’t Stress Out

This tip, of course, relies on a great partner. Thankfully the wife is super supportive of my habit and understands when I take off for a run. I trade her run time for bath and/or nap time, so it all evens out, right? Don’t feel like you (or your partner for that matter) needs to be at home with the baby 24/7. I know it feels like you have to be, but taking a bit of free time can really recharge your batteries and let you relax. So don’t worry about it. Take the time and be a better you. With that said, there is literally no better motivator for a PR every time you run than the threat of a frantic phone call from your wife saying the baby just won’t stop screaming. Seriously. I think my pace has dropped by a minute/mile from this threat alone!

3. Keep Rested

Ha. This one is a joke. My neighbors always ask me how the hell I have energy to get out and run in the morning. Most days it really wakes me up so I don’t feel like a zombie at work. And sometimes, I wonder if I am an idiot. And on those days, I just don’t run. Try not to force it. You’ve got enough going on in life, you don’t need to go crazy to squeeze in a run if you aren’t feeling it. Take a walk with the babe instead. If you’re like me and got a BOB way too soon, you’re probably itching to use it even though your kid doesn’t really fit into it yet. Or do the million things in the yard you haven’t done in weeks. A run isn’t a necessity, but keeping active is. You aren’t doing your new family any favors if you’re totally exhausted.

This totally counts. And she totally doesn't swim in this stroller.

This totally counts. And she totally doesn’t swim in this stroller.

4. Like A Boy Scout: Always Be Prepared

I try to keep a semi-regular schedule for my runs, but it doesn’t always work out that way. Hungry baby, cranky baby, baby that’s just too dang cute to leave at the moment, or any other reason could delay you getting on the run. It happens. That’s why after each run, I put my SPIbelt, shoes, Body Glide, fresh shirt and shorts, and socks all in one nice pile by the door for the next workout. That way, you can be ready to roll at the drop of a hat without having to search for everything you need. Ain’t nobody got time to wait for the dryer to finish or to search high and low for matching socks. The baby is sleeping, for Pete’s sake. Time crunch!

5. Have A Re-Entry Plan

And this one is quite possibly the most important tip of all. If you mess this one up, you can kiss your sweet, sweet running time goodbye and lose all privileges for leaving the house. I learned this one the hard way so you don’t have to. Always, ALWAYS, have a way to get into the house without waking up the baby. Squeaky door? WD-40. Locked door? Don’t even think about using a key chain when a single key will do. Barking dog? Sorry, you’re probably out of luck. I don’t know your specifics, but you better do everything in your power to have a silent entry.

May God have mercy on your soul if you wake this sleeping angel.

May God have mercy on your soul if you wake this sleeping angel.

The Takeaway

Always remember, it’ll keep getting easier and easier. At least that’s what I tell myself. Keeping yourself mentally and physically in shape is the best thing you can do for your family. Try not to stress out, be flexible, and have fun. You might not be registering for a marathon right away (or maybe you are and that’s totally awesome), but it’ll come. Just put one foot in front of the other and hit the streets!

What helped you get your running back after baby’s arrival? The Casual Runner Team wants to know! Leave a comment at the bottom of the page or send us a note on any of our social media sites listed in the free plug party below!

For more great parenting tips, ideas, suggestions, and looks at gadgets and gizmos to make your life a little easier, check out our friends over at Bottles & Banter!

Enjoy the freedom of going wherever your feet, imagination, & determination take you!

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Enjoy the freedom of going wherever your feet, imagination, & determination take you!

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