Going At Your Own Pace Postpartum

This morning as I finished my run, it dawned on me that I had run 47km for the week. Back in the ‘pre-child’ days, this would be a fairly easy week, perhaps typical of my summer running when I generally tend to scale things back a bit. However, this 47km was significant, because it’s the furthest I have run in a week for 15 months.

If someone had told me then that it would take me until my son was almost a year old to be back up to this distance, I would have found it hard to stomach. And this got me thinking about getting back to ‘normal’ after having a baby and why we put time limits on ourselves. It doesn’t have to be about running; it could be about returning to work, getting back into healthier habits, feeling ‘yourself’ again (does that ever happen?) or finding the elusive happy place between your child’s needs and your own.

The truth is, there is no set time by which we suddenly should be feeling amazing or ‘back to our best’. It’s highly individual and this road has many peaks and troughs. In fact, feeling yourself again is something that may not happen, and I don’t mean this in a bad way. Rather, you become a newer version of who you once were. Perhaps a more tired, softer, more time poor version of yourself, but also a stronger, more fulfilled, adaptable version too.

If I’m being completely honest, I barely noticed the time it took me to build back up to that 47km in a week. Partly because I was busy with other things, but mainly because for most of the time, I was enjoying the process, immersed in what I was doing, and just thrilled to be getting out for a little bit of time to myself. Now that I’m back at that point where I was before (albeit nowhere near as speedy and still several kgs heavier), I feel pretty badass and like this achievement is a reward for taking it slow, considering we also had a pandemic and several other life things going on at the same time.

So, no matter how old your children are, here are some of my tips for going at your own pace when embarking on any change in lifestyle.

How to go at your own pace

  • Remember where you started – what did life look like before you set off on the path for change and how far have you come? Journaling can help you to look back and reflect on both physical and emotional progress.

  • Start today and lose the ‘setback’ mentality – you’re still moving forward even if it’s not entirely linear. My journey after having Dylan has been full of ups and downs, and there’ll never be a day when I say I am back to who I was, because who I am has changed for the better. Just as Strava tells me that my curve is generally trending upwards in relation to my running, so it is in other areas of life, even though there may be days and weeks of very little progress.

  • Give yourself a break when you truly need it. Burnout is good for nobody.

  • Learn to be flexible. This is perhaps what I have found hardest, but the reality is that my life is not just about me anymore. And do you know what? By accepting that I have to adapt and make tweaks, everything I do get the chance to do is all the more sweeter with Dylan by my side.

  • It goes without saying, but avoid the comparison trap. It’s exactly that – a trap! If you find yourself thinking ‘I should…’ when scrolling through your social media rather than feeling inspired, put that phone down pronto and think about taking a break from social.

  • As always, focus on those small steps every day. I’ll be honest, there have been days since I had Dylan (and even some quite recently) that I haven’t wanted to get out of bed. Over time, I’ve learnt whether I genuinely need to rest OR whether this is a sign of something else going on. If it’s the latter, I try to do at least one small thing that day, even if it’s just eating something healthy or listening to a podcast. The next day, I try to do a little more, and so on.

  • Get support from a coach like me who can guide you towards your dreams and goals and help you overcome your challenges, all while understanding that us Mums are a unique and special breed who deserve to be heard and have their needs met with no specific deadline by which to ‘get there’. If you’re interested in chatting more, click the button below and I’ll be in touch.

  1. […] to meet Australian fitness guru Kayla Itsines at the Dubai Active Show. At the time I was twelve weeks into new motherhood, and Kayla herself was a couple of months ahead of me at seven months postpartum. We chatted all […]

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