Finding the right return to run progression? Where do you even begin?
Invariably, I hear, “What about a couch to 5K program?”
Eh, probably not.
I think that was a simple solution initially because it’s considered basic and for someone who is literally getting off the couch to run a 5k. (Let’s avoid comparing early postpartum running to just getting off the couch, shall we?)
We need to consider…
…if we’ve done a return to run readiness screen
…if we know the mom can tolerate impact
…if we know that balance and strength are descent
…why not undershoot the goal?
Okay, hear me out.
Imagine if you went out for your very first postpartum run, you’re feeling great, but then you finish and realize you have symptoms. What does that feel like when you’ve waited for something for so long and it’s not at all what you expected?
Sadly, I know many moms who have experienced this. Mentally, it’s so challenging to dig yourself out of that hole.
The nice thing about undershooting our goal is you don’t even have to 100% clear the return to run screening, but we can still get an easy win by just getting out there. How much better is it to finish the run and feel good?
Each time out builds confidence and establishes the habit.
Even though these couch to 5k programs are starting with 5 minutes of run/ 5 minutes of walk, that can still be too much. If we undershoot the goal and take a slow progression, we can be back to full running within 5 weeks.
I KNOW it’s hard in the early stages postpartum and 5 weeks can seem like a lifetime, but in a few years looking back, it will barely be a blip on the timeline.
Undershoot your goals. Set yourself up for success, both mentally and physically. Let’s kick the Couch to 5k program to the curb.
We’re going to build CONFIDENCE with these early, easy wins.