(11/02/12) - Getting back in shape after having a baby is tough, and when you are a runner, it can pose a few extra problems. The miracle of life can wreak havoc, even change your running style, which can mean injuries.
Suited up with sensors, Liz Hrodey hits the treadmill to get her pre-pregnancy running form back. "I ran all through high school, all through college and post-college."
But, post-two babies, she says, "I never felt right. I had a lot of injuries. I literally zig-zagged down the roads."
Liz came to the Mom Running Clinic at the University of Wisconsin to find out what was going on. Clinic director Bryan Heiderscheit says the problems in form lead to back, buttock and thigh pains, as well as hamstring and Achilles injuries.
"It's not as if we're not seeing this in other individuals, but it's much more consistent in women following pregnancy," Heiderscheit says.
Abdominal muscles, weakened by pregnancy, that affect the pelvic bones are a major issue. Liz was given exercises specifically designed to strengthen hers.
Heiderscheit says there are things every mom can do to improve their running:
First, don't expect to pick up where you left off before you were pregnant. He says six weeks after birth, start slowly and gradually build up.
Next, shorten your stride. "You can reduce the load the body's incurring with running by just shortening your stride by about five or 10 percent."
To do that, Heiderscheit says, figure out your current steps per minute by counting the number of times your right foot hits the ground while running 30 seconds and multiply it by four. Then, add five to 10 percent more steps. Use a metronome to make sure you're running at your new stride.
Liz says it took her a while to get the hang of it. But, since she visited the clinic, she's run multiple half-marathons and just finished her first full marathon.
Heiderscheit says it's also important for moms to avoid bouncing while running. If you notice your eyes moving a lot, work on stabilizing them.
It can decrease bouncing, which can lessen the load on your body while running.
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