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Serving Westchester, Rockland, Putnam Counties and beyond
Hudson Valley Logo
Serving Westchester, Rockland, Putnam Counties and beyond


It’s been four months since you welcomed your baby into the world. You have done your prep work, passed the return to running screen, and feel psyched to get out there and start running. 

You ran up until month six of your pregnancy. Three miles seems like a good place to start… that was NOTHING compared to those 12 mile weekend long runs you loved. 

You dash out the front door and fifteen minutes into your run, you start to leak….what the heck? 

You did all the right things… why are you still leaking while running?

Your body may be READY to start running, but how exactly should you START?


You have finished part one of our blog on WHEN to return to running. If not, read on here:


Quick google search of “return to running postpartum” brings up some vague information like “take it slow” or “listen to your body.” 


If you’re anything like me, you need a bit more clarity.


Emma Brockwell, Tom Goom, and Grainne Donnelly published guidelines to fill the gap in misinformation and ambiguity about running after a baby. The guidelines can be found here:


The advice on how to return to running comes right from the guidelines. 


Ready to lace up?


You may want to reevaluate dusting off those old Nike’s in the closet. During pregnancy your foot size can permanently change; just a tad too snug can cause issues ranging from blisters to changing the way you run which can lead to injury. 


1. Treat yourself to a shiny new pair of kicks.


While at the running store, pick up a new supportive sports bra. Opt for sports bras that offer support rather than compression. Especially if nursing, breast size changes during and after pregnancy.


2. How long should my first run be?


One to two minutes of continuous running at an easy pace……now if you’re an ultramarathoner, you may be looking at this in shock and disbelief, but hear me out. A quick ramp up puts you at higher risk of injury. A healthy runner always beats an injured runner (Bertelsen et al. 2018). 


We will talk about walk breaks a bit later. 

Use the ten percent rule


Add up your weekly mileage or time and aim to increase 10% of the total as you ramp up to your goal. 


3. Distance before intensity


Do you have a need for speed? Jay Dicharry, author of Anatomy for Runners, said it best. You need to “earn” the right to run fast. Your best running form is a challenge to keep at high speeds. Your risk of injury increases.


Build to your goal distance before increasing the speed or intensity of your run with hills. 


4. Walk it out


Running is hard work; being a mom is way harder. You deserve a walk break! Use walk breaks to help reduce fatigue and injury risk. How long should you walk for? The guidelines recommend this couch to 5K program:


Here’s a sample

A preview from the NHS couch to 5k program

5. Did you overdo it?


Any leakage, pelvic pressure or pain more than three on a 0-10 scale (0 painfree, 10 sending you to the ER) indicates that it may be time to give your body a bit more TLC. Scale back the duration, intensity, and consider seeking the help of a trained professional. 


You and your body do AMAZING things every day. Respect the healing process, savor time with your little one, and stay positive. It may take a bit longer than you’d like, but your investment in a safe return to running is sure to pay off. 




Bertelsen, M., Hansen, M., Rasmussen, S. and Nielsen, R. (2018). THE START-TO-RUN DISTANCE AND RUNNING-RELATED INJURY AMONG OBESE NOVICE RUNNERS: A RANDOMIZED TRIAL. International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy 13(6), 943-955. 


Goom, T.,  Donnelly, G. and Brockwell, E. (2019) Returning to running postnatal – guideline for medical, health and fitness professionals managing this population. [


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