Tips & Techniques to Get You Back to Full Strength

Returning to Running Post Baby

Ashley Dougvillo 
October 3, 2019
Returning to Running Post Baby

It was almost 5 months post baby that I decided I wanted to tackle another 50k. Not a 5k, not a 10k, not a ½ marathon….but I wanted a BIGGER goal. Now this was after careful discussion with my husband, as we all know that training for an ultra affects the entire family and daily work flow. I clicked on that submit button and coasted for sometime before realizing what I had done.

I started training Spring of 2019 as I had also signed up for the Ice Age trail half marathon in May. That day came and as it had been sometime that I had participated in a race, I went out way too hot and in my second loop felt like I was basically dragging myself along. Before crossing the finish line I almost had tears in my eyes thinking that I would have to do this (and more) come August for the 50k. What that day made me realize is that although physically I felt “normal” my body had changed and the strength and nutrition I now needed was going to have to be altered compared to my pre baby races.

Summer consisted of figuring out the “new me.” There were issues with nutrition, heat to battle with (heat is not my friend), and also times I deeply deeply regretted signing up in the first place. All of these potential obstacles had crossed my mind prior to signing up but probably the biggest hurdle that I had not foreseen was how much being away from home for these long training runs was going to affect me. As much as I tried to run early in the morning or incorporate Sydney (my daughter) into some of my runs with the stroller, I always hated that sometimes I was away from home for an entire Saturday morning. (Can you tell I love being a mom?).

This past Summer was such a great learning experience for me. First off, it’s amazing what the body can handle...I mean people run 200 milers! What’s even more amazing (besides the actual act of childbirth), is what the body is capable of post baby. I think the number one thing I learned through this process is the importance of taking care of my own body during the training process. Gone are the days where I can skip a strength session or hop out the door for a run without eating something first. Proper stretching and proper nutrition are extremely important, especially if you are still nursing (which I was through this process). Seeking out assistance when you are having aches and pains, or if there are concerns about your running form are also essential to keeping yourself healthy and most importantly to keeping yourself running.

But let me tell you, I felt fantastic during the race and afterwards. I enjoyed every single second of that experience! Besides getting to learn more about myself during this whole experience, the best part of it all….crossing the finish line with my little girl. Would I do it all over again, you bet….just don't tell my husband I said that. 😉


Ashley Dougvillo
Meet the Author
Ashley Dougvillo joined Smith Physical Therapy and Running Academy in 2019. She graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI in 2008, receiving her Bachelor of Science degree with a concentration in Biomedical Sciences. She then went on to attend Northwestern University in Chicago, IL to complete her Doctorate of Physical Therapy in 2010. She is a Certified Manual Therapist and has additionally obtained specialty certifications in the Pose Method of running, kinesiotaping, FMS/SFMA, ASTYM, and Women's Health.