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Checklist for Returning To Running Postpartum

Posted June 13, 2023

Checklist for running postpartum

Step 1: Activity

Make sure that you have been cleared to return to running by your medical provider. It’s generally advisable to wait 12 weeks after delivery and be able to pass the following tests to start gradually returning to running. You need to have the ability to complete all the tasks below without:

  • Leaking
  • Pelvic “heaviness,” “dragging” or a “falling out” sensation
  • Diastasis recti (noticeable gap and/or bulging along the midline of your abdomen)
  • Bleeding
  • Pelvic girdle/low back pain

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, ask your medical provider about a referral to pelvic health physical therapy. 






30 minutes


Single leg balance

10 seconds each side


Single leg squat

Repetitions each side


Jog on the spot

1 minute


Forward bounds

10 repetitions


Single leg hop in place

10 repetitions each leg


Single leg “running man” – raise opposite arm and hip flexion, jump, and switch

10 repetitions each side



Step 2: Strength Testing

By identifying and working on areas of decreased strength, you can help prevent injuries and pain.


Runner’s endurance hold (knee up on wall)

1 minute each side

Side plank

30 seconds each side

Pelvic Floor

Strengthening or down-training as indicated (your pelvic health PT can help you figure out which one!)


Hip/Pelvis Control

Single leg RDLs

10 repetitions each side

Gluteus medius (i.e. clamshells)

15 repetitions each side

Gluteus minimus (i.e. sidelying or standing hip abduction)

15 repetitions each side

Single leg bridge on foam roller

10 repetitions each side

Adductor plank

10 repetitions each side


Posterior tibialis (i.e. calf raises, resisted ankle inversion)

10 repetitions each side

Foot intrinsics (i.e. big toe dorsiflexion, doming, towel scrunches, marble pick-ups)

10 each activity


Step downs

10 repetitions

Single leg balance

30 seconds each leg

Single heel raises

10 repetitions each side


Plank hops

30 seconds

Hop in place

30 seconds

Single leg hops

30 seconds each leg


Note: Running with a stroller changes gait mechanics! If you’re a stroller runner, it is important to incorporate flexibility exercises for your spine, pelvis, buttocks and hips. Always check with your pediatrician prior to running with your baby in a stroller.

Step 3: Additional Considerations

Think about:

  • WHY you are running. Be kind to yourself.
  • Overall fitness, breathing, anxiety/depression status, abdominal wall recovery (diastasis recti and/or C-section delivery), scars (C-section, episiotomy, 2nd/3rd/4th degree tears), sleep and nutrition/hydration. Let yourself heal and don’t tax yourself.
  • Breast-feeding status. Breast feeding can alter hormone status which can affect prolapse and pelvic stability. You may also have increased hydration and nutritional needs.
  • Supportive clothing (for belly, breasts, pelvis/hips/low back, pelvic floor muscles), such as belts, bands, appropriate sports bras and compression underwear.

Your Summa Health pelvic health physical therapist (PT) can help with all of the above and establish a safe and tailored return to running program for you. PTs can also point you to other providers and resources as needed. To learn more, visit


Adapted from: Goom T, Donnelly G, Brockwell E. “Returning to running postnatal – guideline for medical, health and fitness professionals managing this population.” March 2019, and Expecting and Empowered website.  February 2019. Postpartum Running: Safety Tips and Strengthening Freebie — Expecting and Empowered


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If your situation is an emergency, call 911.