After having a baby 4 months ago, I've changed my expectations and focused on making running more enjoyable. Here's why.
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After having a baby 4 months ago, I'm slowly getting back into a regular running routine. My goal is to run 2-3 times a week, which, of course, is easier said than done with an infant. But I do my best to get out the door and fit in some miles a few times a week.

Things are quite a bit different nowadays when it comes to my running. I used to obsess about my times and mile splits, and I always wanted to run faster and improve my pace. I'm still getting used to my new postpartum body, and I haven't been able to run as fast as I did before the baby, so I'm changing my expectations and focusing on making running more enjoyable by choosing to run slower for now.

Why, you ask? Check out my reasons below. They might just make you want to run a little slower too!

It feels good

Who says every run needs to be done as fast as possible, right? I know there are tons of benefits of pushing myself in interval training and tempo runs, but I'm not quite there yet with my fitness level, so I'm taking it down a notch with my intensity. Keeping a fast pace is hard work, so instead of suffering through a run and possibly giving up, I found an "easy" pace that makes running a whole lot more enjoyable. It's a speed at which I can pretty easily carry on a conversation and it makes me feel relaxed while running.

It helps me run farther

Running at an easier pace helps me run farther because I can keep up that same comfortable, speed for quite a long time. So, for instance, instead of running one mile really fast, gasping for air, and not having any energy left at the end to continue on, I run three miles without stopping at a more leisurely pace. I realized that if I just slowed down, I could run a lot farther. Plus, this method has been a great way to ease me back into long distance running.

It boosts my confidence

When I first returned to running after giving birth, I was frustrated with my fitness level at times. I'd struggle through runs and want to throw in the towel, but once I realized that simply slowing my pace helped boost my confidence, I was able to cover more ground and feel good about myself during runs. Running more slowly is an entirely difference experience, both mentally and physically. But being able to conquer my runs, even if they're at a slower pace, boosts my confidence and motivates me to move forward with my fitness goals.

Read Tina’s daily food and fitness blog, Carrots ‘N’ Cake.