A while ago, mother runner Kim emailed us with several questions: What are the effects of a breast lift on long- and short-term training? How long after the surgery can you start running again? How does running feel with the revised girls? The answers poured in from the tribe, not only with advice on running after a breast lift, but also on running after a reduction or enlargement.
Heidi mentions her friend, who had recently gotten a lift: "She started slowly running in about a month or so...but she had to be wrapped up and wore two bras. She loves her revised girls and wears Enell bras to keep them in check now. She said at first she felt like her center of gravity was off a bit, but after she adapted to that she was back to normal and running just as fast (if not faster) than she had been pre-surgery. So you'll likely be down for the short term...but for the long term you should be just fine. Just listen to your doctor and keep those girls sung when you run."
Michele adds, "After a month I was back to distance running, no problems at all...just be sure to get a good sports bra."
Shay recommends consulting with your physician: "Your doctor will tell you when it safe to get running again. I started walking right away and the running came in time."
RunnerGirl adds, "Expect about 3-4 weeks of no running. You need the scar areas to heal and close up so they don't get infected. If you run too soon, the sweat will get in there and cause infection. Once everything is closed up and you don't have pain, which isn't much anyway, you will be good to go." She also emphasizes the differences in healing time between a breast lift and breast reduction: "A lift is very different from a reduction. A true reduction is much more complicated, and will take longer to heal. A lift will have you running in 3-4 weeks."
Casey gives us a quick fix for balance changes: "I had a reduction and lift last Christmas. Went from a DD to a small C/large B. I took a good 8 weeks off from running, although started walking again at 4. I ran a half-marathon in April and never felt better. I noticed a shift in my center of balance, so I concentrated on thinking about how my body was moving through space."
Elizabeth comments healing time after a breast enlargement, "My girlfriend had an augmentation over Christmas break and she was back on the treadmill within a week. They made her wear a really restrictive sports bra anyway, so she had virtually no movement to start, and once the residual pain went away she was back into her normal routine."
Jennifer continues the conversation about enlargement: "I had an enhancement 2 years ago and was running again 2 months afterward. I'm not sure if the type—over vs. under the muscle—influences recovery. I did silicone over the muscle, so that might have sped up the recovery time." She agrees with the other mother runners about the need for a good, supportive sports bra. (Dimity regularly writes the sports bra review for Runner's World, and discovered Sturdy Girl Sports through it; the bras were originally designed for women with breast enhancements.)
Hollie adds, "I'm two years out from going bigger. This surgery is a much easier recovery than a reduction. If you are serious, find a good doctor and make an appointment as soon as possible, and ask many questions. Every surgery and doctor has different recovery requirements." Don't be afraid to ask questions!
And of course, Clisty warns, "Don't sacrifice the outcome of the surgery just so you can get running again." It is always better to be safe than sorry.
Have you had a lift, reduction, or enlargement? How long did you wait before lacing up those running shoes again? Got any advice for mother runners considering this surgery?