How to run with a Baby

Despite the title of this blog I am not for a minute suggesting you strap your baby to your back (or front for that matter) and run, my little girl is such a little lump I struggle to carry her around the front room.

But I’ve been thinking about how as a new mum it’s difficult (but not impossible) to find time to run and I have pulled together some tips that you may find helpful

1. Take your time I went back to running when Rose was 7 weeks old and it was too soon. Wait for your 6 week check up with your doctors at least and then listen to your body, and take it slow building up your pace and distance gradually. When I went back again at 10 weeks I felt a lot stronger.

2. Discuss with your partner.. I made it really clear to my other half that I wanted to get back into my running and that I would need his support and we discussed a schedule which suited us both. I am lucky that my guy understands why it is important, but if yours doesn’t then spell it out, some good reasons include…I’ll get my body back quicker, I’m less likely to get depression, it will give you special bonding time with your baby, oh and it will ramp up my sex drive (not sure if that’s actually true, but it’s worth a shot) if you don’t have a partner then speak to someone who might be willing to babysit, i.e. your mum or a friend

3. Schedule your runs. Try and run regularly on the same day, I do a track night on a Monday evening and a timed 5k on a Saturday. This way it will form part of your new routine, along with mother and baby group, and then any other exercise in between is a bonus.

4. Kit. Don’t shell out on new running gear to fit your new shape, make do with what you have at home, leggings and a hoddie or tshirt and perhaps treat yourself to something new when you have lost some baby weight. Check out my step by step guide to creating the perfect workout top from an old Tshirt. Be mindful of your new body though, particularly your boobs. I find wearing my old Nike racer backed crop top bra works on top of my nursing bra, it’s very tight so gives me the support I need. A good pair of running shoes will help prevent injuries, so if you are going to buy something new then that would be my first option.

5. What about a running pram? It depends on if you plan to actually run with your baby or not. I have a 3 wheeler pram by maxi cosy, it’s not particularly a running pushchair but it does the job. I try where possible not to take Rose running with me, but I did on Saturday when I took her to parkrun cos her dad couldn’t do his normal Saturday morning bonding session. My local park run is not suitable for pushchairs, so I drove to one that was and really enjoyed it (Rose slept throughout). Just take it steady and run on safe even paths rather than off road, at least until you have confidence.

6. Set realistic targets.. My first goal was simply to run. Then I started to think about realistic time based and distance based goals, so I am working towards being able to run a whole 5k without stopping, and also to run 5k in under 35 minutes. Yours might be as simple as I want to get out and run once a week, or you may even be tempted to join myfattymustruns marathon challenge

7. Sign up for a race. There are lots of races now where you can push a pushchair, race for life is a great example. I am doing one in a few weeks which I am really excited by. But I have also signed up for a 10k which I will run without Rose. Races are great at helping you to focus and commit fully to your training and as your child gets older they can come along and cheer you on.

8. Running Routes. Parks are the ultimate mums paradise, during the week in the daytime they are quiet, they often have loops which you can use as laps, a cafe to get a post workout drink, and toilets. You can also use park benches for tricep dips and grassy areas for push ups and sit-ups. If long distances are still difficult you could do shuttle runs, leaving baby in pram sleeping (even the most nervous of mums should be able to run 20 meters away from their baby and back again) You could even try a bleep test, your can download an app direct to your phone.

9. Walk like a runner. If getting out for a run really is out of the question or your fitness just isnt there yet then go for a long walk once a week. Approach it like a runner would though, take fluids with you, set your route, stay focussed, keep a good pace and try and improve your time each week. I did this at a recent Race for Life when it was simply impossible to run…I also got to meet Lorraine Kelly – Check out my Race Report

10. What about Nutrition. Focus on eating healthy filling foods as opposed to calorie counting or reducing fat is probably the best way for now. Your body needs as much energy as possible to keep up with the demands of being a new mum. Keep healthy snacks on hand when out with your baby, a banana or an apple..or cereal bars which can be left in your baby bag. If you are breastfeeding nutrition in particularly important as is not doing too much too soon, as it can affect your milk supply. A useful tip is to make sure you feed baby before you set out for a run, this prevents leakage (eeerggh) and heavy/sore boobs.

Update

11. A suggestion from one of my readers was to run with like-minded runners, in fact I am meeting her for a run with some other mums next Wednesday, so I will feed back on how it goes

12. Run on a treadmill – this doesnt work, well not for me…I have one in my front room, its folded up and has been for the last year and a half…my theory is that I will use it on the days I can’t get out on a run…the problem is I don’t

13. Try interval training, run between lampposts, or run for 30 seconds and then walk for a minute…or do as I do take your cue from your child (Warning: This is a vey cute video of my daughter)

So there you have it “how to run with your baby” I feel so much better now I have something that is just about me, and now that I have found ways of fitting my running into my weekly routine that involves and includes rose I don’t feel so guilty for leaving my buba at home from time to time.

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