Thursday, 5 December 2013

Mum's running tips

Just because you've had kids, doesn't mean you can't run. Quite the opposite - it's a reason to run... run away from the family for a little while. Haha.
Though as far as creating "me time", running is not always the best way. For example, before Berlin marathon, I said to Lachlan  "maybe I'll try to run 5 hours rather than under 3, then I'll get more time to myself." Of course, I didn't do that, I wanted to try to try fast. (Maybe that's why my mum also does ironman? That's a lot of time racing, and even more time training!)

However, apart from making you time pressed, those little darlings cause other issues for your running.

If you are a mum or are new to running, here are a few tips to get you started. No more excuses!

Needing to go
Did you run through your pregnancy? I ran the day I went into labour and then started back again one week after my son was born. (I learnt my lesson from that mistake - next time I'm going to adopt the Chinese tradition of one month of confinement. Why did I think I needed to get back out there so soon, when I could have used a new baby as an excuse to watch DVDs?)
Even if you didn't run throughout your pregnancy, your pelvic floor muscles will never be the same again. Two tips: go to the bathroom as many times as you have the opportunity before any run or race, and when on a training run, never be ashamed to tell your running partner you need a bathroom break. Plan your runs to go past toilets, and if you are planning on a long run, tuck a little toilet paper under your shoelaces.

Also, if you are really concerned wear dark coloured shorts. They will hide any accidents.
6 months pregnant hauling myself up the Great Wall of China. No excuses not to exercise ladies!

Wear two sportsbras  
Late in my pregnancy, and while I was nursing, I wore two sports bras. It helps to support the girls.  Nobody will notice, and you will be more comfortable.
Also, plan your runs around your nursing times. For example, when I lived in Shanghai, I had to do my run early in the morning before my husband went to work. I used to wake up, pump (that was when I had the best milk supply so I got a lot in a short time) then go straight for my run.
That way, my husband got time with my son, he had milk on hand if need (though usually I was able to freeze this) and I was a lot more comfortable.
This post-race photo was taken right after the first race I did after Henry was born. It was an Olympic distance triathlon in Morganshan in China. Henry was 9 months old and it was Mothers Day. I was still nursing! He didn't seem to mind. 
Be selfish
Before Henry was born, a good (male) friend gave me some advice. He said, "Lady Jane" (a very nice nickname he had given me), "make sure that during this time - while you are pregnant, Lachlan looks after you, and make sure that it's all about you. This is the last time in your life it will be about you. As soon as that baby comes, it will be all about him".
My mate Gav was so right.
And so ladies, if exercising means that you have to bully your husband / friend / helper / carer / random stranger in the street, in order to get some much deserved time to exercise, DO IT. You deserve it; You deserve to be fit and healthy, and to have that great endorphin rush. You will be a better mother for it. It's not selfish to look after yourself. It's in everyone's best interests!

Be creative
Of course, it is not always possible to find someone to watch the kid / kids so you can go off on a run. However, there are other ways to still get in some kind of workout, even with a kid in tow.
When Henry was small, I used to put him in the Jolly Jumper and do my Nike training app. He thought it was hilarious watching me run round and round in circles around our living room. And he loved the Jumper. I also used him as a "training aid". He was not only useful in lieu of handweights (up until a certain point anyway), but he was the world's best motivation for not collapsing while doing plank.
And he used to love it. It cracked him up every time.
Henry is having a great time - look at the smile on his face (I'm trying to smile, but it looks more like I'm gritting my teeth.) Just don't drip sweat on the baby!
This photo makes it look as if Henry and I were parachuting. Not so. I put him in the ergo baby carrier and went for a walk in the soft-sand. It was hard work. 
Enlist the support of other mums
Instead of meeting your mum friends for a latte and muffin (bad) meet up for a brisk walk in the park (good).
Better still, join a group or class specifically for mums. Lots of these allow you to take your baby along - for example parent and child yoga.
Your best option, if you can, is to find some child care for an hour or so, and join a group exercise class, that is specifically desgned for mums.
My favourite is Mums on the Run in Melbourne. Ironman athlete, Personal Trainer and single mum Alice McClure is the coach. What I love about Mums on the Run, and similar groups, is that it's a really supportive environment where mums can get together to do something positive for themselves, but who nonetheless understand the sacrifices that we all make juggling motherhood / careers / life generally.
Joining a group like Alice's is not only more fun, it's also more motivating, and because you will work a little harder than you would on your own, you'll burn more calories. When you've got limited time and energy, that's always a bonus in my book.
Mums on the Run - Melbourne track session. Go ladies!
OMG! Check out that mum. It's Alice and her baby Grace. Proof that your excuse is not good enough. If Alice, who is a single mum can do it, you have no excuse. Get off your butt now!

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