I am not a running expert. I am a Woman who has done some running (including the New York
Marathon in my 20s). I am also a Mum who did what many Mums do after having kids – I ran. It
felt good to move again, to feel my heart beating and sucking in the air, to be outside and to be
moving dynamically - it made me feel like ME again. With those kinda vibes you can’t dismiss
running as one of the most awesome ways of moving your body!
However, let’s take a moment to consider a few very basic things:
Up to 80% of new runners get injured within 12 months of starting running.
Almost 50% of Women of have had a baby experience some kind of pelvic floor dysfunction.
The running vibe is beginning to lose its sparkle.
It doesn’t get much better when you start factoring in that many Mums are in physically de-
conditioned state when they start running again. With most carrying a little more weight plus if
they opt to run with their prams on pavements then additional forces, loads & pressures are
being piled on top of a body that is potentially in an already weakened state. And these Mums
are older than they were pre kids!
I’m sounding like I am anti-running for Mums. I am not. But I am not pro-running for Mums
either. I sit in the camp of “is it the right thing for you and your body right now?”
I started running again when my oldest was 10 months old. So I figured I was OK. I had a bad
back but don’t all Mums? My running didn’t last long – my back stopped me. I went on to
discover that I had a Diastasis Recti (abdominal separation) and I was unable to transfer loads
through my core system and my back had been taking all the load for the last year. I had to stop
and re-hab for many months. I didn’t start running again until a month ago, when my oldest was
7 years old!! My first rookie return to running experience put me off, almost forever. Now, I’m
older, perhaps wiser, and looking for longevity with my running.
This isn’t about fat-loss, it’s about learning a skill, it’s about achieving a goal, and it’s about building my fitness and getting
back to that wonderful feeling that only running, freely, can give. I’ve learnt a few things since my first attempt.
Here is my 6-step Return to Running Guide for Mums.
1. See a Women’s Health Physio and get your pelvic floor and core unit comprehensively
assessed to ensure running is right for you at the moment.
2. Work on your Weaknesses – feet, calves, legs, backs all take a pounding with running so
ensure you have a strategy to gain mobility and strength alongside your running.
3. Build a Bum – one of the biggest powerhouses to assist running and to support the pelvic
floor are your bum muscles – don’t leave them behind you!
4. Optimal movement – develop a walking and running style that allows the Pelvic Floor and
Core to be in an optimal position to do the job they were made to do. Un-tuck your bum
and ensure your glute muscles are being used effectively, drop your ribs if you tend to
flare then up/open and use your diaphragm efficiently by breathing more into the belly –
ideally you need to feel the breath around bra strap height.
5. Take your Time – your body needs lots of time to adjust to running again. A walk/run
style of program with low training loads i.e. 3 times a week over several weeks is a good
place to start. Building your aerobic capacity is a good idea at this stage - this means
keeping your heart rate lower than you think. Get your Max Aerobic Heart-Rate (180
minus your age & subtract a further 5 as you are returning to running after a time away
from training) and keep your heart rate on or below this. It’s a mind-body battle initially
6. Be Aware – learn to listen to your body and its needs. If you aren’t getting solid sleep and
optimal nutrition then you need to ease off with the intensity of your training (by intensity I
mean the type of training as well as how often you train). Also if any symptoms get worse
or new niggles come up then attend to them swiftly and dial back your running.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/health/2017-03- 08/should-you- avoid-running- with-a- weak-pelvic-
https://www.readpt.com/shop/e-books/run- strong-by- andrew-read/