Running Mums – a 6 step guide to starting

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

but persevere.

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.

Sources: 08/should-you- avoid-running- with-a- weak-pelvic-

floor/8335374 strong-by- andrew-read/