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Getting back into running after having a baby – top tips for new mums

Lauren gave birth to Lil Mil in April and is looking to get back into running and train for her first half-marathon - here's how she plans to do it.

Mum-Running-With-PramRunning is a great way for new mums to keep fit

Back in April, when I gave birth to my daughter Millie, the furthest thing from my mind was reintroducing exercise back into my daily routine. Especially running. I’ve only recently started healthy eating again and that was a bit of a shock to the system, especially with my boyfriend and I having worked our way through the local Deliveroo service as we’ve worked to get Millie into a routine.

A few years back a friend and I joined Slimming World, which helped me to lose around two stone, but after growing and carrying a baby for almost 10 months, it’s going to take a little more than just upping my salad and fat-free yogurt intake to reduce the charming ‘mum tum’ and newly developed bingo wings my body has become accustomed to.  I’m about a stone and a half heavier than my happy pre-baby weight, so it’s time to put down the family-sized bag of Doritos and get back into running.

Healthy-Lunchbox
It takes a little more than just eating salad to lose weight
Can running help you lose weight?

Of course it can – it’s exercise!

Malcolm’s already done a post on ‘Can running help you lose belly fat?‘ so I won’t go into too much detail, but basically you need to be eating right (being fit and active won’t make a difference if you eat McDonald’s every day) and you need to choose the right style of running. Intervals are best, as are strength & conditioning movements.

How do you get back into running after having a baby?

Small steps. You’ve just grown and birthed a child. Your days are spent changing nappies, feeding, settling and more. You barely have time to wash your hair.

Having a gym membership as a new mum, or mum to multiple children, can be pointless. You may as well just be throwing money down the drain as you’ll barely have the time to go. Running is handy though, whether you like park running or street running, as you can literally do it at any time of the day. You can even buy running prams if you want to take the little one with you.

Our house is luckily positioned in an area just a couple of minutes away from a beautiful park already popular with local runners. This handy geographical plus means that I can fit a daily run around Millie during the weekdays, and either get up early before my boyfriend leaves for work in the morning or wait until he’s back in the evenings to run whilst the baby naps.

I’ve started out by getting involved with my local parkrun. Parkruns are free-to-attend 5k runs held once a week all around the country – check out their site to find one nearest to you.

What do you wear when you run?

That’s personal preference, but you want the clothes to be thin and lightweight, preferably breathable too.

Lightweight-Running-Gear
Aim for lightweight, breathable clothes when you’re running

Right now, I am really not happy with the way my body looks or the extra weight I’m carrying. The idea of squeezing into the tiny crop tops or tight-fitting leggings favoured by the thousands of fitness models showing off their abs on Instagram, is not going to be happening ANY time soon. I’m happy in leggings and a baggy t-shirt.

Get yourself a good pair of running trainers though – that’s the one thing I really would recommend investing in.

How should I track my running progress post-partum?

There are numerous ways to track your progress. I’d advise not weighing yourself too often, it’s easy to become obsessed with the numbers and they’re just not reliable. As your training increases and fat is replaced by muscle, the numbers won’t change as you want. But, that being said, you should start to feel it in your clothes.

I like to keep track of my health and fitness over on Instagram, you can find me on Instagram at @growingoutandup. I find that it’s a great way to hold myself accountable and to share tips with others.

Running apps such as Strava and RunKeeper are just two apps you can use to track your run; the route, how long and how far you’ve ran and more. You can also share your results on social media for others to see.

In terms of monitoring what you’re eating, I like to use MyFitnessPal to record what I’m eating and drinking. It’s also handy to see what food groups you might be over-eating or under eating on. I’ve recently just rejoined my local Slimming World group to as an additional way to ensure I’m staying on track.

Get other mums involved too!

I’ve got a group of mum friends, some I’ve known for years and some I’ve met through baby groups, and we’re all doing it together. We all want to lose the post-pregnancy mum tums and we all want to get fit. Running as a group means we’ve constantly got motivation and encouragement and we’re not in it alone. Some people simply just don’t like to go for a run by themselves, and that’s totally fine too!

Should I set a running goal?

As well as the initial weight loss and health benefits, I’ve decided that it’s important to set myself a longer-term goal. I want to achieve something with my new running ambitions. I’d ultimately like to work towards completing a half-marathon at some point next year. A few years back, my two best friends ran our local event and I was there every step of the way to cheer them on. I love the idea of working hard and having my little Millie come watch me run 13 miles next summer.

If setting a goal is what’s going to make you stick at it, find an event near you (check out our Events Calendar for up and coming events), get your name down and give yourself something to work towards.

Whether it’s a stop-start journey or you discover a whole new you, good luck!

Lauren Wilden
the authorLauren Wilden
Journalist
Lauren is a first-time mum to Lil Mil looking to get back into shape with the help of a combination of exercise and healthy eating. Her main goals are to tone up her 'mum tum', train to run her first half-marathon and still enjoy the occasional glass of wine once the baby is asleep.