I’ve always been suspicious of people who say they like running. I ran a marathon and I never liked running. I liked how it made me feel, I liked the discipline of training for a marathon, but I didn’t like running.
When my son hit the six-month mark, I decided it was time to jump back on the fitness bandwagon. I started just walking with him in the sling, but after buying a jogging stroller off CraigsList, I began to run a little as well.
Now my little guy is one and I’m running about two miles every other day, mostly while pushing him in the stroller. Last week I was in the middle of a run and I found myself thinking, “I like this.” For some reason, I enjoy running as a mom more than when it was just me. I’m slow and my mileage is humble, but the motion and challenge of running is just what I need right now. Plus, after childbirth almost everything else seems easier in comparison.
Here is my advice for moms looking to get back into running or trying it for the first time…
Invest in a jogging stroller, heavy-duty bra and a FlipBelt. Scour CraigsList and consignment shops for the stroller. If you buy one second-hand, just make sure to take it into a bike shop to get it checked out and tuned up. There’s nothing I hate more than my chest bouncing around during a run, so make sure to get the correct amount of support you need. I recently received the FlipBelt as a gift and can’t recommend it more. Prior to the belt, I was carrying my phone in my hand or hoping it didn’t fall out of the stroller’s pouch. The belt is better than an arm band because it doesn’t offset your balance and can be thrown in the wash with the rest of your sweaty clothes.
Sign up for RunKeeper, Nike+ Running or MapMyRun. I personally use RunKeeper to track my runs and walks, and follow its beginner 5k training plan. I like being able to look back at my previous runs and see how I’m doing in comparison. (Feel free to add me once you’ve signed up!)
Make it a priority. Having the right stuff and the best app is only part of the battle. The hardest part for me is the mental battle. Even though I’m that annoying person who now says “I like running,” most days I definitely don’t want to leave the house to run. I’d rather stay home and do pretty much anything else. Like Natalie said in her interview with me last week, you have to have a reason why and dedicate yourself to it. My reason is that I want to be happy, healthy and an example of active living for my son. I promise the hard work will be rewarding.
Find community. Seek out other runners – we’re a friendly bunch. Whether that’s online (check out #RunChat on Twitter) or in person (my small town has two running groups, yours probably does too.) Find a fellow mom to walk or run with. It’s hard for me to put myself out there, especially because I run slower than others, but in my experience it’s worth it.