Returning To Running Postpartum - The Reality…
So, it’s true what they say! Once your new shiny little human comes along you don’t even have time to take a pee never mind get changed out of your sick riddled clothes that you’ve been wearing for about 5 days and your milk soaked bra into your running kit and go for a run.
I feel like a lot of new mums think they can and should only talk about the good bits, they fear that others will judge them for talking about the not so good bits, the nitty-gritty bits and the bloody hard bits.
Time…mum guilt…balance and social expectations! These are four things I honestly didn’t think I’d struggle with as much as I have since having a baby. But here we are - 9 months postpartum and still learning how to manage all these things.
I’m just one week away from my very first marathon postpartum - which might make it sound like I’ve got my shit together - but I most definitely haven’t. This blog isn’t a how-to guide to get back into running, it’s an “I’m here for you mamas” helping hand to let you know that you’re not alone with any challenges you might also be facing.
Something I took for granted pre-baby.
Ahhh mamas- remember when we could have a coffee in peace and finish it! It feels like I’ve not seen the bottom of a cup in forever. It’s amazing how something so small can cannonball into your life and take up so much (all) of your time. For the first few months, I couldn’t even think about training. I’d just set up a new business, I was struggling with some postpartum health issues, and we are one of the lucky ones- having a baby that didn’t seem too keen on sleep for the first 7-8 months. One thing I’ve learnt is to be kind to yourself. There’s no quick fix or snap back. Slow and steady will always run the race. Having a baby is a huge life adjustment an incredible one but a life-changing one. We’ve slowly over time planned in our training sessions and made sure we’ve done them to give us that time for ourselves. It means we are mentally in a better place for the rest of the day/week. Don’t get me wrong- this doesn’t always go to plan but we try.
Balance and mum guilt.
I’m still trying to figure this one out! So, if anyone has the secret??
I absolutely love being a new mum, I also love being a new business owner but I also love being “Amy the runner” I didn’t realise it until after giving birth but running is part of my identity. It’s been part of who I am and what I do for so long I guess I just took it for granted. For the first few months postpartum I really struggled to get my head around how I was going to manage everything, but it comes with time I guess?! I’m trying to create a successful business all for my little girl, I’m trying to train for a marathon to do something for myself which in turn
keeps me sane and makes me a better mum but at the same time it takes the mum guilt level from 0-10! I honestly just think mum guilt is always going to be with me now- whether I leave her with dad for an hour or a full day! I’m just trying to get up super early for my long runs to make sure I don’t miss too much time with her (which is much nicer now the weather is picking up) and what has helped me is- making sure we have a Monday as a mum and daughter day! The phones are not as active. I don’t cave into any work commitments, it’s all about us.
The “snap back”
Social and self-expectations…
Let me tell you something - THERE IS NO SNAP BACK!! Please, please don’t put pressure on yourself to look a certain way or run a certain speed or distance or look on Instagram and think you need to be back in your skinny jeans 4 weeks postpartum. Everyone is different, bodies vary, life situations differ! I say all this, and I really mean it but still - if I’m honest - as a trainer at the back of my mind I felt like people were expecting me to look a certain way and do all the things I used to relatively quickly, but I didn’t! And to be honest it’s really made me value and appreciate my body and what it can do! We’ve worked hard as a team to rebuild after giving birth. I’ve had to pull some mental strength out of the bag that I’ve not used in a while. For months I hated running and thought about throwing in the towel. But I stuck with it even though at times all I wanted to do was sleep for about 12 hours, and day by day, week by week, month by month I noticed small improvements. Strength was building, endurance started to feel a little easier and my love for my spot start to shine back through.
So, mamas - be patient, be kind to yourself and be as consistent as you can and it will come- I promise.
Finding your feet postpartum is hard in general never mind finding your running feet! But we’ve got this!
Written by Amy Hughes. To follow along and find out more about her journey, click here.
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