Are you a mum who’s keen to take up running? Yes? Let me slip you a big hug right now for getting yourself to this point!
It’s a mighty challenge being a mum at the best of times let alone trying to take on a new sport. You are already a champion in my eyes.
Running has been shown to have more benefits than drawbacks. Some of those benefits are: it improves brain function and makes you feel happier; cardiovascular fitness will improve; bones and muscles will be strengthened; and you will reduce your chances of getting cancer.
Here are my top 4 tips to get you started.
Tip 1: Your purpose – Set a goal
So you’re at the beginning of your running journey, you may think that the goal for you is just to be able to run! Fair enough! I challenge you to go one step further. I have found that the main motivator that gets me out of bed to run is having a personal goal. Be really specific with your goals so that you can celebrate your achievements when that moment arrives. Write it down somewhere or even better, reveal it to a friend or someone who can help you stay accountable. Having an open-ended goal often doesn’t motivate as well as one that is specific.
The goal can be an upcoming running event or it could also be location based – working towards a run from your home to a specific destination. It’s only after you’ve set that goal that you can work backwards to fine tune how you will get there.
Tip 2: Your Drive – Motivation
The reality is, when you start your running journey it won’t be easy. You will battle with your mind and your body. Your chest will be crying out for more air, your legs and feet will feel like lead at some point and your mind will make you question why you’re even doing this to yourself! Please know that what you’re feeling is all normal. That too will pass! These are my tips for distracting your mind from leading you down the negative mindset.
- Run with your favourite music – listen to music that motivates you
- Run with a companion – catch up on your socials and let chatter distract you
- Listen to a podcast or an audiobook – this is multitasking at its best!
- Play mind games – list your favourite foods, list your favourite cities that you want to travel to or tell yourself you will stop when you get to a particular tree/bin/street corner and focus on that.
Tip 3: Your Resilience – Willingness to Suffer
Mums are the epitome of resilience. We’ve laboured through childbirth and have raised our children while we juggle the daily challenges of work/school/life/relationships.
The willingness to get through difficult situations is a trait that will serve you well when you start your running journey.
Use it! Have a quote that you can bounce around in your head to remind yourself that you’re made of grit. Say the quote to yourself and give yourself a BIG SMILE. It does work!
Tip 4: Train Smarter not Harder – Injury prevention
It is quality, rather than quantity that truly matters. What this means is that you need to avoid doing too much too soon. Avoiding injuries at the start of your running journey should be your main objective. Your body will be doing amazing things but if you neglect to listen to the signals it gives you then you’ll be going down a path of pain and setbacks. Here are ways you can stay ahead of the injury pitfalls:
- Get a pair of comfortable running shoes with a good fit from a reputable running shop. The staff should help guide you to purchasing the right shoe to fit your purpose.
- Get professional advice if you’ve had previous injuries. Running is an all body workout, you will need to recruit all your muscles to work in perfect synchronization. So to get the best results, address those past injuries with an assessment to see if you need to couple your running with any exercises to make you run strong and stay injury free.
- Vary your runs and space it out during the week. A running coach will help create a suitable plan for you but if you prefer to do it alone then make sure your runs are spread out during the week with variety. Have some short and fast runs, throw in some power walking, have a steady pace run where you can comfortably chat, and some that are gentle on the body on grass and softer surfaces. Not only will this make your runs more interesting but it will help your body adapt to different demands placed on it.
Taking time out to do something for yourself is an act that will benefit both you and your family. The energy you use up for your run you’ll get back tenfold. Any seasoned runner will testify to that strange phenomena. I took up running after my first child was born, 15 years ago, and it’s a journey I’ve not regretted for one single moment.
It is essentially one foot in front of the other. Believe in yourself because you can do this! Do this for yourself, use that mumma energy and resilience and make it happen!
I’ll leave you with a quote that will hopefully motivate you to start this journey with confidence: