It can be daunting to think about running for the first time after you’ve had a baby. But Turia Pitt has some advice for you, drawing on her own experience after.
In 2019, when my baby Hakavai was over a year old, I signed up for the Mountain Run at the Kathmandu Coast to Coast. A 30-kilometre course forging through rivers, over boulders, and up a mountain range.
It was my first race after having a baby and I was SO proud of myself for committing to it, and for training for it.
I’d run through the black mornings with a head-torch strapped on, trying to fit in a three-hour session before Hakavai woke up and Michael left for work. And for the times when, with no other option, I’d put Hakavai in the pram and take him with me to do hill sprints (Hakavai + pram = heavy to push up an incline).
It was hard, yes. Tiring at times, absolutely. But, it was also pleasurable, delightful, enjoyable.
So, how did I do it? And what advice would I give to you, a mum who wants to get into running?
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I had to prioritise my training. My family always came first, but running came second.
This meant that sometimes we had beans on toast for dinner. This meant that sometimes I forgot to wash my running gear and would pick it up off the floor dirty and wear it again. This meant sometimes I’d forget to take nappies on a pram run. This meant that if I had a 40-minute window while Hakavai was napping I HAD TO GO RIGHT NOW.
I knew if I waited for everything to be “right” (laundry done, dinner cooked, lawn mowed, flowers picked, hair brushed, pram packed with a various assortment of nappies, wipes and homemade snacks) then I would never get out the door and get it done.
Leave your ego at the door
When you start out, and even as you get stronger and fitter, you need to accept that you’re going to be slow. You might have some runs where a group of walkers overtake you. That’s OK! Leave your ego behind. This is YOUR journey, take it at YOUR pace.
Surround yourself with like-minded people.
When I was first working out after the fire, I went to a gym that specialised in rehabilitation. This meant I wasn’t surrounded by fit people doing things that seemed impossible for me. I was surrounded by people who had injuries and were trying to rebuild themselves. Just like I was.
So, my advice? Find a running program or a training environment where you’ll meet like-minded people and where you feel safe and comfortable.
Be kind to yourself
Some nights I had a bad sleep. Some days I was exhausted just looking after a little human. Getting out the door for a run was a mystery to me. That’s OK. I didn’t beat myself up. I took the day off and tried again the next day.
It’s OK to miss the occasional training session. It’s OK to feel like you didn’t try your best in a session, or feel like you were just too tired to finish the session. If you’re consistent (i.e., you’re doing your training most days) I promise you, you will see results.
A good fitting sports bra will change your life
Lastly, if you’re new to running and scared of getting started, know that it’s normal, and know that I’ve got your back.
I remember my first training session after the fire, I didn’t make it more than 10 metres before I was physically exhausted, my heart rate through the roof.
So, wherever you’re starting from, I’ve been there, trust me when I say that I’ve been there, and I’ve got you. It’s why I started building RUN with Turia, my new running program for mums over 12 months postpartum.
I wanted to create a program that was flexible and took my family into consideration. A place where I got accountability without it being demanding, and where I had a group of women around me who really got where I was at.
That’s what I’ve created. We’re a community of cool, like-minded mums (of teens or toddlers!) working together to get fitter and feel stronger. It’s a place where it’s celebrated to leave the laundry and go for a run, and where carving out a small fraction of the day for yourself is the main goal.
I’ve brought in guest experts, created a clear and flexible training program with our resident coach, and I can’t wait to get started.
Good luck on your running adventures my friend. Be kind to yourself. You’ve got this.
Turia Pitt is a bestselling author, mum and coach.
RUN with Turia starts Feb 15. Visit turiapitt.com/run to learn more and as a special gift to Body+Soul readers, you can get 10% off using code BODYANDSOUL at checkout.