After a break in the series last Wednesday after an exciting(not really) trip to my birth center last Tuesday(check out here for my pregnancy update at 40 weeks!), I’m excited to continue our series in finding time for Mamas! Today, Brandi over at Crunchy Creamy Mama is talking about finding time for running and giving some tips to start…ones I hope to utilize once I’m allowed to exercise again!
When my first son was born, the baby weight fell off easily without much work. I didn’t exercise much, if ever, because I knew I wanted to get pregnant again shortly after my first son turned 1 and in my head, what was the point of exercise if I was just going to put on the pregnancy weight again? Really smart, I know.
Fast forward to my second son being born, and I assumed the weight would come up as easily again. You know what happens when you assume? Yeah, the weight did not come off quickly and it was hard on me. I knew I had just had a baby and it would take time, but the baby was sleeping great, eating great, and I wanted to feel great too.
My husband was able to pick up on the way I was feeling and suggested I start running again. Not because he thought I needed to lose the weight, but he made the suggestion because he knew running would help me feel better all around. When I’m running I get time to myself to recharge (as an introvert this time is a requirement), I have more energy, and I tend to make better food choices.
After my doctor cleared me for exercise again, I went on my first run in years, and it was not pretty! I think I lasted a total of 12 minutes and walked for the last three. My neighbors were probably concerned I needed oxygen and maybe an ambulance. I felt like I should have on a sign, “I had a baby a few months ago, have pity!” My first run didn’t set any world records, but I felt great (ok actually my legs were in incredible pain and I was breathing hard, but mentally I felt like I had conquered a giant).
Over the next couple of weeks, I kept running a couple of days a week for short runs 12 minutes, then 13 minutes, and then 14 minutes. I noticed a change in disposition and my husband did as well. He suggested I start training for a race to have a goal to work towards in my running. He told me to sign up for a half marathon.
“My dear husband has lost his mind,” I thought. But my competitive drive took over and I started to think, “Why not?” Well, I actually had a list of reasons why not: I had a baby, I had two children now to take care of, my husband was travelling regularly, I hadn’t ran regularly in years, I hadn’t run more than 9 miles ever, I would never be able to find the time to train, and on and on and on.
The first few months of running again were tough. By nature, I like things quiet. When I run though, the neighbors probably hear the music from my headphones. Seriously. I turn the volume up as loud as it will possibly go. At first, I tried to use my running time as a time of prayer, reflection, or meditation. As it turned out all I meditated on was how bad my legs hurt. Instead I turned my music up to full blast, it tuned out all thoughts of pain. As time has gone on, I’ve been able to turn down the volume slightly!
I notice a big difference in how I parent when I have time to run, or do a workout. Prioritizing running became important for more than the benefits to me, it helped me to become a better mom to my boys, and the whole family saw a benefit.
If you’re ready to get out the door and start running, here are my tips to get going:
- Set goals
- Short term Every time before I started on a run, I set a goal. It may have been determined by my half marathon training schedule, or it was one I set myself. For example, the training schedule may tell me to run for 30 minutes, but I would set a goal of 3 miles, or 30 minutes, whichever came last. When you start running, you may not be able to run the whole time. Set a goal for a run/walk ratio and keep it up throughout your run. For example, you may want to run for three minutes and then walk for one, continue that ratio throughout your run.
- Long term Have your short term goals lead up to a long term goal. Maybe you want to run a 5K for the first time, or train for a half marathon. By having a long term goal, you have something to work for and towards.
- Be flexible Stick to your running goals as much as possible, it’s why we make goals. Running should be an escape, a stress reliever, not another thing on the every-growing to do list that becomes stressful.
- Go further if you can Once you’ve completed your run, or you’re about to finish, evaluate how you’re feeling. Do you feel like you can go further? Do it if you can! Push yourself just a little bit more. You’ll feel great for going further than you planned.
- Stop if you need to stop Go further if you can, but know when you need to stop too. If your body starts to hurt in a way it shouldn’t, stop before you get an injury. If you’re fatigued, try a run/walk approach. Set a goal to run for X minutes and then walk for 1 minute. Or, it’s not the worst thing in the world if you need to take a 30 second break for water. Catch your breath and get going again.
- Pace yourself
- During each run Use some type of app/watch/timer that will tell you your pace. If you start off too fast you won’t be able to make it a longer distance. I always start my run at the pace I want to finish, even if I have the energy and feel like I can go faster. When you’re halfway, or more than halfway, and you still feel like you can go faster, then go for it! See what you can do!
- Training for a race Sign up for a program that will give you a training schedule for your race. It will include at least 2-3 maintenance runs during the week. These are shorter runs. On the weekend you will do your long run. The long run will gradually increase each week working your way up to race distance, with shorter runs every few weeks for a break.
- Prioritize Make your running time a priority, and get your family on board. Your run cannot be the one thing you fit in at the end of day after everything else is finished, you’ll never do it. Tell your family what you’re doing and why you’re doing it so they can support you—you’re getting healthy, you’re having quiet time, it’s a break for you, you’re training for a race, etc. Let them cheer you on and they’ll understand when your running is prioritized.
- Visualize your finish When I wanted to quit, I visualized the finish line of the half marathon and seeing my boys there. I knew they were too young to really understand the accomplishment, but it meant something to me for them to see me cross the finish line.
There are so many benefits to running beyond weight loss so get out and go! You’ll see and difference and those around you will as well.
I love this advice; especially the tips! I can’t wait to start running again and with women like Brandi out there as an inspiration, I feel like I may be able to! Her blog is a great one if you have an interest in food and exercise and you aren’t always a “crunchy” mama! You can find her on Instagram at crunchycreamymama or on Facebook at the same name!