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All moms should learn to run. There, I said it. And you probably hate me for it. Regardless, I hope you’ll take a few minutes to read the story of how I started running, why you should learn, and how to start.
So, there I was, still plastered with baby-weight and experiencing all those wonderful emotions that come with gaining weight during pregnancy. I tried losing weight with healthy eating, but it was clear my wrecked body needed more than a new diet. After all, I did carry and deliver two seven pound twins. But how could find the time to exercise?
After exhausting literally every other possibility, I realized that running with the jogging stroller was my best option. If I wanted to be fit, I had to learn to run. F*ck. Turns out, learning to run was the best decision I ever (reluctantly) made.
Why should all moms learn to run?
Running flattens that tummy.
The coolest part about this? It happens fast. Truth be told, I hadn’t been all that motivated on my weight loss journey because I thought my body shape was beyond repair. I accepted that the mom-pooch was a permanent part of my life. Wrong! After one week–ONE WEEK–of consistent running I recognized my body again. I still had some pounds to lose, but those core muscles were tightening up and sucking that belly back in. Hallelujah!
Running makes for a quick workout.
Sure, some people run for hours a day, but a 30 minute run 4-5 times a week is plenty to keep a girl fit. Don’t believe it’s that easy? Check out the latest recommendations from the American Heart Association. (Don’t stop reading if running for 30 minutes sounds impossible, we’ll talk about that in a minute.)
You can bring your baby (or babies) along for the ride.
Why should all moms learn to run? Because you can actually get a BETTER workout by bringing your kids with you. Can you say that about yoga or Pilates? Hells no. Run pushing a stroller and you’ll be popping quarters off that tush in no time. A used or inexpensive jogging stroller works just fine, but please be sure to check for recalls!
Running is darn good for you.
Even though some of us might hate it, cardio matters. You’ve got to keep that heart healthy if you want to feel your best! According to this Washington Post article, runners may live longer and have fewer strokes. Yet another reason all moms should learn to run.
Runners get to participate in low-stress competitions.
Who doesn’t love a 5k fun run? The best part is you aren’t really competing against the other runners, you’re competing against your last 5k time. Fun runs are a fantastic way to maintain motivation and keep increasing your fitness level.
Runners don’t have to be team-sport fanatics.
Running is a great option for people who don’t feel comfortable playing team sports. There’s no coordinating schedules with teammates, or worrying about letting your team down if you can’t make it to a game. It’s all about you, your time, and your personal fitness goals. Exactly what every mom needs!
Ready to get started?
Are you convinced that running is worth a try? Excellent. Let’s talk about how to get started.
Pick a goal duration time.
I started with one running goal: run 35 minutes without stopping. This seemed impossible considering my first jog lasted a whopping 5 minutes (if that), but I kept at it. I met this goal after about 6 weeks of consistent runs. Why make a duration goal instead of a distance goal? As you run, you’ll run the same distance faster and faster, while burning fewer and fewer calories. It sounds counter-intuitive, but getting in my minutes instead of my miles has really worked for me.
Don’t do run/walk intervals.
I know I’m going against the strategy of every couch to 5k app out there, but I never could make the transition from walk intervals to continuous running. I reached my 35 minute goal by running as far as I could at the start of each run, and then briskly walking for the remainder of the time. Don’t push yourself too hard. It’s important to stop or slow down when you start to feel out of breath.
I know way too many people who think running a 10 minute mile (or less) is a reasonable starting point. Um, that’s ridiculous, so get that out of your mind right now. Expect to start more in the 12-14 minute mile range, especially if you’re pushing a jogging stroller. If you really want to know how fast you should be running, consider purchasing a Fitbit and keep an eye on your heart rate.
Use technology to track your pace.
Notice your pace during your first running attempt. This is the pace you should stick with until you’ve reached your duration goal. I started running a 13 minute mile and didn’t increase this pace until I could run the full 35 minutes. If we don’t track our pace, we tend to increase our speed. This is great if you’ve already met your duration goal, but it’s frustrating if you’re still trying to increase the number of minutes and miles you can continuously run.
I use the Pace Control app for Android to monitor my pace. It’s free and you can decide how frequently you want audio feedback about your speed and distance. Where will you store your phone while you run? Forget that bothersome arm band and opt for a running belt. Also, don’t forget some wireless earbuds!
You’ll be thrilled when you meet your goal duration time, but pretty soon you’ll be itching for more. That’s when it’s time to start speed intervals. Don’t go crazy. Run at a comfortable pace for 2-3 minutes, then run 1 minute at about 1 minute per mile faster. As this gets easier, reverse the work/rest intervals. Run at the faster pace for 2-3 minutes and run slower for 1 minute. Eventually you’ll be able to run the entire duration at the faster pace. Success!
Don’t get discouraged in the first 10 minutes of your run.
I’m not exactly sure what the “science” is, but the first 10 minutes of my runs are always the hardest. I guess it’s just the body adjusting. The next 20 minutes are pretty comfortable, and the last 5 minutes are somewhat challenging. Don’t quit before you’re even warmed up! It does get better.
Consider a gym membership.
There are a lot of things that can spoil an outside run. Maybe it’s too hot or too cold, or maybe you run with a stroller and the kids just aren’t having it some days. I found that a gym membership helps me run much more consistently. I get to leave my twin toddlers at the daycare and completely disconnect from mothering during my workout. Sure, the treadmill is a little boring, but when you’re a mom boring is a good thing.
Don’t forget to stretch.
I like to throw in some easy yoga a few times each week to stretch out my hips. Fortunately, there are a lot of yoga workouts on Amazon Instant Video that Prime members can watch for FREE (30 Minute Flexibility Yoga is my favorite). Not an Amazon Prime member? That’s okay! Click the banner below to try it free for 30 days.
Alright! Grab those running shoes and hit the road. You can do this.
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