By Amy Darcy
Whilst I wouldn’t have admitted it aloud, I thought I was pretty prepared for all the changes motherhood would bring – how hard could it be? I was internally adamant that it would not change my lifestyle outside of a regular job. I planned to still exercise as hard, eat as well and socialise in the same manner. Now, all I can say to that is ‘LOL’. Any other mamas LOL-ing too?
A year into sleep deprivation from waking every 2-3 hours and exhausted from running a fast-growing business (healthy lifestyle blog, Eat Pray Workout), there’s been a few adjustments (OK, a lot of adjustments) to my expectations and the way I now aim to live a healthy lifestyle.
Exercise is something that I need to keep my mental health in check and found that running with a stroller has been a great way for me to exercise and spend time with my new baby. So here are a few tips on ways that you can make running with a stroller work and be both fun (yes, you read right!) and refreshing.
Finding the motivation
There were many motivators for exercise and running, and it wasn’t just getting my pre-baby body back. My biggest motivation was getting my fitness back after nine months of small amounts of low impact exercise. During pregnancy, I struggled a lot and did hardly anything, except a walk here and there. As a challenge to myself I signed up to complete a half-marathon when Finn was eight months old, so of course this was another major motivator. Other motivators included taking my dog out for exercise, a way to calm Finn down, to get us some fresh air and to get myself out of the house after being cooped up all day and night.
Getting used to a stroller
Don’t be fooled into thinking there isn’t any difference to running with a stroller – your time and distance WILL be different. Remember that pushing a stroller is pushing extra weight, especially on hills. If I wanted to do more than what I could manage with the stroller, my husband would come with me and we would swap every few kilometres.
Make it enjoyable
Let’s face it, if running turns into a stressful experience because of an unhappy bub or stressed mum, you probably won’t ever want to run again. Therefore, it is important to put extra effort into making it a smooth operation.
Find a stroller that is made for running. After trial and error I found the Bugaboo Runner worked best for me. Pick a time of day when baby is relatively happy (ready for a sleep in the pram is a bonus!), has a clean nappy, full tummy and the weather is fine. A stocked nappy bag and having a snack or toy on hand is great to give you some extra time in case bubba starts to fuss.
The route you choose can also make a big difference to your run. Make sure to consider the path width and terrain, how populated it is, number of roads to cross and hills to climb (the flatter the better when starting out), parking/access and how safe you feel. The weeks before you can run again is a great time to familiarise yourself with the path by walking.
As any mum would know – you must be flexible. Some days just don’t go to plan and you have to be okay with this. Be prepared for some shorter or slower runs or maybe none at all. It is acceptable some days to just go for a 10-minute walk or choose to have a sleep yourself while bub is napping – your health must be a priority.
Above all, eat nourishing, healthy food to give you energy, especially if you are lacking sleep. And remember Mama, you are doing a great job – you’ve got this!