Running with Baby

Running with BabyWhether you’re looking for a new challenge or are a seasoned runner, running after having a baby can seem kind of challenging. Your schedule probably just got a lot busier, and you can’t just head out the door for a run whenever you feel like it anymore. It’s a lot easier than it may sound though, and it’s totally worth it. Your body will thank you, and you might even make new mommy friends in the process.

First, the basics. You will need either a jogging stroller or a babysitter. The stroller will provide greater flexibility for workout times, but I’m not going to lie: they’re heavy! The upside is you get an even better workout pushing one, and you get to expose your child to your healthy lifestyle right from the beginning. If you are breastfeeding, taking your child is also very convenient if he needs to eat while you are out.

If you can, try and time your run right after a feed and diaper change. This should help keep your workout uninterrupted. If you’re nursing, it will also make running a little more comfortable for you. Grab an extra diaper and wipes just in case though, you can toss them under the stroller.

Most of the running gear required is pretty simple stuff you probably already have. Sports bras, though, are a little different if you are nursing, as most sports bras don’t exactly offer easy access to the goods (you may also require a more supportive bra than before as your bra size may have increased). This bra is very popular with nursing moms. I know tons of moms, including larger-chested ones, who swear by it.

If you’re getting back into shape, or maybe even getting into shape for the first time, running can seem kind of, well, awful. The run-walk method, where you run and walk for set intervals, is a tried-and true method to get running for longer periods. The couch-to-5K program utilizes this as well, and you can find lots of apps for your smartphone to help keep you on track.

Finally, it can be really hard to stay motivated, especially with so many new demands on your time (and sleep!). Joining a running club is a great way to stay on track and meet other moms. Search the Internet, Facebook and MeetUp for local mom running clubs. Moms RUN This Town has a lot of chapters across the country. If you are a military spouse, check out Stroller Warriors, which currently has 20 chapters worldwide. These groups are free, offer great accountability as well as experienced advice from more seasoned runners, and are a great social outlet as well, for both you and your child.

Meaghan Howard is a mom to two little boys, ages 3 and 6. She’s currently enjoying the expat life in Japan.

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