Running Tips for Every Stage of Motherhood
Let’s chat about running, Mama. Besides the physical and mental benefits, one of the biggest perks of running is its versatility: you can do it anywhere, at any age, during any stage of life, whether you’re alone or with a group. It’s like the jack-of-all-trades of the fitness world! The hardest part? Getting started! A great way to get motivated is to set a goal, like an upcoming race (hint, hint we host one annually). Whether you’ve been a mother runner for years or you are just starting out, training for and completing a race is a major accomplishment. Add in raising a family, self-care, social obligations, and more unprecedented events than we can count, and this sense of accomplishment grows tenfold!
Whether you’re pregnant, newly postpartum, or a seasoned mama, we’ve got all the tips and tricks to ensure you can be a successful runner at any stage of motherhood.
Running While Pregnant
Despite popular misconceptions, if you were a runner before pregnancy and your pregnancy is without complication, running is typically totally fine (of course, you should ALWAYS check with your doctor if you have any questions or concerns). It’s important to remember: the amount of exercise recommended for pregnancy is the same as the general public (150 minutes a week), so if running was part of the plan, keep on keepin’ on!
If you did not run before pregnancy, although now is not the time to start, being pregnant doesn’t preclude you from being active and participating in a race! We absolutely recommend walking at a comfortable pace, listening to your body, staying hydrated, and stopping to rest as needed.
Whether you are running or walking, the most important advice we can give (besides consulting your doc, of course) is to trust your body. As you progress through your pregnancy, a hormone called relaxin relaxes the ligaments in the pelvis and softens and widens the cervix in preparation for labor. This can make movements that used to be comfortable and stable uncertain or uncomfortable. Take it slow, be mindful, and consider the following items to help you stay comfortable:
A quality, supportive sports bra
New shoes (remember that your feet may grow during pregnancy and your pre-pregnancy tennis shoes or running shoes may become snug or simply not fit anymore!)
Running belts (supporting your growing midsection will help with comfort! You may want to invest in a maternity support belt/belly band as you get further along. Many mamas find that they provide greater comfort for the belly, bladder, and low back while running. However, some women find them awkward or uncomfortable, so you may want to try a few different brands or designs to see what works!
Newly Postpartum (approximately 0-6 months)
While you may be anxious to start or get back to running after the birth of your sweet baby, it’s important to take your time. By being smart and taking it slower than you might wish, you are far less likely to have complications later on and you’ll return stronger than ever! While there are no specific rules when it comes to running postpartum, the following guidelines can help you plan.
While returning to exercise is usually cleared by an OBGYN at or around 6 weeks postpartum, assuming there are no complications, it may be beneficial to wait a few more weeks for a variety of reasons, such as pelvic floor healing. No matter how in shape you were prior to birth or how long you ran into your pregnancy, your pelvic floor and core are most often not yet strong enough to support running earlier than about 8-12 weeks postpartum. It’s important to regain strength in these areas to support a safe return to running and avoid acute or future complications!
After you've been cleared to exercise by your OBGYN, start by taking your baby out for walks in the stroller (we recommend BOB Gear). Whether it's a walk around your neighborhood or participating in a 5k—you're moving your body and THAT is what counts!
We love the BOB Gear Revolution Flex 3.0 Travel System for newly postpartum mamas and families. This all-in-one-box solution combines the popular Revolution Flex 3.0 Jogging Stroller and the Britax B-Safe Gen2 infant car seat. The infant car seat attaches to the stroller using the BOB Gear Infant Car Seat Adapter, which is included in the box.
Safety should come first before anything else, so a little stroller safety check (see the video below) is important before each time you take it out. You should also read the stroller recommendations and safety tips for your specific product. It’s recommended that you keep your baby in an infant car seat and adapter for the first 8 weeks and until your baby is about 8 months old, it’s best to keep your pace to a brisk walk. That being said, children develop at different paces, so be sure to talk to the pediatrician before you take them out for their first run!
6 months Postpartum+
Ready to take that babe and hit the road (or trail or neighborhood sidewalk)?! Once your doctors have determined that both you and your babe are ready to run, it's go-time, Mama. Proper form is important to avoid injury and for the safety of your little one(s). For example, it can be easy to want to hang on to that stroller for dear life; after all, you ARE pushing your most precious cargo! However, by using a light grip on the handlebar and switching arms every few minutes, you can avoid over-clenching and straining unnecessary muscles. Little changes can make your experience much more enjoyable, so check out the video below for tips on stroller running form:
For a stroller that grows with your family, check out the BOB Gear Revolution Flex 3.0 Duallie. The mountain-bike-style suspension makes pushing two little ones over sidewalks and maneuvering through trails as smooth as butter. Not to mention, it has 10 storage pockets (!!!) and an oversized cargo basket to make room for extra snacks, gear, and more!
Bonus: depending on your weather, you may want to add a BOB Gear Weather Shield to your gear! Wind- and water-resistant, the air-flow vents make the shield breathable, and it secures easily over your single or duallie jogging stroller.
In the reel above, you can see how you might get your bigger kiddos involved! If you've got one little in a stroller and another (or more!) that are beyond stroller age, have them bike, scooter, or run alongside you. There is something powerful about getting the littles active WITH you—the younger you start them off exercising, the more it will become a normal part of their lives! Plus, when you get both parents out running together, you can take turns pushing the stroller!
If you're looking for extra support, motivation, and coaching, look into whether or not your local franchise is running a Run Club+ session. The beauty of Run Club+ is that you are surrounded by other mamas (or families) with similar goals: to run a 5K, 10K, or half marathon. You can also check out this article from our Expert Advisory Board member Dr. Jason Karp, 6 Facts About Running as a Female.
Happy training, Mama!