March 10, 2014
At a guess I would imagine the average first time marathoner is in their late twenties? maybe its even later in life that desire to run long takes a hold. My daughter however first made her way round the iconic London Marathon route at only 5 weeks, no not 5 weeks old…5 weeks in gestation. Yep thats right, I ran the London Marathon in 2012 and I was about 5 weeks pregnant.
I didn’t know at time of running the 26.2 miles of course, instead I discovered I was to become a mum roughly 10 days later after almost fainting on a short recovery run. At first I thought it was my body protesting and saying “please Ju not again”
But no, I was to become a mum.
And do you know what the single biggest fear I had during my pregnancy was?
I worried that I would never run again.
Most mums worry about the pain of childbirth, how they will cope financially, or they may stress about stretch marks and getting varicose veins and of course most importantly having a healthy baby, and yes I did think about these things from time to time but my overarching thought over the next 8 or so months was…
Will I ever be a proper runner again.
Working my way up to my first marathon was the biggest accomplishment of my life and I feared that now I had done it once I would lose the will to do it again. I worried that once I become a mother I would no longer have time. I feared I would never lose the stupid amount of weight I had put on. I worried I would never prioritise my own needs over the care of my first born child and would instead become a frumpy mother with elasticated jeans, engrossed in daytime TV and indulging in chocolate hobnobs by the packet all day.
I needn’t of worried.
It was just 7 weeks after Rose was born that I put my trainers back on, far too soon I know but I was keen. I went back out at about 10 or 12 weeks to my first 5k, most of which I walked by the way. But bit by bit over the next 14 months I slowly but surely built back up my stamina and my speed, and lost a significant amount of weight (over 4 and a half stone so far)…whereby I am now quite close to me pre pregnancy weight and probably at a similar level of fitness too, with my second marathon just 4 weeks away.
So it can be done.
But what people may not know is just how pig headed you have to be, how creative, how determined to fit exercise in on top of being a mum, which seriously is a full time job and then some. Many of my mummy friends continually ask me “how do you find the time” or “how do you motivate yourself” and I soon realised I had a whole heap of answers to those questions and many of them were not the bog standard “oh you just have to make time” responses.
Which is where the idea for my book “99 ways to run with a baby” came from.
I started jotting down all of the things I had tried since Rose was born, things to improve my posture, techniques for building back up my strength, basis weightloss activities, strategies I had used for multitasking and negotiating the childcare arrangements when I had something in the diary that could’t change.
I also listed some of the more traditional mummy specific exercise initiatives such as buggy fit classes, and things that “normal” runners take for granted like going to parkrun every weekend.
I also thought long and hard about what motivated me to get back out there and how you really need to get your head right and find support from loved ones to make it happen.
Before I knew it I had well over 100 things on my list, and the rest is history I guess!!
On the 26th March I will be officially launching the ebook at an event in the Queen Elizabeth Park near where I live, and where I am soon to start my fourth regular “mums on the run” session in East London.
The book which has been selling well on Amazon is already getting lots of great reviews, with readers giving it 4 and 5 stars and comments like
I read this book and thought that the information was not only vital to new mothers, but I also loved the personal tone that Julie sets. Many new mothers will be able to relate to Julie. The steps are easy to follow and really simple to implement into your life.”
Easy to read and understand. Packed full of advice not just for running but for starting exercise alongside motherhood. My children are 6 and 12 years old so this book doesn’t just apply to babies.
I’ve been running for just over a year and being a working mum of a 14 year girl.. I’m constantly trying to be all things to all men (well one man really).. its hard work and at times frustrating. I loved the introduction about prioritising, which with the support and encouragement of my family I have done. The book will be a great introduction to new runners (and filled in a few gaps for me)
Writing this book has made me realise just how much I love being a mum. I love the challenges it throws at you. The way you have to problem solve constantly and not let things get in the way of your plans, while at the same time take quite a relaxed attitude towards arrangements.
When I go out for a run now I appreciate the fact that I am able to run. Not just physically, but the fact that I have managed to arrange childcare or that I have found an activity where I can take Rose along with me. I amaze myself that I run at the end of a busy day and that I am not a complete exhausted mess and still have the desire to run.
And I love when I come home red faced from a run, that my daughter shouts “mummy” as I come through the door and heads straight over for a cuddle despite the fact I stink. Rose is only 14 months old but she knows that mummy disappears at the weekend before she wakes up and comes back to take over from daddy in the afternoon to play.
This image popped up on my newsfeed yesterday on Facebook and it really made me smile. Unfortunately the skateboard pushchair is not available to buy yet but is a concept being developed by Quinny which may well be on the market one day soon (where do I sign up?). You can find out more about it here.
I am glad that exercising with your children is becoming more acceptable and normal in todays hectic world. If you listened to the headlines on the TV and in the papers you would think nobody in the UK worked out and that we were all couch potatoes with no hope. I am glad that companies are developing fun products like these to make this feel like a desirable lifestyle.
At my book launch later this month I will be giving a short talk about what I think the main barriers are for mums wanting to exercise, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Do you think attitudes to exercise are changing for mums? Is there enough support and information out there to encourage mums to be active? Or have mums always just got on with it?
For any mums living in the London area that are available on the 26th March from 1-2.30pm and would like to attend the launch, please give us a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org the event includes a free 45 minute practical session subject to weather conditions but places are limited so please book in advance.
And for anyone wanting to download the book, it is currently available for just £2.99 on Amazon. Please help spread the word and tell all your mummy friends. The book is not just for new mums as it is split into the various development stages right up to having adult children.