We at NappyValleyNet are joining the Pink Army and taking on the
Battersea Park 5k on 10th June. Tempted to join us? We’d love you to.
Here are a few pointers to get you in the right frame of mind
If you’re a new mum wanting to set yourself an achievable fitness goal, taking part in Cancer Research UK’s Race for Life is the perfect motivation to help you get back in shape whilst raising money for a good cause.
Becoming more active also has longer-term benefits, as research shows that regular, moderate physical activity reduces the risk of cancer. Not only does it help you keep a healthy body weight, it also has a protective effect in itself.
Race for Life is about an army of women, of all ages, shapes and sizes, crossing the finish line together in the fight against cancer. It doesn’t matter how fit or fast you are, participants can choose to walk, jog or run the 5k course and many of the 18 events taking place across London are buggy-friendly. Plus, by taking part you will be raising vital funds to find cures for over 200 types of cancer affecting men, women and children.
Race for Life’s official partner Kiqplan offers advice on how new mums can get running again:
- Don’t run before you can walk – give your body time to recover and speak to your GP before undertaking any exercise, especially if you’ve had a caesarean. If given the go ahead by your doctor, ease yourself in gently and gradually build up your level of activity.
- Give your pelvic floor a workout – before you undertake any exercise, make sure your pelvic floor muscles are in good shape.
- Bank your hours – when you have a new baby you often don’t have the time or money to spend at the gym. But it needn’t be a chore to fit a little training into your new routine. Gentle exercise such as taking the baby for a walk will help you and has positive benefits for both you and your child.
- Get off on the right foot – women’s feet can change a lot whilst pregnant and after the baby is born so you might want to invest in a new pair of trainers. You don’t need to buy the latest design just a comfortable and supportive shoe – perfect for pounding the pavements with the buggy.
- Stay hydrated – make sure you drink enough water before and after any physical activity, particularly if you’re breastfeeding.
- Recruit your friends – having a shared goal can be really motivating and can help to keep you on track, so why not give your social-life a workout too and sign-up for Race for Life with a group of your friends. Most women can walk 5k whilst chatting and having fun. We know we at NappyValleyNet will be doing just that!
Top tips for running with a buggy
Many of the 5k and 10k events taking place across London are buggy-friendly, including Battersea Park next week.
So, if running with your child’s buggy is part of your fitness routine, there are some simple steps you can follow to make sure things go smoothly.
Fitness trainer Nicky Lawson from Kiqplan, offers her advice:
- How old should my child be before I run with them? Advice varies but it is generally recommended that babies should be able to sit up and hold their head properly before you start running with them, so around six to nine months of age.
- Should I buy a specialist stroller? If you specifically want to run with your baby or toddler, buy a specialist running stroller suitable for the terrain that you want to run on with a wheel size of 16 inches or larger. Some are designed for off-road running, whilst others cater for smooth pavement running, so think about where you live and research the best buggy for where you want to run. Stability and comfort for you and your child are important, so make sure the buggy has suitable suspension and shock absorption too. Also try and buy one with a handbrake and ideally a sun screen for running on sunny days.
- Be prepared. Wear suitable footwear, make sure you drink enough water before and after any physical activity (see above) and remember to warm up and cool down.
- How should I run? Posture when running with a buggy is very important. Have a light grip on the handlebars and use a wrist strap so that the buggy is attached to you. If the front wheel of your buggy swivels you should lock it into a fixed position for stability. Make sure you run with your chest out, shoulder blades back and down and you are in an upright/tall position. Your buggy’s handle bars should sit at the right height for you so you are not stooping over, which could lead to injuries and lower back pain. Keep your elbows soft, not locked out, and when running, keep your core drawn in to support your lower back.
- Park or pavement? For younger babies, start with running in your local park if it has footpaths, or quieter roads where you might feel most comfortable. Running through the middle of town on a busy shopping day is not going to be much fun for you or the people trying to get out of your way! If possible try to run in areas that are not ‘traffic heavy’ to avoid pollution and obvious hazards like crossing busy roads.
- How fast should I go? You should run at a pace that you and your child are comfortable with.
- Is there any evidence to show babies enjoy being in the buggy more if it’s going at speed? Some babies are more likely to enjoy ‘running’ in their buggy than others. Most babies enjoy motion and tend to fall asleep during car journeys or out in the pushchair so you could time your runs just before nap time so baby sleeps while you are running. As they get older (toddler stage) they may enjoy running in the stroller so much they want to be awake and see what is going on.
- How long should you aim to run with the buggy for, before the child gets bored? This is down to individual babies and may be subject to their age and how long a nap time they have. Younger babies are more likely to be content in the buggy on a run for longer than an active toddler who wants to get out and play. If you want to go on longer runs and your baby/child seems to be getting bored, you could always break the run up by stopping half way and letting them get out and run around the park for a bit to make it more fun.
- Make it social – having a shared goal can be really motivating. Why not take your baby and buggy out with a friend or two?
Kiqplan’s Race for Life app uses information from your smart phone or activity tracker to create a personalised training plan, send you workouts, step targets, nutritional advice and motivational tips. Free training plans for different levels of ability are also available on the Race for Life website.