Fit to Push

Before baby Caleb came along, I was always an average speed runner. I always intended to buggy run after Caleb was born so much so that we bought a baby jogger running buggy from friends before he was born.

The buggy though was forward-facing and trying to get the parts to convert it to hold a car seat was a nightmare so I decided to use my travel system until he was 3-6 months old and had better head control.

Also it’s worth keeping an eye on offers as a new parent. Groups like Bounty who do your hospital pack provide discount codes for lower spec running buggies. It’s always worth taking advice from other running buggy mums. If you’re buying a buggy from new, some buggies are suitable from birth, others are from 6 months.

At just over 3 weeks we walked park run and surprisingly managed it in 49 minutes. I was still waiting for my postnatal check up at 6 weeks and so I walked a Santa Run that I had signed up to. Finally my postnatal check was done at 8 weeks and with the all-clear, I could start running again. It’s really important to take notice of the hospital postnatal exercise plan. As pelvic floor exercise are incredibly important as the number of ladies with weakness in this area is worryingly increasing. For 3 to 6 months after giving birth your body is still under the influence of relaxin, a pregnancy hormone which softens the joints during pregnancy. This can result in strains and sprains particularly in the knees, ankles and feet. It is vital you build up gradually. If you exercised before pregnancy be prepared to accept you will not return to the same level of fitness straight away. You can return to gentle exercise if you used to be energetic after 2-3 months if not it’s important to wait until you are ready.

So Caleb and I started by doing park run – but running it.  Finally I was running again and our weekly Parkrun sessions became our thing to do. Caleb’s daddy was too quick to run with us, but he did join us for some walks. After a couple of weeks of running with the travel system and dragging it around corners in South Park one of the wheels actually fell off. It was time to bring out the running buggy.

I adapted it with Caleb’s car seat inserts and at 9 weeks old he was in the running buggy – what a difference it was so light and bouncy compared to the travel system. Initially I was sure to keep my runs to tarmac paths where possible reducing off road running, to stop him being bounced around before he is strong enough. If you are running with a buggy suitable from birth they may have their own adaptations.

Parkrun became our thing and I was loving it, but I wanted to be able to be sociable at the same time and meet other mums who were interested in fitness, so I joined Fit2Push in Darlington. We meet in South Park on a Wednesday at 10am, and it’s great to meet other mums, do a running session and encourage each other.

A typical session involves a brisk walk to warm up followed by some dynamic drills such as high knees, bum kick to prepare the body for the session. During the session we will look at speed work such as relays, we may focus on distance and incorporate jog walking with pacing skills doing Indian file or hill reps. We focus on exercises such as squats and lunges which help to strengthen our muscles. Each session is completed with some stretches to all of the areas worked.

Six weeks on from my first Fit2Push session I am dusting off my run leader licence and leading a new Friday morning Fit2Push group in Billingham at John Whitehead Park.

I love running and being able to run with Caleb does wonders for my mental health and wellbeing, even if he does sometimes decide to scream the whole run or want to breastfeed mid run. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Deborah Jefferies

To find out more about Fit2Push run sessions contact Sisters R Doing It (SRDI)

Darlington – South Park –

Billingham – John Whitehead Park-

Stockton – Preston Park –

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