Motherhood and running are two very important aspects of my life, so I’m excited to share some tips in this blog post! I'm a nurse by trade, but an avid runner. I enjoy running for fun and fitness, and I've been fortunate enough to run 4 marathons: NYC, Chicago, Miami, and Boston. Whether you're a seasoned runner or are just getting started, I'm happy to share my two cents to ensure you're properly geared for a great run!
As mothers, we know there are thousands of baby items out there, but you only need really only need a few of the important ones to make it through. I believe that’s the same with running. There are so many bells and whistles for running gear, but it comes down to some key items:
The right foot support
Supporting "the girls"
A simple watch (added bonus!)
1) The Right Foot Support
Runners tend to be creatures of habit. I'm a prime example. I ran in the same style and size running shoe since I started marathon training 10 years ago. When baby #2 was born three years ago, I was still buying the same shoe. It worked for me for years, and I didn't want to screw that up. But it was around mile 24 of the NYC marathon when my post-two kids feet really let me know they didn't agree. My feet were on FIRE! I wanted to kick my shoes off more than anything. Most women's feet change during and after pregnancy. If you're feet have been bothering you in your faithful style and size, it may be time to try something new.
Starting closest to your skin: moisture-wicking socks, such as Balega, and proper insoles, like those made by Superfeet, can be a huge difference in your running comfort. Head to a reputable shoe store and have the staff help you with a proper shoe fitting. The right shoe will maximize function and comfort and prevent injury. They should watch you watch walk both barefoot and in the shoe, and allow you to run outside to test the fit and comfort. The associate should be able to cut insoles to the perfect fit for your new shoes and insert them before you leave the store.
Take advantage of reasonable return policies. You may feel discomfort after running with them after your purchase. If so, don’t be afraid to go back to the store for help. For example, Fleet Feet Sports Carrboro has a 60-day return policy regardless of use. The store’s General Manager Katy Puckett recently shared her best shoe buying tips with me: “Treat your feet to the training partner they deserve and try to leave the matching to your athletic apparel! You might not love the [shoe] color every time, but I promise a shoe that works well and helps you reach your goals is the way to go.”
2) Support “The Girls” ;-)
Let’s face it, our breasts may not be as perky as they once were. Whether we breastfed or not, pregnancy and aging changes the shape of our breasts. (A moment of silence for our youthful perkiness…) Just like with running shoes, take the time to be fitted for the right sports bra. It’s recommended to be resized each year. Don’t be afraid to bounce around or jog in the dressing room. If you’re breastfeeding, there are nursing sports bra options. Moving Comfort is a popular brand.
3) Wear Breathable Clothes
Comfortable, moisture wicking clothes are important for a longer runs. 100% cotton clothing is not a good choice. Have you ever noticed how clothes made with cotton feel heavier when wet? Cotton lacks breathability and moisture-wicking, which means it holding onto your perspiration. You may find yourself carrying around an extra 7 lbs of sweat during a run with the wetness soaked into your clothes!
As with running shoes, effective clothing trumps style. A workout outfit may be cute, but if the top digs into your arms or the shorts cause chaffing between your thighs, you’ll throw in the towel out of sheer discomfort. You may already be hurting during your run, why add in another discomfort factor?? Personally, I LOVE running shorts with a built-in underwear liner and highly recommend them!
4) A Simple Watch is an Added Bonus
Truth be told: you don’t need a fancy Garmin GPS watch or the like to be a runner. If you’re just starting out, I’d say go watch-free and just try to run for 3 blocks, then 4 blocks, then 5, etc. To figure out the distance you covered, reset your car odometer for a new trip and drive the route you ran.
As you build up stamina and want to track your time or pace, a basic watch is all you need. My Timex watch is very simple and inexpensive. It tracks time, distance, pace, and mileage. If you do decide to purchase a GPS watch, make sure you know how it works before leaving the store. The staff should be able to help you get squared away.
If you're properly geared with supportive, comfortable foot wear and clothes, you're more likely to enjoy running. FIT4MOM Chapel Hill now offers a free Run Club on Sunday mornings. In January 2016, we'll offer distance and speed work training programs. You can also join us for our September Mom's Night Out at Fleet Feet Sports Carrboro. As one of our local partners, Fleet Feet Sports opens their store after hours so FIT4MOM Chapel Hill mamas can shop kid-free, sip some wine, and enjoy 15% off everything in the store! It's the perfect opportunity to relax with other moms AND get yourself geared up to run! (Added bonus: they sell Moving Comfort nursing sports bras!)
I hope to join you to see you soon for a great workout, playgroup, or Mom's Night Out!
Happy Running! ~ Nikki Brown