This post probably contains affiliate links, to items I am in love with, and I am confident you will too! For any health advice I give on nutrition and weight loss, make sure you check with your doctor, as I am not a health professional. I am just a mama with lots of health and fitness knowledge and experience.
I finally started consistently running again, after being pregnant or nursing for over 5 years. I had three babies in just over three years, and I am just finishing nursing my third baby now. It is really hard to get into a fitness routine once you have kids. I struggled the most after my first baby, and I really didn’t get back into a fitness routine much. With my second I was a little better, and now I am finally back to running again. I can actually say I’m a runner, and it makes me so happy! I run with my stroller, with two of my kids most the time (the hubby takes one), but sometimes I pile all three in, and rarely I go with one or by myself! If you follow me on Instagram, you will see all my running adventure stories. Sometimes it’s the baby and the dog, other times its the all three kids and the dog. The dog, Theodore, doesn’t run, so I basically have a big load.
Taking all FOUR on a run! I’m getting g good at this running with toddlers thing! With one being out of school today, I just piled them in! I also did a run with @aaptiv and loved it! I actually played it for the boys to listen too. I ran way harder, listened to Pearl Jam, and it kept everyone entertained! #fitmom #runmamarun #momswhorun
Now, I am assuming you are thinking about signing up for a 5k race, or already have. I say do it! Training with a stroller has actually been a big help for me. There is a lot of resistance, which really makes your running so much better. I ran a 5k back in December, and I was very happy with my time. I was the first in my age group, running about an 8:30 min mile. Get this, I WAS NOT running that on my runs with the stroller. I was running 10 minute miles on average. So, the point of the story is if you are running with a stroller, you can definitely train well for a 5k. I am running another 5k this weekend, and I am excited to see if my time is even better! Now, let’s get into how to train.
First, you want your nutrition to be on-point. The leaner you are, the faster you will go. Your muscles will have less weight to carry. I do a lot of protein and healthy carbs. I am not much of a meat person, so I love my protein shakes. I just made a spinach one before sitting down to write this post. It is a quick way for me to get in a lot of nutrients while breastfeeding. I talk all about why this protein is my favorite for breastfeeding mamas. It’s super lean, full of MILK-BOOSTING ingredients, and it is super natural. Great for you and baby. I have some recipes and more information on protein powder in some posts I will link below. Or, just follow me on Pinterest to see what other posts I have that can help you chose a protein powder, or decide what to make! On my Instagram feed you’ll see some awesome, super fudgey protein powder brownies I made. So good!
These brownies are literally my breakfast!! I should’ve waited longer to put the chocolate-peanut butter frosting on top, and maybe style the photo, but whatever. They are already gone! I didn’t create this recipe, but it is linked in my profile. They are protein powder brownies, and literally you can eat them for breakfast! Super fudgy! The frosting recipe is my own creation with peanut butter powder, and I’ll put that in my stories here soon! I’ll also give more details on this recipe, and how I am going to make some changes next time! Hope you all have brownies for breakfast too!! #proteinrecipe #proteinbrownies #proteinpowder
Anyways, nutrition will be a completely different post, but I do think a protein powder is super important, especially if you are working out while breastfeeding.
Let’s get to the training! Here’s how you can train with your stroller, plus some stroller running tips!
First, running with a stroller is awkward!! I am not a fan really, but it is the only way I can get out and run as much as I would like too. To make it a little less awkward, run with one hand, and alternate hands that are pushing. I switch every couple minutes or so. It helps balance your body out a bit. If you can, and it is safe, push your stroller ahead for a bit, and run to catch it. That will give you an opportunity to run more upright. Also, if you have a lighter load, like one child, run as much with one hand (alternating) as possible, so you can move and pump the other hand. That will encourage you to find a stride and rhythm.
Let’s start with 4 weeks from race day. At this point, or even father out, you want to just build up your endurance. This is where I encourage you to put in 4 miles or more every time you go. Get yourself jogging 4 miles no walking. Start by counting how many times you walk. Then, keep reducing the number of times you walk. For example, let’s say you walked 5 times the first time. The second time, maybe you did 5 again, so the third time you go, take away a walk. Make yourself push through it. I would do it in the beginning, when you are less tired at this point. Skip your first walk.
You are going 4 miles because by the time you get to race day, a 5k will feel short! We don’t want it to feel like you are running forever. At mile 2, the last mile always feels so long, but because you’ve been training with 4 miles, the last mile won’t be so challenging.
Getting your kids to stay entertained will start to become your biggest challenge. Especially, while you are running slower. It will take longer, and they will get bored. I go at times I know they are tired, or I load them up with snacks. Luckily, mine are used to the stroller and the routes we go, so they look forward to it before a nap or after. I noticed that after a nap, they are still groggy, and they will relax and slowly wake up in the stroller. This will take some practice, but you will get faster, and they will do better!
And you must get some wireless headphones. These have been amazing, and then you can ignore the chatter of the kids, pretend you’re listening and crank up your music, I personally got tired of my playlist fast, and I now run with a trainer through this app. Great music, and I run way more efficiently, with better form and push myself every time.
Moving to 3 weeks from race day. Your first week is building a habit and endurance. Same with your second week of training. You want to eliminate all walking this week, and make sure you can jog 4 miles no problem. I’ve mentioned a few times on this blog how much I love this app. I train with Meghan, and she times my runs, plays the best music, and literally has made me such a better runner in terms of form and ability. You should really take advantage of your first month free to help you in the next two weeks of training, and there is a 5k race day session! I just did it with Meg the other day, and it was so amazing to have someone helping me, giving me times and encouraging me to get to the finish! I’ve ran lots of races over the years, and it is so worth it. You will find some great walk runs with a few different trainers on there too, to really help you push yourself into a full jog for 4 miles. Make sure you have some great shoes at this point too! You need light support. I just grabbed these from Amazon. Love them, they were on sale for $25 rather than $100, and I believe they still are.
If you check out these moves that are really good for your butt and hips, you want to incorporate these before your runs if possible. It will engage your gluts and hips, to help protect your knees. Glute engagement, quad engagement and hip strength are completely necessary to pair with running. Running is great for losing weight, but not the best for holding muscle. I myself struggle with this because I don’t have the time to run miles and do strength just yet. I barely get the running in that I’d like too with three kids, so adding a strength training routine just isn’t in the realm of reality for me now. So, I completely get it if it isn’t for you. Just do a few exercises before you go. Of course if you feel pain in your knees, hips, shins or ankles, then your joints are having a hard time. You will have to check with your doctor on that, but it could be just that your muscles aren’t supporting.
Moving into 2 weeks out. By now, hopefully you are jogging happily with your kids 4 miles. That is the goal by this point. To be able to run with a stroller for 4 miles. This is where you want to start feeling out your pace. I use Mapmyrun app right now, which will tell me my pace and when I get to each mile. So far it works great for me. You are also going to add some sprints to your runs. Before I had Aaptiv (my trainer app), I would just make myself walk then sprint the first two miles of my run. I would pick something in the distance, then sprint to it. Let myself catch my breath, then do the same thing again until I was half-way through. Sprinting with the stroller is purely not fun at all. I tried to do the sprints when I only had one baby with me, so I could really get my stride. If you can go somewhere where you can park your stroller, and do sprints, that’s even better. Then, you can either pick a distance to sprint away from the stroller, then walk back, or time yourself. With my trainer, Meg, we do a lot of 1 minute sprints and 1 minute walks. Try that for 15 minutes. Then, make yourself jog the last two miles. You want to do this a couple times this week. Three if you can. You are building up your speed. Making yourself jog two miles after springing sounds painful, and it may feel that way at first, but your body will be able to do it no problem. Your mind is just telling it it can’t. (Or so Meg tells me!).
Last week before race! This is actually where I am at right now. This week, I want you to do 2 tempo runs. These are harder than sprints in my opinion. It is where you run faster than a jog, but not a sprint. You up your pace and hold it for 3 minutes. Then, you go back to a 1 minute jog. It doesn’t matter what your pace is in the tempo run. It just needs to be faster than your jog, and uncomfortable by 2 minutes. These are the runs I don’t like. If your race is on Saturday, I would do these on Monday and Thursday. A sprint session on Tuesday, rest Wednesday and some strength work, tempo run Thursday and rest Friday. That should put you into a great position for your Saturday race. I haven’t run a race with a stroller. Because they are on the weekends, my husband can watch the boys. Do almost anything to run this no stroller. First, it’s really not fun to navigate a stroller through a pack of people. Second, you’ve worked so hard, and planned for this, so I hope you can get some child care for just a couple hours one morning. It is your time to shine for the work you’ve done!
If you use my tips and run a race, please let me know!! Send me an email or leave a comment! I would love to hear any training advice you have, or how you did!