“Not enough time”, “no inclination/motivation”, “too tired”, “no childcare”, “not sure what to do”. These may sound familiar. Fitting exercise in as a mummy is a challenge and if you are not inclined anyway, it’s way down on the priority list. Today I have the privilege of interviewing an outstanding mother who is part of the Cardiff group She Runs: Cardiff. She is inspirational and motivating. This incredible mother not only has two delightful children but also takes time to look after herself and meet with other mums. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it so many times…happy mummy, surviving mummy. The need for our own self-care is not one we should feel guilty about. If we function better as a human, we will inevitably function better as a mummy. Here is the journey that our very own Cardiff mum has taken as she gives to her kids, other mums and herself.
When and how did you get into running? Have you always been a runner?
I’ve always done some sort of exercise; whether that’s cycling or attending the gym and I’ve often ‘dabbled’ in running. When I first attempted running regularly many years ago I made the fatal beginner’s error of going out far too fast, too quickly and ended up, unsurprisingly, injured! More recently, I’ve been running regularly for the last 18 months. I began one holiday in Majorca as a way to keep up exercise and it snowballed from there, including, just over a year after that first tentative 20 minutes in Majorca, the London Marathon!
What sort of exercise did you do prior to having children?
I cycled a lot when we lived in London, commuting to and from work on a foldup Brompton bike!
Did you exercise when you were pregnant? If so, what did you do?
When I expecting our daughter we still lived in London and rather than cycle, I would walk to and from work, just under two hours in total a day. I didn’t really know about any prenatal exercise classes back then. With my son, I did pregnancy yoga.
Have you found exercise since being a mum beneficial?
Hugely beneficial! Not just physically but it provides such important headspace; I feel it is a chance to be ‘me’, not just ‘Mummy’. I’m always in a better mood after exercising and that translates then to family life. The great thing about class-based exercise is you also a chance to meet other Mums and swap stories on sleep deprivation and have a good giggle over life with a little one. I’ve made so many new friends through run club or exercise classes.
How do you manage to fit exercise into the busy schedule of being a mum of two?
It’s tricky! I usually do as much as I can after they’ve gone to bed in the evening; a gentle 5k or a class. Then I save my longer runs for the weekend and try to get out early in the morning so the rest of the day is family time. I do struggle when following a comprehensive training plan and just don’t put pressure on myself if I miss a planned session – life gets in the way sometimes and in any case, family always comes first.
What do your kids think about the fact that you go out running?
They know its Mummy’s ‘thing’! And my two-year-old often wishes to join me… so we signed him up for the Toddler Dash at the Cardiff Half, he loved the build-up but had stage fright when it was his turn and my husband carried him across the finish line! We do chat lots about how running and exercises make you fit and strong; I just hope to be a good role model for the children.
Do you have any advice to offer mums-to-be or new mums who might feel nervous about exercise or guilty about going out to exercise?
Find a class or group that is set up for Mums. I can guarantee it will be welcoming and friendly and you’ll have a great time; it is very natural to feel apprehensive but I promise it will make a big difference physically and for your mental and emotional health. And a happy Mum means a happy family- it’s really important to create time for you.
Can you tell us a little about She Runs: Cardiff?
Some of us mums have formed our own women-only social run group called She Runs: Cardiff. Our aim is to develop a supportive, inclusive and friendly running community, for the benefit of our health, wellness and happiness. We are currently launching our inaugural run on the 13th October 2019 at 8 am from Pen-y-lan Library, this will involve a 5k run followed by tea and cake at Coffee #1, Wellfield Road. We are also planning to launch a 5k Wednesday night run at 19.30, from the same location. We also encourage members to post details on our FB group of their own runs if they’d like some company. In time we hope to increase to offering a 10k run on a Wednesday and Sunday, in addition to the 5k.