Running tips for mums

April 27, 2014

It’s that time of year again – that time of year when the sun comes out and everyone starts thinking about looking their best. And realises they need to get fit!

Running is one of the absolute best ways of getting fit – it’s free, requires no special equipment (apart from a pair of trainers and we pretty much all have those anyway, right?) and you can do it any time, any place, anywhere. But if your 20s are a distant memory and you’ve had a couple of kids, you might not know where to start. Can you really just get out there and start running?

I’m Sarah and I blog at MumofThree World ( I’m no expert. I’m not a fitness instructor or anything, but I have been running for 20 years, so there’s not a lot I don’t know about it. For anyone thinking of pulling on their trainers and pounding the pavements, these are my top running tips for mums to help get you started. I hope you find them helpful.
Weight loss and calories are stuff
If you want to lose weight, running is a good way to do it. You burn off 100 calories per mile, regardless of what speed you run. And it’s really good for toning your body all over too! 
The right kit
You will need to wear trainers right from the start. If you’re just starting out, a reasonably cheap pair will be fine. But if you’re planning to run 10k or more, or if you can afford it, getting fitted with a decent pair is sensible. Sports shops and specialist running shops can test the way you run and fit you with the best trainers for you. This will reduce your chance of injury. They will recommend you go half a size to a size bigger than you normally wear – this is because your toes get bashed against the front of your trainers as you run.You are likely to pay between £80 and £120 for a decent pair. Sadly, the brands that look cool are not usually the best brands for running.

You can run in pretty much any shorts or jogging bottoms and T-shirt. It’s not necessary to have expensive gear. But if you’re serious and can afford it, specialist shorts, leggings, vests etc help to regulate your temperature and are more comfortable to run in. A sports bra is a good investment too, especially if you’re big-breasted.

Photo Credit: orangebrompton via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: orangebrompton via Compfight cc
Warming up

I don’t warm up. This is probably a bad idea. If you go to an aerobics class, the warm up is often a gentle jog, so I see the running as a warm up in itself. If you’re new to running, it’s probably sensible to warm up. There is plenty of advice online.

Find a route

Think about how far you want to run and work out a route. Try to avoid too many hills, unless you particularly want to run up hills. You could even measure it in the car. Vary your route if you get easily bored, but it can be harder that way to stick to a particular distance.

Building up

Set yourself targets and build up gradually. The first time you run, you will probably think, ‘I can’t run!’. You will be out of breath early on, but that’s the worst part. Once you’re moving, you don’t usually get any more out of breath.After just three or four runs you will build up strength and stamina. Plan to run a mile first time. Maybe you will walk half of it. By your fourth time you may be able to run the lot. So build it up to a mile and half. And so on.If you are already running long distances, you will be able to build up your distance in bigger chunks, adding on maybe two miles at a time. Theoretically, if you can comfortably run eight miles, you can do a half marathon. But I wouldn’t really recommend running a half marathon without doing the distance in training. 

Food and drink

It is possible to run before breakfast if you intend to do no more than three miles, but generally I would recommend eating before you run. Always give yourself time afterwards for the food to go down – a minimum of an hour.If you suffer from IBS or similar problems, or there are foods which you know lie heavily in your stomach, avoid them before running! Anything which feels uncomfortable normally will feel a lot more uncomfortable when running.Make sure you have a drink before you run and if you are running a reasonable distance, take a drink with you. You can use a special hand-held bottle or carry it on a running belt. 

Toilet stuff

Always go to the toilet before you set off – both sorts.Running can make you need a number 2 and, while it is less likely to make you need a wee, running on a partially full bladder can make you very uncomfortable.If you’re going a long distance, make a mental note of the public toilets and if they’re not always well-stocked, carry some antibacterial hand gel and a few tissues in your pocket.

Setting challenges

If you’re the sort of person who needs a challenge, why not train for a race? If you’re new to running, you could sign up for a 5k or a charity run in a few months’ time. If you want to step up your game, try a 10k or even a half marathon. A half marathon or marathon is a big commitment and you will need to run long distances regularly to prepare. Think about how this will fit into your life. If you can’t do it now, consider it for when the kids are a bit older and all at school.

Running with friends

If you lack motivation, you can try running with a friend. This is something I’ve never done, because I like the freedom of just being able to go when it suits me and my family. A friend can help motivate you, help you stay safe and can help relieve boredom. But choose the right friend – if your friend is always busy, always tired, always got a headache, it could mean you’re not going out to run because of her.You could also run with very small friends of the human or canine variety (I’ve never tried either of these). Running with the right sort of buggy will provide you with a good workout, give you the flexibility to run without worrying about childcare and could even get your child to sleep (result!). A lot of people run with their dogs and find they are great motivators. Dogs can help you stay safe and it also means you don’t have  to find more time to walk them later.You may also be able to find a running club nearby, including clubs for beginners or women only. This is good for motivation, but if you are serious about your fitness, you will need to run at other times too.

Staying safe

In all my years of running, I have never felt threatened or at risk. But you still need to think about your safety. Think about where you are running and when. The local park is great in the day time, but is it still great at 6am or 11pm? Does your run take you through any ‘bad areas’ and is it possible to avoid them? Always run with your phone – you can get an armband or belt to carry it. This is important in case you get injured en route.

Aches and pains

You will ache after a run, probably the first few times, then your body will adjust. When you increase your distance, it will ache again, before adjusting again. If anything aches particularly badly after three or four days, rest it. If it’s still hurting, see your GP or a private physiotherapist.Other activities can affect your running. If you’re used to cycling, swimming or aerobics, your running shouldn’t be affected by them. But if you suddenly introduce something new into your routine, that can affect your legs and therefore your running for a few days. Even switching from flats to high heels, or the other way round, can give you unexpected aches and pains.


Once you get used to running, you shouldn’t feel tired. In fact, you should feel the complete opposite. You will feel more motivated, more awake, more alert and happier.Although when you get to very long distances, of around eight miles and over, your body is likely to feel tired. After a run of this length, housework or playing with the kids, might feel more exhausting than usual. 

Photo Credit: jacsonquerubin via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: jacsonquerubin via Compfight cc
Stuff you won’t have thought of

Look after your toenails and keep them trimmed. Who knew toenails could ache? They can and they do. Make sure you’re comfortable before you run – tip any bits of gravel out of your trainers and make sure your knickers aren’t going to get stuck up your bum! These things might be minor irritants for the first mile or so, but they can get really annoying after 10 miles!


Running is fun, relaxing, cheap and easy, so just relax and enjoy it.These tips should work for anyone of a healthy weight in reasonable fitness. If you have just had a baby, haven’t exercised for a very long time or are very overweight, it’s best to speak to a doctor before starting to run. 


[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Sarah blogs at | She is also a freelance writer | Follow Sarah on Twitter @sarahMo3W[/author_info] [/author]


  • Sarah MumofThree World April 27, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    Thanks very much for the opportunity to blog on your site. I hope the tips are helpful to you and your readers!

    • otilia April 28, 2014 at 11:38 am

      Very helpful indeed although I can’t take the route to running just yet 🙁

  • Samantha R April 27, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    great tips, I havnt been running in ages

  • becky April 28, 2014 at 6:09 am

    Really great tips Sarah…so useful

  • Jayne April 28, 2014 at 6:14 am

    Excellent tips, thanks so much for sharing. I’m planning to start running soon so these will come in very handy.

  • Mammasaurus April 28, 2014 at 6:17 am

    Love these – so handy Sarah – and I don’t warm up either !

  • Mummy Barrow April 28, 2014 at 8:01 am

    Great tips. I need to find me a decent sports bra before I even contemplate running!

  • jenny paulin April 28, 2014 at 9:13 am

    i wish i had the discipline to motivate myself to take up running (and a better pelvic floor muscle lol)
    it was a great read though with some really useful tips x

  • Amanda April 28, 2014 at 10:50 am

    Ohh these are great tips. I’m no runner, but I would definitely give it a go after reading this!

  • Manchester Mummy April 28, 2014 at 10:55 am

    Ohhh running… how I will only ever run if I am being chased!! 😉

  • Emma April 28, 2014 at 11:53 am

    Loved this, thank you! So many great tips and reminders. I really do need to get back out there…

  • Donna April 28, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    I actually said to my Fiance in the shower this morning (we were not in there together before anyone suggests it 🙂 ) that I wanted to start running again …… so perfectly timed for me. Thanks x

  • Kriss MacDonald April 28, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    I’ve just recently started to do some running again – still at the jog, walk, jog, walk stage – so these are handy tips to inspire me to keep at it!

  • Jen April 28, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    Once I get my iron levels back to normal then I am contemplating taking up running!

  • Nayna Kanabar April 28, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    Some really useful advice here. Personally I hate the cold so I tend to do my running in the gym.:)

  • Kate Williams April 28, 2014 at 6:46 pm

    I used to run and I miss it a lot, must start again! Even won a competition to do a half marathon in Chile, there’s something you don’t get to do just by sitting on the sofa!

  • Penny A Residence April 28, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    Wow, love that 100 calories a mile stat!

  • HPMcQ April 28, 2014 at 8:07 pm

    me and running aren’t friends not at all, however i’m married to a man who gets up and says just off for a run and will come back 4 hours later after having run to kent and back! (we live in london)

    all top tips, but still you won’t get me running! 🙂

  • Bex April 28, 2014 at 8:18 pm

    Great tips, I didn’t know that about the shoes but if I start running more I will definitely go and get fitted!

  • Liz Burton April 28, 2014 at 8:28 pm

    My Other Half is the runner in our family, but I liked your toilet tip – you don’t want to be doing a Paula Radcliffe do you?!

  • Rachel Humphries April 28, 2014 at 9:28 pm

    I really would love to start running again soon, I used to be a devotee, mainly to hill running, but my knees now give me alot of trouble, the article had some great tips, makes me very nostalgic for my good old days!

  • Clare April 28, 2014 at 10:51 pm

    Some very good tips.
    I go through phases and will want to go for a run….They are short lived sadly

  • maggy, red ted art April 29, 2014 at 8:52 am

    I have just started running again… SOOOOO must keep it up!

  • Anna April 29, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    Interesting! I didn’t know there was so much to consider with running

  • Hazel Rea April 29, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    Really great advice and tips. I don’t run but I walk a lot!

  • Michelle Twin Mum April 29, 2014 at 9:24 pm

    Ohh thanks Sarah (and Sarah) I’m getting myself psyched up t do a bit of running agian, Mich x

  • Morgan Prince April 30, 2014 at 6:28 am

    Great tips Sarah. I’ve just started running and I’d never even thought about the toenails thing! Thanks. Xx

  • Hannah Clementson April 30, 2014 at 8:32 am

    ooow awesome! I love running as a way of stress relief but I wished I did it more. Also wished I used the Gym membership I have! #badhannah x

  • WallyMummy April 30, 2014 at 7:07 pm

    Geeezzz- I need to get running again! No more excuses! You are inspiring me to get back on that horse (so to speak) heehee xx

  • Laura Cooper May 1, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    I really want to start running again, but it’s finding the time (and the childcare)!

  • Paul Wilson May 5, 2014 at 11:28 pm

    Good, sensible advice.

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