Running as a Mother

By Eszter Csillag

There is never a good time to be pregnant as we are always busy. Your calendar will be full for 9 months and for a few more if you breastfeed. When you are a trail runner, which requires years of training before you see results, you might think it is all thrown out the window when your body changes due to pregnancy. As well, your schedule is filled up with new duties and responsibilities. This article is about how you can still make it and incorporate the new skills you have learned as a mom into your running.

Once you are a mother, educating your child is one of your top priorities. It makes me happy to see my daughter putting on the shoes I prepared for my run, or trying to put the heart rate monitor or the watch exactly on the right spot where it is used. When I am ready to go, she says, just like a good coach: “Run!” Sometimes I take her with me for a short run wherever we are, as she really likes it: we run by the sea, on trails, at home or in the park. Just like me, she cannot walk—she always runs. Seeing her positive attitude to running fills me with gratitude.

Yet, when I am running, my body and my mind become the protagonist, and what surrounds me is nature. I am running for myself. Trail running requires many years to improve, to grow and to be mindful. Did I have to give up all these efforts for my beloved daughter? Not really.

By becoming a mother, I learned so many skills which turned out to be essential for trail running. Pregnancy is like a long race: at the beginning you feel alright, then gradually you are more tired, but you still need to focus and keep going, and by the end you just want to arrive and relax.

During pregnancy and after, you learn to accept pain, to let go of your control over your body and life, to keep going without much sleep and to be better at time management. All these skills, even those learned as a “side project”, are essential for trail running. Women are known to be good at coping with pain; still, giving birth involves some of the most intense pain that can naturally occur to a woman. After going through it, the pain you feel during a race seems irrelevant.

We hear so many times to “run with the flow”; it is a similar mindset to the one you adopt after having a child: you do things without thinking too much and ultimately, you end up enjoying it. You learn to let go, and that is so good.

Instead of finding excuses why to give up, your body and your mind become resilient. You become stronger, and also happier as you have kept doing the sport you love. You understand that it all works out perfectly in the end.