October 07, 2021

Steph gets real about her running journey

Ahhhh running… it’s one of those exercises which I used to absolutely despise. In all honesty I’d go so far as to say that I hated it. Whenever I used to push myself to go for a run I’d always put myself down and think ‘why am I even bothering’. However, this mentality was a by-product of never really giving running a fair chance – I simply accepted that it wasn’t my strength. I never approached running in a way that was manageable and enabled me to take baby steps that were suited to my fitness level to actually see progress.

But this all changed when I switched my mindset. I realised that a lot of the hatred I had for running stemmed from my comparisons. I would always compare my runs to others’ and judge myself for my slow pace or my short distance leaving me feeling deflated and inferior.

As soon as I stopped doing this and accepted my running abilities for what they were and understood that it takes time to build fitness, I started to hate running a little less. If that little negative and self-deprecating voice ever popped in, I would give myself a compliment on my run, and think ‘I should be so proud of myself for getting this far’.

I began to learn to celebrate others’ wins, look at them as motivation not competition and be proud of myself. This new mindset then spurred me on to start running more frequently and in turn I was able to realise WHY people run: because of that post run high. It’s a seriously good feeling if I do say so myself.

Now, that was all pre-Harvey. Once I got pregnant, I tried going for a run in my first-trimester and upon finishing the run, I was left feeling a little uneasy, something didn’t feel quite right and so I made the decision not to run during my pregnancy.

Since giving birth and being cleared by my physio to exercise, there have been about 4 times where the motivation has hit and the weather has been nice that I decided to take myself for a run. These runs were short and slow, only 3km or less but this was enough to make me realise how much I missed running and having the freedom to take myself on a run whenever I pleased.

Having now re-ignited my want to run, the launch of the KICRUN program couldn’t be more perfect. It has honestly launched at the best time because I’m at a stage in my postpartum journey where I am physically ready but also mentally ready to get back into running properly and regularly. I am so excited to follow the program alongside the KIC community all the way from week 1 to week 12 and see my cardiovascular fitness improve and finally have the confidence to smash a 5km.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am a little bit nervous about this commitment but knowing I’m going to have the KIC community on the journey with me comforts and motivates me so much. Like anyone, I absolutely get overwhelmed and doubtful of my running ability, but I’ve learnt to take the pressure off myself and just go with the flow. Some days I know I’ll feel like smashing through it and getting my heart rate up, while on other days all I’ll want to do is simply get outside and move my body. So on those days I’ll purely focus on moving at a comfortable pace to get through the session and just try and enjoy the run itself.

I’ve also come to be mindful of comparing my personal abilities pre and post Harvey. Pregnancy did change my body, but I’ll forever be in awe of just how AMAZING the female body is for being able to create new life.

For all my fellow new mummas out there who like me are looking to start or get back into running, try not to put pressure on yourself and just go with the flow – life is already hard enough with bub and compromised sleep.

I have made the commitment to complete the KICRUN program, and if this means two runs each week instead of the recommended three and I take an extra few weeks to complete the program than that is totally okay! I’m just going to try my best and find a time a few days each week that I know I will have an extra pair of hands around for Harvey so that I can go for my run. A jogging pram has also been on my mind… perhaps it’s something I need to look into now that I’m getting back into running as it certainly would be so much easier to fit a run in if I could take him with me!

I am so excited to rebuild my fitness and get back into running more frequently. I can’t wait to report back on my journey completing the KICRUN program. The KIC team have worked so hard on this and I can’t wait for you all to try it and fall in love with running.

Steph Claire Smith