Kathryn Hogben - Athlete Ambassador
Have you always been into sport and how did you first get into running?
I've always been sporty but got into running in my 20s and raced all distances up to marathon. I mainly swam towards the end of both my pregnancies and couldn't wait to start running again once my children had been born. My Instagram page @postnatalrunner shares my recovery journey back to running and racing.
What has been your favourite race to date and what is your proudest achievement?
I love the Sheffield Half as it's a great route in my home city and the support is always brilliant. It was my last race before my first pregnancy in 2016 and I aimed to run it again as soon as possible. Six months after having my second baby in 2019 I couldn't run more than a mile without discomfort and it was a long postnatal recovery to rebuild my pelvic floor and core muscles to be strong enough to train properly. I finally raced the Sheffield Half again in 2021 and ran 4 minutes faster than I did pre-kids! That was the point I felt like I'd managed to get back to being able to perform well at something that I love doing and it was amazing to have my children there to support me.
How do you overcome setbacks?
After I had my second baby I started running again too soon and my core wasn't strong enough so I suffered with pelvic floor heaviness and discomfort. This was a big setback as exercise is a big part of my life and I was keen to restart training. Previously my exercise routine only included running and swimming so it was a steep learning curve for me to learn how to properly rebuild the core muscles then reintroduce running as my strength increased.
My recommendation to anyone in the same position would be to seek expert advice and to be patient to allow adequate time for postnatal recovery. See a specialist women's health physio if you have any discomfort and work with a qualified postnatal personal trainer to rebuild core strength. This can be frustrating for someone used to pushing themselves intensively in training but long term can lead to additional benefits - I'm now running faster than before I had my children.
What advice do you wish you'd been given?
Not to rush back to high impact activity after having a baby. I was so keen to get back I was out running 5ks six weeks after delivery which was too much impact for my pelvic floor and triggered heaviness and dragging which got worse with each run. It's so important for mums to allow adequate recovery time and restore core muscles before jumping back into high impact sport and my recovery was longer as a result of doing too much too soon. I'd recommend getting checked over by a women's health physio and working with a qualified postnatal trainer if you're able to do so.
This is a great evidence-based article about safely getting back to running after having a baby:
What are your goals?
I'm passionate about supporting other mums to run and demonstrating that it's possible to get back to running and racing after having kids! I try to raise awareness of how to safely start running postnatally so that other new mums don't make the same mistakes I did. I also volunteer as a Run Angel with This Mum Runs, leading group runs which encourage other mums to be active, meet new friends, have some time for themselves and generally increase their wellbeing.
Personally, I'm planning to do more trail running this year and have my first trail ultra marathon in August.
Who inspires you?
All the mums who manage to get out the door for a run despite the endless list of jobs, lack of sleep and demands from little ones. As well as improving their own wellbeing they're setting a great example to their sons and daughters of the importance of an active lifestyle.
Why work with Sundried?
I love Sundried kit as its high quality and affordable, as well as being ethically and sustainably created. One of my most useful pieces of kit this winter has been the Pace Running Jacket as an outer layer on cold dry days or an extra layer underneath my waterproof when it's really grim!
To hear more from our ambassadors and get free tips on workout plans and more, connect with the Sundried Personal Trainers on our app.