Helen's Story

"Running really helped me feel like 'me' at a time when my body

and life was going through massive changes!"

I had a really positive and trouble-free pregnancy meaning I could, thankfully, continue running up to 38 weeks. Running really helped me feel like me at a time when my body and life was going through massive changes! Especially in the first trimester when the tiredness and nausea were sometimes overwhelming - getting out in the fresh air and running or walking really helped clear my head and energise my body. I felt amazed at what my body was capable of - although I was training less, in many ways I felt stronger than ever. It was really nice to ignore the pace and just run for the sheer love of it. I’d have these weird (but wonderful) moments when I remembered I had a little baby on board to keep me company - just the beginning of many adventures we’d have together.

Admittedly, things did feel harder - the Sheffield hills were almost impossible to run up, my legs felt heavier, swollen feet made some shoes uncomfortable and the constant pressure on my bladder took some getting used to, but I don’t regret a single step I ran during pregnancy. 

Helen Quirk with baby.jpg

After having Reggie, I wasn’t sure how things would be, especially as the delivery was an emergency c-section. Seeing a physio at 8 weeks gave me huge confidence to gently move my body again. Again, I feel very lucky to have not had any complications, so I was given the green light to get moving. I waited until 12 weeks and then started a run-walk routine until things felt OK to run more. Everything felt a bit clunky, but just having that headspace and time alone made a real difference to being able to cope with being a new Mum. 

I had an entry to a half marathon 6 months after having Reggie that had been deferred twice due to lockdown and being pregnant. After very gradually increasing my running distance up to 10 miles, I felt ready to give it a go. It turned out to be one of the best races I’ve ever done - and getting a kiss from Reggie as I ran into the finish line will stay with me forever. 

My top tips for staying active during pregnancy are to take every day as it comes, acknowledge the amazing job your body is doing and surround yourself with people who support you.