Zahida Machan of­fers tips to get mom and baby rolling soon af­ter birth

Sherbrooke Record - - LOCAL SPORTS - A Run­ner’s Mind Chris­tine Blanchette

Ask a run­ner if it takes dis­ci­pline and pos­i­tive mind­set to stay on course with their train­ing, you will hear ‘yes’ from Olympians to the newly ini­ti­ated. Zahida Machan, an avid run­ner and new mother hasn’t skipped a beat since giv­ing birth last year. Machan com­peted in races up to her 37th week of preg­nancy and now with run­ning stroller in hand, her baby is with her ev­ery step of the way.

In a re­cent in­ter­view, Machan, who started run­ning to lose weight back in 2003, re­veals how she man­ages to stay fit de­spite be­ing a busy wife, mom and a com­mu­nity out­reach co­or­di­na­tor.

"This is def­i­nitely a chal­leng­ing thing to do as a new mother, but a ne­ces­sity,” Machan said, adding, “Run­ning is so im­por­tant to my men­tal and phys­i­cal well­be­ing, I have to pri­or­i­tize it. Happy mom = happy baby.” She con­tin­ues, “I also think it's help­ful to have an ac­tive life early on (which) will al­low that habit to con­tinue as the years go by. I want my daugh­ter to be ac­tive, so go­ing for a run to­gether now with the stroller will hope­fully nat­u­rally progress over the years as she de­vel­ops."

Machan is fol­low­ing an ac­tive life­style and be­ing a role model. She is al­ready think­ing ahead what it would be like to work out with her daugh­ter.

"Some day she'll be on a bike next to me run­ning and when she's ready, she'll be run­ning with me us­ing her own two feet,” Machan says, adding, “So I keep these ideals and val­ues in mind and sched­ule my work­outs into my calendar at the start of the week. Once they are in my calendar, they are much more likely to hap­pen and it al­lows me to make sure I get out at least three times a week.”

On ad­vice to new moth­ers she sug­gests, "Be kind to your self! Get­ting out there isn't easy, and do­ing so with a lit­tle per­son is very chal­leng­ing. It doesn't al­ways go as planned and some­times you are just too tired for a high qual­ity train­ing ses­sion."

Find­ing the right stroller is es­sen­tial to run­ning with baby. Machan says, "I bought mine sec­ond hand off a dad run­ner on Face­book. I guess my ad­vice is be­ing a par­ent doesn't have to mean spend­ing a mil­lion bucks on the right gear. Other par­ents buy things and need to un­load these items af­ter a while, so def­i­nitely see what you can find sec­ond hand be­fore buy­ing new. I was able to buy some­thing that some­one had used suc­cess­fully and ask him all the ques­tions I had about us­ing it."

Machan says, “Look for han­dles at a good height to hold com­fort­ably. I like mine be­cause it has am­ple stor­age be­low for baby blan­kets, essentials like my phone and wa­ter, bot­tles and snacks for baby, a rain cover etc. Other fea­tures of the stroller I have that I like in­clude: (1) the locked front wheel. This is an es­sen­tial for safety - you don't want some­thing that swivels when you hit a rock.”

She con­tin­ues, “Some run­ning strollers have the op­tion to un­lock the front wheel so you can use it for walk­ing around the city. Mine stays locked so I use it ex­clu­sively for run­ning.” Machan noted other im­por­tant fea­tures such as a hand brake and tether straps as very help­ful for down­hill run­ning.

She ad­vises, “Have all the baby gear avail­able in the stroller bas­ket should some­thing come up along the way, such as bot­tles, di­a­pers, food, toys, soother, hat, sun­screen etc. If I time it well, our work­out will lull her to sleep in the stroller and that morn­ing nap has taken care of it­self.”

A lit­tle bit more: “Keep ex­pec­ta­tions low - push­ing a stroller while run­ning is hard work! I ex­pect to go a lot slower as a re­sult.

Run with a stroller at least once a week, pay at­ten­tion to your gait and choose your run­ning routes as it isn't as easy run­ning with a stroller.

Machan is now back at work and plan­ning to run three times a week and she is also look­ing for­ward to sign­ing up for some runs next year. www.run­withit.ca

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