Running: The Key to a Healthy Body and Mind.

The physical health benefits of regular exercise are well known and widely promoted; children learn them in their P.E lessons, gyms promote them on their websites, and hospital waiting rooms plaster them on their walls.

Yet the stigma surrounding the often murky topic of mental health in this country means that the mental health benefits of exercise tend to be obscured. Despite the efforts of a number of charities such as HeadsTogether working to encourage open and frank discussions about mental health, the topic continues to be brushed under the carpet in Britain: a country where this year it is estimated that ¼ of the population will suffer from some kind of mental health issue.

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Yet the evidence is undeniable. An ever-growing number of studies have proven that regular exercise can help to prevent or alleviate the symptoms of mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. Just this month a major study led by the Black Dog Institute found that those who do not exercise are almost twice as likely – 44 per cent – to suffer with depression, compared to those who were exercising one to two hours a week. And the mental health benefits of regular exercise listed in such studies are extensive, from improving sleep and increasing appetite, to encouraging social interaction and boosting self-esteem.  

We welcome such studies here at TMR, but for us they simply confirm what we have always known: that running can make you not only physically stronger, but mentally stronger too.


We regularly hear from women within our community who tell us that running has been a lifeline to them, giving them the focus, motivation and headspace to pull through challenging times and cope with episodes of poor mental health. 

Because in addition to delivering the mental health benefits that all regular exercise brings, running also gets you outside in the fresh air where us humans are supposed to be, making it uniquely suited to functioning as a kind of therapy.

For many in our community who have experienced loss, or indeed new life and the post-natal depression that can often follow, running has been the only thing that has lifted their spirits and got them to get up and leave the house.

So, in an attempt to break down the stigma surrounding mental health and to spread the word about  the often overlooked but hugely important mental health benefits of running, we will be sharing some of these women’s stories tomorrow on World Mental Health Day. We will also be continuing this conversation throughout week by acknowledging International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, which takes place on the 15th of October every year.  This is a day very close to our hearts here at TMR, and we will be using it to talk more specifically about how running can serve as an important coping mechanism following the loss of a child, and about what we mean at TMR when we talk about “mums”.

Because too many people battling with their mental health alone don’t realise that the first step towards recovery could quite literally be the first step they take on a run.

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Being a Mum That Runs (A lot): A guest blog by Chrissie Wellington

In many respects pregnancy and childbirth are analogous to doing a triathlon, albeit ten times as hard and without the finisher’s T-shirt!


Despite the huge changes that took place – physically, emotionally and practically when we (and I say ‘we’ deliberately as I see this as a partnership between myself and my husband Tom, even though he didn’t feel much of the pain!) gave birth to Esme in December 2015 we wanted exercise to remain an important part of our lives.

In addition to the personal benefits, we wanted Esme to grow up with physical activity being normalised: for her to love being outside; to be healthy; to be confident in herself; and for her mum and dad to be the role models for this. We felt that doing sport would also make us better, more relaxed and fulfilled parents. It’s not something that’s a luxury, for Tom and I its part of being a parent and who we are as individuals – and doing physical activity is not something we feel guilty about, as long as we ensure that Esme remains the utmost priority.

I know that we all experience pregnancy, birth and post-natal life very differently, but hopefully some of the tips below will help you in your bid to remain/get active following the birth of your little bundle of joy.

Start slowly: don’t rush or panic: For someone so used to being outside and getting an endorphin fix, it was hard to be housebound and I felt claustrophobic and a little frustrated at times. I was also (irrationally) fearful of never looking or feeling the same again. After about 3 or 4 weeks I began power walking for up to 60 minutes between breastfeeds but, following the advice of the midwives and health visitors, dutifully waited six weeks to increase the intensity to a gentle run. I kept the intensity low and favoured slightly softer surfaces. Swimming was logistically harder to fit in because the pool opening times didn’t fit with Esme’s breastfeeding routine.

Keep the core: I resumed pelvic floor exercises a few days post-birth to minimise any ‘post-natal-peeing-yourself-when-you-sneeze’ problems – doing them while I breastfed. Having consulted a women’s health physio, I did (modified) Pilates exercises after three weeks.

Get the right clothing: A good-fitting sports bra was (and is, even though my boobs have shrunk somewhat!) was absolutely essential. In the first few weeks I was so well endowed that I wore two bras! I also wore a thin sanitary towel in case of urinary accidents, and donned my maternity sports clothing as it was a bit more comfortable.

Focus on nutrition and hydration: I ensure my nutrition was spot on and that I stay hydrated by having a bottle of water beside me at all times. Snacks are really important to maintain my energy levels, and in the early post-natal months I found myself eating countless plates of corn cakes with peanut butter and honey at night – with Tom playing waiter! We try to prepare large batches of food that we can freeze if necessary and also have easily transportable, nutritious grub – muesli bars, smoothies, bananas, rice cakes with peanut butter, sweet potatoes in foil – that we can eat on the ‘fly’.

Re-prioritise: Esme remains the utmost priority when planning and scheduling any activity. I wanted to be available to breastfeed on demand, and didn’t want my milk supply to be negatively impacted by exercise. This meant that some days I couldn’t leave the house, and on others I adapted my plans to fit.Larry Maurer P136 _aaaARY2089

Get sleep when you can: In the first 6 months or so it was frequently more important to have that 20-minute nap than it was to spend the equivalent time pounding the pavements, so I often opted to rest rather than get my sports fix.

Focus on what you can do: There are ways to combine motherhood and exercise. For example, with a running buggy, a bike seat or bike trailer. Some mums put their baby in a chair or on a mat beside them when they turbo or use the cross trainer at home. Doing long walks with the buggy or baby carrier are great ways to be active outside. Exercise videos make it possible to train at home and there are also parent–baby yoga and Pilates classes. I have also exchanged childcare with sporty mothers; they look after Esme while I run and I reciprocate. Some friends have joined gyms with crèches to provide the childcare while they workout.

Time efficiency and organisation: I seize small windows of opportunity with both hands. If it’s pouring with rain I still get on my bike. And it’s worth going for a run even if I can only do 15 minutes. In terms of planning, Tom and I tend to sit down together, look at our typical week and carve out slots that we can certainly allocate to training, and then look at secondary times that may provide additional training opportunities. Of course, it will be important to adapt our schedule when needed; abbreviating and shortening sets or sessions, or dropping one altogether. We try to make hay while the sun shines (or doesn’t, as the case may be). If we have time to train, we use it and don’t waste time faffing, ironing a T-shirt or deliberating about what energy bar to eat.larry-maurer-1.png

Multitasking is useful: Tom and I work from home but there could be the option for mums (and dads) who work to run or bike the commute. A good set of lights can make nocturnal journeys possible.

Join a group and lean on others: I couldn’t have done this without Tom’s empathy and unwavering support, emotionally and practically. We are a team – and now a family, and he helps facilitate my sporty urges which I really do appreciate! Being part of a supportive community is also great – that’s why TMRs is so valuable and successful. Myself and a few crazy, endurance-athlete buddies have set up our own little informal ‘Fitmums’ WhatsApp group where we arrange get-togethers to talk about sport, nappies, sleep deprivation, crying, teething and what races to enter – all over good food and a glass of wine. They have helped motivate and convince me that you can be so much more than simply a mum. You can be a This Mum Runs ‘fit mumand help inspire the next generation as you do so.

Good luck and never stop believing in yourself and all you CAN achieve!




Chrissie Wellington is a four-time World Ironman Champion (a race that comprises a 2.4 mile swim followed by a 112 mile cycle and then a marathon), and holds the current world record for the Ironman distance .

If you enjoyed reading Chrissie’s blog above, then you’ll be pleased to know that you will be able to buy Chrissie’s new book, To The Finish Line, in our online shop very soon.

This book is super accessible and aimed at anyone who’s set themselves an athletic goal – whether it’s to complete 5K or to run a marathon. It is packed with practical advice, information, musings and anecdotes,
informed by Chrissie’s own incredible career, and has a whole chapter dedicated to pre- and post-natal pregnancy. Look out for our posts letting you know when it’s arrived!


A rocky road to Canada: Nicola Welham reflects on her journey to Team GB

So, as I sit on the plane flying home from the world championship in Penticton, Canada I have 8 and a half hours of confinement (my worst nightmare by the way!) to reflect on what has been the most incredible week.  

IMG_0619When two years ago my marriage ended unexpectedly it felt like my world had ended. I had never felt true heartache until then, I didn’t think it could be a physical pain but my heart actually ached. It felt like a heavy weight on my chest – a pain I didn’t know existed. I didn’t know how I was going to go on. I had an 18 month old baby relying on me to care for him and a job I had to turn up for. It was Edward that kept me going. He was my drive, my reason to get up in the morning, to keep looking forward and believe that the path we were going on was the one I was destined for. With the support of family and friends I kept moving forward; some days moving backwards, but I soon learned that I always bounced back stronger. For them I am eternally grateful, for without them I wouldn’t be where I am today. Happy, independent, and emotionally and physically stronger than I ever thought possible. 

Having suffered from anxiety, depression and eating disorders in the past I was determined not to fall back into the dark places I’d once been. Edward needed me. He needed a healthy mummy. A mummy who could care for him as best she could. So, I made a vow to myself that if I did one thing, and one thing only it was to look after myself, physically and mentally. 


I have always been at my happiest when outside or keeping active so Edward and I spent as much time as we could, breathing in the fresh sea air. We are so lucky to live near the beach. Come rain or shine we’d be walking the dog or jogging with the buggy along the seafront. I would take Edward to the gym with me or boot camps, strapped into the buggy surrounded with books, toys and snacks! I grew stronger and healthier, I gained weight and had more energy. I ate well because I wanted to train. And I subconsciously filled my life with positivity. I believe like attracts like, therefore negativity attracts negativity and I didn’t have the energy for negative people in my life. I surrounded myself with positive people and started seeing the good in life, I was grateful for what I had – Edwards, our health, a roof over our heads, a future, the chance of happiness. 


My ‘hobby’ of keeping fit and healthy became more of a serious pastime when, with encouragement from a friend who was a personal trainer, I decided to aim for the Duathlon World Championships this year. I mean, I’d had a road bike for 4 months and had done one Duathlon….I’d enjoyed it so what was there to loose, right!!?? It gave me a goal, a focus to tunnel my emotions. I took on a coach and over the winter I trained 6 days a week. I juggled work, Edward and training. I Struggled with mum guilt, questioned regularly why I was doing this, who I was doing it for, what was I trying to prove to myself? But something kept me pushing on.

After just 5 months of winter training I qualified to represent Great Britain for my age group. Something I never dreamt would happen. I instantly discarded the thought of going. I had every excuse – I can’t afford it, I don’t have the time, how could I possibly leave Edward! But encouraged by friends, I booked my flights on a whim one evening (after a couple of glasses of wine!) and realised there was no going back. I found a new coach and upped the training, getting faster and stronger; physically and mentally. My  confidence grew and my self-doubt lessened. I met new people, attracted more positively to my life, and grew as a person. We’d survived. Edward and I had survived and we were stronger for what we’d been through. And I was going to Canada as a reward for how far I’d come.


The night before I left for Canada I sobbed for hours, realising I had to say goodbye to Edward in the morning. Leaving him for 10 days felt cruel and selfish. It hadn’t even crossed my mind until then. I’d been so focused on the present and hadn’t even considered the reality of leaving him, which made the guilt worse. 

That said, he ran into nursery the next morning happy that he was going to spend a week having sleepovers with friends and family while I was going away to race. And thankfully I’d cried all my tears the night before so managed not to make a scene at the nursery door!

So, I was on my adventure. I flew to Canada, met the most incredible like-minded people. The race couldn’t have gone better, I loved every second and came 11th in my age category (in the world!!!). I fought tears pretty much throughout the whole race. I realised how strong I was, how proud I was of the person I’d become and how much I had achieved. 


So my advice to anyone going through a tough time in their life, who feels like they can’t go on or think they are not worthy of happiness….find something or someone that you love and focus your world around it. Set yourself small goals and take baby steps. Get out for a walk or a run in the fresh air and smile at strangers, I guarantee they will smile back. Think positively and be grateful for what you have – write a list and add one thing that you’re grateful for daily. Switch your thinking from negative to positive and you will attract more positivity into your life.


You will have bad days, everyone does. But don’t let it knock you down – tomorrow is a fresh day and you will come back stronger. I’m living proof that life can and will get better if you want it to. Stay strong, stay focused, believe in yourself…you can achieve more than you think.

The Juggling Act: A guest blog by Team GB athlete and single mama Nicola Welham

I am beyond excited to be sponsored by This Mum Runs to compete in the Duathlon World Championships this month.  Their ethos is everything I believe in – overcoming adversities and barriers to be the best you can be, and using sport and fitness to improve your mental and physical health with the help and support of friends and family.


After qualifying for the Duathlon Worlds in March this year I dismissed the idea of going…I had all of the excuses – “I can’t afford it”, “I don’t have the time to train”, “I’m not good enough”, “I can’t leave [my three year old son] Edward”. But hearing friends tell me I had no choice, that it could be a once in a lifetime experience and that I should think of how proud Edward will be when he’s older, I started to dream. That it could be a possibility. That I could actually do this.

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Meet Our Mum Panel

Change is underfoot in TMR’s shop as we prepare for lots of brand-spanking-new products to be added to our growing collection very soon!!

We want to make sure that increasing our quantity of products doesn’t have any affect on the quality of what we’re offering you – we always want you to be getting the best.

That’s why we’ve set up our very own Mum Panel, a selection of real TMR Mamas of all shapes and sizes that will be testing out and reviewing our new products before they hit the shop.

So say goodbye to exercise vests that expose the dreaded Mum Tum, or leggings that fall down as soon as you start to walk. These Mamas know what you want and will help us curate a unique, mum-friendly collection of products for our shop, as well as providing you with honest reviews that will help you choose the right goodies for you when you shop with us.

And because we want our products to be right for you, we won’t sell anything that hasn’t been officially Mum Approved.

So say hello to the panel members…

Jane Galloway, TMR London:

Jane is convinced she is rocking her 40s, even though her boys, Max (6) and Will (5) try to scupper it! She runs to cling on to her headspace, likes to pretend she can sew clothes and would rather be by the sea. You may well find her leading a SW London run in her Angel Wings.

Claire Tiley, TMR Bristol:

I’m Claire Tiley, 42, live in Bristol and I’m married with two daughters. I’m a Company Director, have too many handbags and a slightly unhealthy obsession with Gary Barlow.

I started running in January 2016, am a Trundler and proud of it. I keep a blog. I love laughing, gin and tonic and dancing in my kitchen (ideally at the same time).

Catherine Cannel, TMR Bath:


My name is Catherine & I love running, music, and CAKE! I’ve got 3 children & a husband who also runs. I’m a part time Physio, and I’m a Run Angel in Peasedown St John. I started running aged 33 (7 years ago) when my youngest was 1…..what I love most about running is the feeling of FREEDOM……I am me, strong, sometimes emotional but more often grinning inanely as I reminisce while listening to 90’s dance music !


Keep your eyes peeled for more from these Mamas over the next few weeks.

Hot Yoga and Running – The Verdict

By Janie Ankers

Yessssss!  Was my reaction when I discovered that I had won an unlimited month’s pass to Bristol’s new hot yoga studio ‘Yogafurie’ based on Ashley Down Road in North Bristol.  At this point I hadn’t stepped foot in a yoga studio for coming close to 4 years, and prior to that my yoga style could at best be described as average…think of an elephant, giggling, trying to balance on a stick, and that just about sums up what I remember of it.


HOWEVER… since then a lot has changed for me.  For a start I have produced 2 children, and this of course means I am now 100% more invincible in terms of endurance and everything really.  Alongside that (and as a result of said kids) I’ve got really into running; I’m a TMR run angel, and a run maker, and I am unashamedly completely hooked!  So I’m much, much fitter than I was when I last tried yoga.  Surely now I‘m in such a different place physically and mentally, yoga will be a breeze, right?

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Introducing supermum Nicola Welham and her suprising rise to Team GB

Meet Nicola Welham. She’s a 34-year-old single mum to her three-year- old son,
Edward, and part-time specialist teacher for children with physical or learning difficulties.Bike photoIn October last year, Nicola “spontaneously entered” her first, local duathlon (consisting of a 5K run, followed by a 20K bike ride, followed by a 5K run) after a friend encouraged her to buy a road bike and take up cycling. Soon after, a trainer spotted Nicola’s potential at her local gym, persuaded her to undertake an intense training programme over the winter and Nicola’s sporting career began to snowball. Read More


The morning is English grey and drizzle. In twos and threes, Lycra-clad women and sinewy short-short-wearing men arrive purposely under the tree.

It’s New Year’s Day at Ashton Court and this combination of the young and old, the blurry-eyed and caffeine-fuelled are about to run that iconic Park Run 5k.

I’ve stood in almost this exact position many times. Same bone chilling drizzle, same kids (mine) snapping round my legs. Except the last time I was here I said I would definitely never ever, in a million years do the Park Run. ‘I’m just not built that way’, I said, ‘I’m not meant to run’, I said.

But one of those caffeine-fuelled women is me. Keenly scrubbed and hangover free in the middle of damp field on the first day of the year.  I set myself a goal of running the first park run of the year back in October when I completed something I never thought I would do – the This Mum Run’s Run30 programme.

You see, I’ve never run. Like, ever. Not cross country at school, not on the treadmill in the gym and certainly not ever for fun. It was something tall, fit people did. People who had their act together. People who ate quinoa. People like The Alpha Husband and His Alpha Mates, who churn out 10ks the same way they drink coffee. People who plan training camps as fun holidays for all the family (also my husband).

So I’ve spent a lot of time cheering from the sidelines. I’m a really good cheerer. Captain of the Support Team. Dashing off between checkpoints to be at all the key cheering stations at the exact right time. Laughing in peoples faces when they ask if I will ever do this.

So, you might ask, how on earth did I end up totally eating my words? Well, I blame Miranda. You might not know Miranda, but you’ll know a version of her. A lovely friend, just like you, who you bump into one day looking all bouncy and fit. ‘I did the This Mum Run’s Run30 course’, she’ll say, ‘and now I can run.’ ‘yeah, but you could run before, you’ll say, ‘I mean, look how bouncy and fit you are’. But it turns out not. No, she totally learnt to run on this course. From nothing. From a minute to 30 in 8 weeks.

It really was that one moment. Okay, so I’d been feeling increasingly down about my wrecked post-baby body and there’d been some light nagging from Alpha Husband, but I hadn’t really expected to throw myself into the course quite so fully. I hadn’t, but I did. Even though long and inflexible hours from the other half of the team (yes, I’m looking at you, Alpha Husband) meant that I did all of the homework runs on my own, often in the rain. The 30 minutes crept up on me, like all the best characters in a horror movie and seriously, I couldn’t quite believe I was running. Correction. A runner. And a really competitive one at that (hello, Strava!). Alpha  Husband was so proud that I’d come over to his way of thinking that he bought me a very expensive and impressive running watch for Christmas. It was a silver lining I hadn’t even expected.

So, having come this far and with that newly discovered competitiveness, I didn’t want Christmas to ruin all my hard work. Fresh from my win at The Birdies, I immediately signed up to the Run60 course. It promised to make me faster, stronger and, most importantly, make me a runner for life. Who can say no to that…?


Kelly Pike, TMR Bristol Mama


The TMR Year that Was 2016

Erm excuse me. Where the hell has 2016 gone? I’m sure it was only yesterday that we were saying goodbye to 2015, I blinked and now we’re sitting here in a Brie and Prosecco induced coma on the brink of 2017!!

Part of that is the groundhog day like nature of routines and school with young children.

And I’m sure that part of this feeling is just the sheer strangeness of 2016. Brexit! Trump!! The loss of so many familiar faces too – including my childhood hero and first ever female role model, the kick ass, bad ass, warrior princess Carrie Fisher and my (as it turns out misplaced) teenage crush George Michael

But it would not be an understatement to say that the super sonic pace that things have happened for This Mum Runs in 2016 have some part to play in this too. I am prone to exaggerate, but it’s no exaggeration to say that it has been the most life changing of my *ahem* humble 43 year long life.  I can also say hand on heart that it is the year that I am most proud of in my entire working life.

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TMR Yearbook: Class of 2016 – Tina Curtis

My name is Tina and I have just completed the This Mum Runs 5K+ course in Keynsham.

Tina, TMR Mum

I am 55 and trying to lose weight and get fitter. I have 2 grown up children and one who’s 15. I run my own Sign Company in Saltford, making signs, lettering vehicles, printing T shirts and mugs etc.

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