1 year, a 1-year-old & TNF100 – Part 2

maybe actually runningThe response to my first post from my family was as follows; Mum – ‘I’ve seen you run… you have a lot of work to do’, Dad- ‘you should consider running at night time, so as not to scare the neighbours’. There is a long history of running insults in my cycling/rowing family. I recall that after a school athletics carnival, one of the aforementioned parentals likened my running style to that of a pregnant bovine (so graceful, so efficient!). Thanks to running with a pram I think I have now developed a more zombie like style – hands forward with a slightly lurching cadence.

However, what I lack in efficiency I am making up for in effort and this blog is making me quite accountable! Over the past fortnight I’ve graduated from jog/shuffle/walk/jog to continuously jogging my 7.5km loop when pram free. A small improvement, but I feel like it is progress. I only need to increase the distance 8 fold, add in some technical descents and steep climbs, and I’ll be trampling all over the NF!

My sessions with Sol in the pram are generally fartlek in style. He is such a lazy training partner, preferring to snooze most of the time, and then wanting to be carried if he is awake. Still, I get my heart rate up and legs going, so as far as I am concerned it still counts as training. Here is a rough outline of my 10 step sessions with Sol;

  1. Feed baby, plonk him in pram and get moving as quickly as possible.
  2. Ignore a few cries of protest, push pram over every crack in the footpath (demented pram running) to create vibrations until he falls asleep.
  3. Asleep. Good, should have at least 30 minutes. Pram run zombie shuffle style.
  4. On cue, 2km from home baby wakes up and starts to whimper.
  5. Ignore crying until it gets loud enough for people to start looking at me with disapproval/pity.
  6. Pick up Sol, walk/push/carry – he is very happy now so attempt to put back in pram.
  7. Talk in a ridiculous happy voice as I attempt pram re-insertion.
  8. Sol looks very displeased and waves his little arms around vigorously. Full blown squawking is only moments away.
  9. Try to cover some ground by running as fast as possible without giving Sol shaken baby syndrome in the pram.
  10. 10.  Whimpering starts again, repeat from step 5.

SOl laughing at meI am complementing my shuffle training with time on the indoor trainer as I figure that any fitness is good fitness at this point. While Sol seems quite happy to roll around on the floor for up to an hour if I periodically drop soft toys is his general direction, I am never quite sure how long I will have before the array of stuffed dinosaurs fails to be amusing. Therefore, I jump on the bike and try and get the revs and heart rate up over the 145bpm mark straight away (surely warm-ups are overrated for endurance sports?).

In my former life as an elite rower, percentages of maximum heart rate were used to determine training zones, monitor workload responses, and keep a tab on fatigue. Heart rate is a good guide of working intensity but it is influenced by things like temperature (hotter = higher), fatigue (over fatigue = difficulty in achieving threshold heart rates and the ‘flogging a dead horse’ scenario), as well as hydration levels (dehydration= elevated HR). Not to mention the impact of a few coffees! However, at the moment it is a good method of keeping my workouts honest and ensuring I am not just wearing the pram wheels out. Interestingly, when I HR monitored a few recent shuffles my heart rate was higher when pram free – not what I expected. Time to strap that baby in and get moving a bit faster!

Bron Watson

Olympian, World Champion, Motivational Speaker , new Mum, Aspiring North Face finisher.