by Heather Hann (that lady you always see out running with a buggy around St Albans)
“Daddy, why is that lady running with her pram?”
“Maybe she needs to get somewhere….quickly!”
And for once in a long time I do.
As I’m sure it has been for many runners in the past few months, it has felt as though I have been running to get away from the anxieties of lockdown rather than towards something. However as measures ease and our diaries once more are filled with races, we have some new goals to aim for. Mine is just a little more on the unusual side – I want to run my pre-motherhood 10K PB (39:46) but bringing my child along with me in a buggy.
I started running with a hand-me-down buggy from a friend while on maternity leave after the birth of my first child. Timing my runs around nap times enabled me to exercise during the day rather than wait until my husband got home from work and, no doubt, I would have been too exhausted to run. I’ve also found that motion seems to lull children to sleep beautifully. After a couple of months, I felt fit enough to run with others and started running regularly with friends. This broke up the sometimes lonely weeks of maternity leave and left me feeling refreshed to cope with the challenges of being a new parent.
I didn’t realise that not only would running with a buggy help me regain my fitness but it would propel me to the best form of my life. When I did start racing again, I seemingly easily set PBs over all distances from 5K up to the marathon, including at ATW’s St Albans 10K in August 2018. This would prove to be my last race for 2.5 years.
I took a break from racing to undergo IVF and eventually had my second child at the start of the first lockdown. After a few injury setbacks, I returned to buggy running in earnest again. At the start of this month I returned to the scene of my last race and took almost a minute off my PB coming third at ATW’s St Albans 10K. I still don’t quite know how I did it but I know running with a buggy has made me pretty strong!
Hopefully I can share my journey to running a sub-40 buggy 10K with you and, on the way, a few things that I have learned over the past few years running with a buggy. For (prospective) parents/grandparents/carers out there, your running goals don’t have fall by the wayside when you are looking after young children…get out there with a running buggy and you may even find you completely smash them!