Training with a baby in tow
30th Jul 2019
It's been a while since I last posted - a few life events have taken priority! Selling our house, relocating to Dorset, buying a new house, knocking walls down - along with other DIY, unpacking our life and looking for new jobs here meant social media has fallen way down the to-do list!
Many people thought we were crazy attempting all this with a 4 month old (now 11 month old) baby, but in other ways it made sense before he starts in nursery or school, and while I'm still on maternity break.
The biggest challenge was the two months where me the dog and the baby were living in Dorset, while Simon was still committed to working in Reading. It was only feasible for him to come home once midweek, so that left me at home for the other four days, working out how to train, unpack the new house, keep on top of housework and child/dog care in a new village where we didn't know anyone or have any arrangements for help with Torben or Beaker.
Before January (when we put our house on the market) I had been hoping to get back to race fitness this season -ideally back on the start line for a few Xterras! However as well as the big life events, the challenge has been getting day-to-day training done largely on my own. Turns out more was possible than I thought- it just requires a lot of pre-planning and organisation!
My training weeks the last couple of months have looked something like this:
Monday - Get a swim done while Simon is home. Any physio or sports massage appointments, either taking Torben in with me or taking it in turns with Simon.
Tuesday - Turbo day. Ideally I set this up before Torben wakes, but I have to walk the dog before there is any possibility of getting my training done undisturbed! This means hiking over the hill with Torben in the carrier, so I can let the dog off-lead. It's good resistance training now he is getting heavy! Once everyone is fed and happy and it's time for Torben to have a nap, I can finally get on the turbo.
Wednesday - Baby class in the morning, grocery shopping, short walk with the dog, and possibly some S&C during Torben's nap. Lately this has been while watching the Tour de France on TV! Simon's evening at home means I can do an evening run or swim if needed, but on the other hand I feel guilty to head out on the only night he is here. So this doesn't happen every week.
Thursday - Long run day. Usually I head to the forest and run with Torben in the buggy, and the dog off-lead exploring! Both of them love this outing, and thankfully it has been cool enough under the trees even in the heatwave. We always have to stop at the river on the way home to wash the dog, as he invariably ends up covered in mud!
Friday - S&C, some short dog walks, and normally I take Torben swimming, but sadly I cannot do my own swim without someone else to look after him. Still, it is fun having our splash abouts and to see his happy face <3 I also usually manage a bike ride Friday evening since Simon is home early.
Weekends - I am lucky and Simon is always great at encouraging me to do what I can, whether that be a local running race, sea swim, long bike ride, or recently my first ever night away from Torben to camp and race at Southern XC MTB in Pippingford! I am always aware that these sessions or races have an impact on other people now, so I never take it for granted and I don't procrastinate anymore.
We now live only 20 minutes away from my parents, who help out when they are around, so I can do something like parkrun, hill reps or intervals without the buggy. However, they are enjoying their retirement and have only been in the country a few of the weeks since we moved in!
It seemed daunting at first, but I have enjoyed the challenge of working out how to get as much training done as possible without relying on anyone's help. Certain sessions of course I still need childcare for – I can't swim or MTB with Torben in tow ;) But with often limited help available, I am happy to have got the point where I feel fit enough to enter my first Xterra, yes in the Pro category(!)
My swim and bike I would say have got close to where they were before, and only running still has some way to go. Mostly this is lack of core strength - despite the mind-numbingly boring pilates I've been doing pretty much daily since Torben was born! However, it is gradually paying off, with core and run speed both improving. I have recently won a couple of local 10 mile and 5k races, and most importantly, the sensible approach meant I have not got injured.
I am excited that I will be in Luxembourg next month for the inaugural Xterra, and making a camping holiday out of the trip to celebrate Torben's first birthday! I wouldn't call it a comeback, just dipping my toes back in the water ready for next year :-D
Design © 2019 Louise Fox. Photography © Lukasz Warzecha