Having dabbled with running on and off for a few years, finding myself at home, on maternity leave and with a husband who worked away and no family close by, I wondered how the heck I was ever going to get fit.
The gym was out simply because I didn't have anyone to watch my six month old and the idea of home DVD's just did not appeal.
So after a little research I concluded that now he was six month's old I could try running with my baby safely in an adequate three wheeler running buggy. Being something new, I had no idea if I would be able to hack it, so I didn't want to splash out a fortune on a new buggy. So I took to eBay and bid on a second hand 360 nipper. This brand was the one most recommended to me by other buggy running mummy's so I thought I would give it a whirl.
On the 3rd Jan 2106 I downloaded the couch 2 5K app and set off.
OMG! How was I ever going to do this, I couldn't run for 1 minute, let alone build up to 5K. But I put my trust in the APP and kept going.
The next month I got the email I was wanting and dreading... A ballot place for the GNR. EEEK - I had to keep going now.
8 weeks after starting the APP (after many great sessions and frankly, as many terrible ones), I managed a 30 min run! It was a fair way shy of the 5k mark but it was 30 mins, I had completed the programme and I was chuffed to bits.
I put my half marathon training plan in place and started to slowly build up my mileage.
When I started I never intended to buggy run more than 5K but the more frequently I went out, the more my little one got use to the buggy and I started to time runs around sleeps and snacks.
He would enjoy the scenery as spring and summer broke, squealing at the ducks and birdies and frankly loving the attention from passers by. Fellow runners were extremely supportive, as were most passersby. Offering words of encouragement. During the 7 months we trained, I only ever had two negative comments. One from a lady when it was cold but my boy was more than adequately wrapped up, complaining that I was 'selfish' and another from an old gentleman calling me ridiculous for running with a buggy.
My view is that my son was enjoying the fresh air, scenery and I was being a role model for him to exercise when he gets bigger. This view was reinforced one day when I was struggling to push him up an incline and a seasoned runner called Colin (he was wearing a named fundraising shirt), shouted words of encouragement to me and then turned to my son and said "one day young man, you will run a marathon". Just that simple acknowledgement lifted me on a very tough run and made me feel wonderful.
So how did my GNR training go?
Well I actually completed a 12 mile buggy run with my boy and he blissfully slept for 8 of those miles and squealed and laughed for the other 4. Don't get me wrong, we had our bad runs, cut short because he couldn't settle for whatever reason. But for the main, he loved it.
Im no expert, so do lots of research into the right running prams. You need one that is adequate to run with to protect your child and prevent you getting injured. But I would say once you are good to go, take lots of snacks and drinks for them, make sure they are wrapped up warm when its cold and have the relevant protection from the sun in the warmer weather. Layers are your friend for the changing elements so you can adjust their temp. Always have enough charge on your phone in case you need to call someone and at first I took my sling, then if he got grouchy I would simply take him out of the buggy, pop him in the sling and walk home.
Always have a buggy strap and my view was to never run with headphones in. I put my music on speaker and we both enjoyed the tunes but I could always hear my baby and I always checked on him every 5 minutes or so, just to make sure he was still smiling.
Did I complete the GNR?
Yes. But I bottled the event slightly and walked far too much. Maybe I was missing my running buddy too much but I was definitely proud of us both.