Tag Archives: running buggy

Getting back on track for Reading Half Marathon

19 Feb

It was really nice to be back running at Southampton parkrun. I’m feeling stiff, tired and unfit, so I decided to do my best to enjoy my run as I know my fitness will come back when I get into a more regular programme of exercise.

About 500m in, I caught up with my friend Sergio who was running with his daughter in a buggy. We’ve known each other for several years and got to talk quite a lot when we were in Wales for Long Course Weekend. We’ve not spoken much recently, so I took the opportunity to settle into a conversational pace. We had a great time chatting and I didn’t look at my watch, so I was OK with my time:

Southampton parkrun 17 Feb 2018

After running, we headed over to the Bellemoor for a cuppa before running home.

As you can see, I was running with a different buggy. Last year I blogged about using Thule Chariot Lite, and I have to say that after using it at least twice daily 4 times a week for 5 months, I’m still enjoying using it. It is easy to convert, although I invested in a Thule Axle- Mount EZ Hitch, as I was having problems with my quick release undoing every time I removed the trailer. We also bought a second one, so that Stu could have one on his bike. We also bought the Thule baby supporter, which just gives M a little bit more padding. I couldn’t afford the Thule footmuff, which looks really cosy (it has a hood), but I had a spare cosytoes, so we put that in. It’s not the easiest to do up as M sits in a more upright position than in her buggy, but it helps to keep her cosy as it’s been icy in the mornings recently.

M’s nursery is next to my workplace, so I cycle with her every morning. Unfortunately, it’s really awkward for me to get into the bike shed with the trailer, so I go to the nursery and detach the trailer outside. I then store the trailer in the nursery’s buggy park. I could convert it, but as it’s just a short walk through the building, I save time and leave it as a bike trailer. This also saves Stuart time as he collects M in the afternoon, so he’s able to hitch the trailer straight back onto his bike.

Anyway… we’ve enjoyed being able to cycle somewhere with M and then convert the trailer into a stroller, but really we’d like to get back to cycling to parkrun, so we bought the jogging kit. It uses the VersaWing system, so is really easy to install. The only minor frustration that I have is that the documentation all shows the Thule Chariot Cross, so it shows how the jogging kit can be stored. The Chariot Lite is slightly different and I haven’t yet work out how to store the jogging kit when using it as a bike trailer – if anyone knows the answer, please let me know!

We had originally intended to cycle to parkrun this weekend as there are major roadworks and road closures near to where we lives, but then we remembered that we had offered to transport various bits of parkrun kit. It would have been awkward to put take the kit on our bikes, but with a bit of juggling (and some tolerance from M who had a couple of bits stored in with her!) we were able to run down to parkrun. This had the added advantage of adding to my training miles as I’ve really not been doing enough running for Reading Half Marathon recently.

Stu and I took it in turns to run with the Chariot. It feels significantly different from running with the OutNAbout Nipper Sport. An advantage is that it’s easy to see the front wheel, but a disadvantage is that I can’t see M at all when running. She seems very happy in it as the side windows give her a better view, and also there is plenty of room for her soft toys and a couple of books as well as snacks and a drink… and with the front flyscreen down, she is unable to jettison anything!

The large wheels mean that it rolls smoothly and the adjustable handle height meant that Stu and I were both able to find comfortable positions, although we agreed that the shape of the handle meant that we weren’t quite sure where to place our hands. The Chariot is heavier than the Nipper, which is an advantage when going downhill (as long as it’s not too steep), but makes going uphill a more challenging workout. I’d love to have a go with a Thule Glide as that’s often recommended as the best running buggy on the market, so I’d like to know how it compares with these two.

You can also see that I was wearing the GearBunch leggings that I mentioned recently. I’ve now run in them a few times and have been really pleased with them. I absolutely love the colours and am pleased that I can wear almost any t-shirt with them as there are so many hues in them. I slightly prefer the colours on the back (the front is more lime greens and blues), but each leg is made of a single piece of fabric, so although there is an inside thigh seam, there is no seam on the outside.

The fabric is soft and silky. It’s fairly lightweight, but feels reasonably supportive. I think they are fine for spring/autumn activities, but think they probably wouldn’t be warm enough for really cold weather (although I tend to run in shorts all year round). I didn’t think my legs looked too bad in them, but I think that if you have bad cellulite then it might be visible in these leggings. There is no drawstring, but I found that the elasticated waist was enough to hold these tights up. I also thought the length was perfect for me (I’m 5’5″/166cm). These tights have a front seam and no gusset, which has the potential for ‘camel toe’,  but they have a reasonably long body, so shouldn’t need to be pulled up too high.

GearBunch have an amazing selection of designs and colours. If you’re interested in skulls/Day of the Dead imagery, then there is plenty to whet your appetite. There are also lots of themed leggings for events such as Valentine’s Day, St Patrick’s Day, Christmas, Chinese New Year and so on. There are also some realistic human muscles leggings. I’ve seen these in ‘the flesh’ and was a little freaked out by them! Here are some of my favourite designs:

colourful splash leggings Jellyfish leggings Lightning leggings neon stripe leggings

Some of the designs made me feel a little uncomfortable, such as the religious ones (Christian and Hindu). Wearing religious icons on sportswear just doesn’t seem right to me:

Mother Mary leggings Lord Ganesha leggings Jesus leggings

I’m also not keen on political allegiance and lycra and I’m guessing that’s common with Brits as there were no Corbyn/May leggings, but there were various American political figures such as George Washington, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and Donald Trump. There didn’t seem to be the option to buy Obama tights!

Ronald Reagan leggings Donald Trump leggings George Washington leggings Bill Clinton leggings

What are the most unusual leggings you’ve seen?

After running 11km on Saturday, I met up with Liz for a run on Sunday. Liz is known as Queen of Selfies, but we both failed to take any photos on our run – probably because we were too busy chatting. I ran down to The Common to meet Liz and had M in her buggy. We meandered around the Common and its environs, managing to cover 14km (8.7 miles). It wasn’t as far or as fast as I’d hoped to be managing at this point in my training, but I have this week off work, so as well as catching up with blogging, I’ll be aiming to rest, eat well and get some quality training in. I’ve managed 25km in the past couple of days, so that doesn’t seem too bad.

What are your plans for this week?

I managed a sprint tri in the space of a week

13 Nov Fitness instructor course materials

I really thought that I was going to get back into a routine of work, training and blogging with M starting nursery… but three weeks in and her attendance is 25% 😦 The poor thing has picked up every illness going and shared it with the household, so I’ve not had a lot of free time.

One thing I have been doing is getting out on my bike. I’m really enjoying my cycle commute – I had forgotten how much I love my quick trip to work, although it’s definitely more challenging with a trailer – and the logistics of adding it on and removing it have taken a bit of getting used to.

I’ve got back to doing a bit of swimming, starting off with a lunchtime swimming session with Liz and then a week later, I did a 1 hour swim set on my own. I really need to plan my swimming sessions more carefully (and ideally swim more than once a week). Hopefully, I’ll soon be able to swim at the weekend as Stu and I are planning to take M to the pool on Sundays. It would be good to also schedule a midweek swim session.

Last week we went to Southampton parkrun, where I had a steady run. I spoke to a few people on the way around and was pleased that my time wasn’t terrible.

parkrun 04 Nov 2017

This week it was my turn to run with the buggy, so I joined Rachel, Phil and Felix. We started off at a slow pace because of the congestion, but definitely picked it up by the end of the run. I’m not as fit as I was, so it felt really difficult.

parkrun results 11 Nov 2017

I love the chance to talk to so many friends at parkrun. I had a quick catch up with my friend, Teri, and we agreed that we need to schedule in some social runs. We discussed perhaps going for a run on Sunday morning, but I decided to have a lie in instead. It was the right decision as I felt shattered.

On Saturday afternoon, we drove down to Bournemouth to go to the Primera Cycle Expo at the BIC. I’ve been a couple of times before and have picked up some real bargains. This time, there was a lot of Sugoi kit for sale at bargain prices (£5 per cycle jersey and £10 for shorts!)… but everything was in enormous sizes, which was disappointing. Maybe we needed to go earlier in the day. After checking out the reduced kit, Stu, M and I walked around and had a look at the bikes. I still really like the look of Kuota bikes and the paintwork on some of the Specialized bikes was gorgeous… but what really caught my eye were the adorable Cannondale Lefty balance bikes. A sales assistant kindly got out an Allen key and put the saddle down so that M could have a go. She is still a tiny bit short, but I think by Easter, it may be possible for her to have a balance bike. (However, I can’t afford to fork out £200, so it’s more likely to be a bike from Decathlon than a new Cannondale!)

Cannondale Lefty balance bike

One of the most exciting parts of my weekend was visiting Bournemouth University to pick up some course materials. Next weekend, I  take the first step on a new career path (although I love my job as a learning designer and can’t see me quitting that any time soon!) I’m going to be doing a course to become a Fitness Instructor, so I’ve been busy studying anatomy and physiology in preparation for the course. It’s a bit challenging as I haven’t studied any biology since the age of 13, but I’m really motivated and excited to be learning.

Fitness instructor course materials

On Sunday afternoon, Reena and Mike came over to collect the Mountain Buggy running buggy that we took to Australia. I hope they enjoy running with it as much as we did. Like me, Reena has a place in London Landmarks Half.

Afterwards, we went and watched some of the cyclocross at Southampton Outdoor Sports Centre. I had planned to watch the event a year ago, but ended up back in hospital that afternoon instead, so I was pleased that I got to see some of the action as well as meeting friends.

In the evening, I read that there will be a new route for Southampton 10k, half marathon and marathon in 2018, which sounds exciting. I loved running the marathon this year, but I think I’ll drop back to the half in 2018 as I’ll be running a marathon in July and don’t want to have to sustain the training for that long.

Hopefully, things will settle down a bit for me in the new few weeks and I’ll be able to get into the swing of regular swimming, cycling and running with a yoga class thrown in for good measure. It’s not going to be easy fitting in blogging and studying, but I’m sure I’ll find a way!


Because of baby M’s illness, I’ve not been online much this week, so I was late to visit Rafflecopter to draw the winners of Haseeb Ahmad’s book From Blind Man to Ironman – apologies! The lucky winners who will each receive a copy of the book are:

Sarah Wakely

Michelle Dorrington

Congratulations, ladies! The books will be in the post to you very soon 🙂

 

Running with a buggy Q&A

25 Oct Eastleigh 10k

I’m regularly asked questions about running with a buggy (and other issues relating to being a running mum), so I thought I’d share some of my insights and some useful links in a single post…

parkrun 14 Oct 17

Do I need a special buggy?

It’s recommended that you only run with a buggy that is designed for running. There are a number of different brands available at different price points and you can also pick them up second-hand. The most popular ones that are available in the UK seem to be Out N About Nipper Sport, Thule Glide and Bugaboo Runner, but you can also buy running buggies by Mountain Buggy and BOB… and Thule Chariots can be used as running buggies (if you buy the conversion kit).

There are a number of specialist sales groups on Facebook where you can find a second-hand running buggy, including:

 

How do you deal with punctures?

Baby M is nearly a year old and her buggy had its first puncture recently. I wasn’t with her at the time, but Stu dealt with the puncture in the same way that he would on a bike – he replaced the inner tube. It is possible to fix the puncture with a patch, but they’re not always reliable.

Some people choose to slime their tyres, but I’ve never done that on a bike and am capable of dealing with a puncture, so don’t intend to go down that route. If you aren’t confident that you can replace an inner tube then it might be the right option for you. Essentially, if your inner tube gets pierced, the slime covers the hole and solidifies, so you don’t need to replace the tube.

 

I’m not a runner, how can I keep fit?

You might want to try Couch to 5k, which is available as podcasts or an app. It is a sensible way of building your running up to 5k (3.1 miles). If it’s been a long time since you’ve exercised, you might want to start off by walking and gradually increase the amount of time or number of times you walk each week.

You might also find a Buggyfit class in your area. There isn’t one in Southampton, but I attended ParkLives Buggy Mums classes, which are similar, whilst I was on maternity leave. If you’re in Hampshire, there’s also BuggyWorkout in the Winchester area and a Buggy Workout class at Fleming Park in Eastleigh.

 

Are there any online support groups that I can join?

There are several Facebook groups for buggy runners:

(There are plenty of other local groups, such as East Midlands, Hereford, Birmingham, Nottingham, Fairway, Brighton and Hove, Poplar, Somerset, Rissington)

 

Can I take part in any races/events?

There is some confusion about what the UKA (UK Athletics rules) state about whether buggies can be used in races, and it seems to be left to each Race Director to make their own judgement.

I’ve found that the best place to look for races is Buggy Friendly Running Events (UK) – a closed Facebook group. You might also want to look at parkrun – buggy and wheelchair friendly courses – a public Facebook group.

 

I’m breastfeeding – is it OK for me to run?

The evidence seems to suggest that there are no detrimental effects relating to breastfeeding and running, but plenty of benefits. (https://kellymom.com/bf/can-i-breastfeed/lifestyle/mom-exercise/ ).

It’s not always easy to find a sports bra that’s suitable for nursing… and to find one that doesn’t break the bank is almost an impossibility. A lot of people like Brooks/Moving Comfort – Juno, but that’s quite expensive and only available in a limited range of sizes. A similar bra that is available in a much wider range of sizes at a lower price point is SYROKAN Women’s High Impact Full Cup Wire Free Lightly Padded Gym Run Sports Bra.

Have you run with a buggy? Do you have any tips that you can share?


Thank you to everyone who’s voted for Fat Girl to Ironman so far – there’s still time to cast your vote in The 2018 Running Awards.

Nominated for The 2018 Running Awards. Please vote for me.

What now?

7 Aug

So, although I’m not feeling like things have been going well this year, I’ve now done my ‘A’ races. This year has not been the year for me to do an Ironman (not least for financial reasons), but I have managed to do a 5km (3.1 miles) swim, a 100 mile (160km) bike ride and a marathon (42.2km/26.2 miles).

Since RideLondon, I’ve been trying to get my life back in order. On Tuesday, I did a Tai Chi class; on Wednesday and Thursday, I did Buggy Mums and on Saturday, I did parkrun.

Southampton parkrun 5 Aug 17

On Sunday, I met up with my lovely friend, Inez. We went out for a really long walk around Testwood Lakes and then Inez picked me lots of fresh produce from her garden.

I’ve never tried callaloo (amaranth leaves) before, so I was interested to cook them at home. Inez showed me how to prepare them and then I cooked them with garlic, chillies, paprika and tomatoes and served them with rice and peas – delicious!

In the evening we had minted new potatoes and runner beans for dinner, followed by rhubarb crumble – all from Inez’s garden.

I don’t have much else planned for this year, so I’m planning my events for 2018. I’d like to do the Long Course Weekend and am still dreaming of doing an Ironman… but it will depend on whether M ever decides to sleep through the night. I’ll also be going back to college and will be sharing more info about that soon!

What’s your next big challenge?