Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Faster, Mommy! Faster!

Paula Radcliffe’s success at the NYC Marathon this past November, has brought a lot of attention to something that I have known for a while: kids can make you faster! It is not automatic, but having children and training with them has made me faster, stronger and more resilient. This can apply to anyone. I’m no Paula Radcliffe, but the great thing about running is that you are generally competing against yourself anyway. On most runs, you are probably either trying to beat your own time or beat that internal clock of your child(ren) that EXPLODES after 44 ½ minutes in the jogging stroller.

I have several hypotheses as to why there is so much anecdotal evidence for women getting faster after having children. In no particular order,

1. There is a physiological explanation such as the increased blood volume or lung capacity of pregnancy has some lasting effect.

2. There is a mental explanation. You are just so glad to “have your body back,” as they say, after your forced hiatus, that you expend a greater effort and therefore, see greater results. Such is the example of an injured athlete coming back stronger after an injury.

3. It is a matter of maturity as a runner and you would have gotten faster as you logged more miles and experience with or without the kids.

4. A little something called RESISTANCE TRAINING in the form of 70 pounds of children in a 30 pound jogging stroller.

I am certain that I improved my running at a much faster rate by training with my kids in the jogging stroller than I would have on my own. You get more anaerobic strength training going uphill, faster turnover going downhill, and you can bring all the water you want along with you. The hardest part for many people is how to get your kids to cooperate with these jaunts. That is what this blog is going to be about. My PR stroller run is 21 miles and my daughter still hops right into the stroller today, so I hope to share some tips and stories to help you get out the door WITH your kids in 2008. Happy New Year!


Crumbs said...

My "trainer" had me doing dozens and dozens of squats when he'd throw his toys out of the stroller at tempo pace.

carla said...

interesting (and OH SO TRUE) post.

thanks for this!


Anonymous said...

You forgot to mention - as was my experience - that my son liked the wind in his face and would yell "Go faster Mommy!". I miss that. The kids are 4 and 3 and don't want to ride anymore, they want to run. :)

mom2zayna said...

Great post! I preach this all the time, so I'm glad someone else is bringing it to the masses!!!

Chelsea V said...

I strongly agree! we have a local BLOG here in Indianapolis and one mom posted something about " being so amazed by Paula"..."how is it possible she asked". I responed with this:
"Did you know that women runners PEAK in their 30-40's WHY you ask...well being a runner myself and a MOM... I really think it has to do with childbirth and being a mom. When we become moms our lives take on a whole entire meaning. We are inspired to MAKE THINGS happen and our internal strength to deliver a healthy baby...makes us stronger mentally and physically. if I can do this...I can do anything....Remeber that MOMS.....! I am NOT surprised by the HUGE accomplishment of THE MOM WHO WON NYC Marathon.
As MOMS we are the role model, so BE the HEALTHY role model."

On yeah and another local MOM won the INDY MINI last year...she was 8 months post...she attributes her SPEED to running with a STROLLER...I totally agree...there is nothing like pushing a 30-40lb child in a 20-30lb stroller....the thought alone for SOME is tiring. When I was training for Chicago(8months post)my (non-mom)training partner TRIED to push the stroller to give me a break during a 8 mile run...she didn't last 5 minutes....