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!