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The original online UK specialist retailer in Running Buggies. Here to help you know which is the right running buggy for you & your baby from a fellow buggy running mum.

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Blog

Helpful articles, sometimes interviews and maybe even personal experiences written by us on all things buggy running related.

Adventures on a Mountain Buggy UNIRIDER

Wendy Rumble

I’m going to assume you have no idea what on earth a Unirider is and take it from the top. Describing it is tricky, sort of like a wheel on a stick that you can push your kid on. Luckily, we live in a modern age so I can put us all out of our misery with a picture or two.

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Whilst it’s very simple to put together, it took me about 20 mins as Austin enjoys playing games such as hide the screw, eat the bolt, and if in doubt, run off with it. It could be done in a matter of minutes without the help of any children, making it perfect for travelling and holidays – ha, sorry. I mean when you go away for a ‘change of scene’.

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Obviously, when it first arrived we had the classic wrestling and fighting between the boys, which is always so fun #blessed. After a few falls, the one year old admitted defeat and realised life was way better in the buggy where he could eat snacks and sleep. With that established, I was keen to get out and see if the Unirider could handle the farm terrain. We live in the bottom of a valley, so not only do we have the standard countryside lumps, bumps and gravel, there’s also the small matter of climbing Everest every time you need to check the sheep/go to the park. With the exception of a near miss involving a fox hole (whether the blame lies with me, the driver, or Jake who leaned over to look down the hole, is still under discussion…), the Unirider fared surprisingly well. It proved particularly useful when we were in the throngs of lambing and Jake wanted to help but complained after walking more than 500 steps. Side note – it’s possible to clock up 30,000+ steps per day when lambing, so Jake’s effort of not quite 2% of this = quite a lot of frustration from all parties.
 

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With the Unirider being a hit on the farm, we ventured into London over the Easter hols for a test run in the city; plus, I really wanted to go to Crosstown Doughnuts. I get really nervous about taking the children anywhere near a road so I was delighted to have them both contained. The Unirider doesn’t really take up much space so it was super easy to take on the train/ tube/ bus. It handily balances on the back of the buggy too, which was great as we had all hands available to entertain (pin down) the kids for the 40-minute train ride into town. We visited the National Army Museum, which has a toddler friendly pre-bookable soft play – great for the boys to let off steam. We didn’t manage to stay for the full hour as Austin was screaming blue murder every time another child touched the steering wheel of the army tank…..things got too awkward. After that, Jake happily sat on the Unirider for over an hour of walking across town and Austin slept in the buggy.

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For those of you who don’t enjoy lots of words, here’s a short summary of my thoughts on the Unirider:

Wins:

  • Easy to take apart / put together
  • Drives well on a variety of terrain
  • Your child has to balance, which is a great step towards riding a bike - not to mention good for their core strength
  • Perfect for the in-between stage where you don’t need a buggy but your child can’t manage much walking

 

Keep in mind:

  • You need two hands to steer, so you will need a backpack for the essentials

In even fewer words, would I recommend the Unirider? Absolutely!!

Enjoy adventuring!

Love, Mel x

P.S Mountain Buggy Unirider £79 CLICK here to buy.

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Buggy Running... my thoughts one year on by Mel

Wendy Rumble

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It’s been one whole year since I picked up my Mountain Buggy Terrain and started running with Austin.

Well, 13 months to be precise but luckily for you, I’m not one of those mums who gives out their
children’s ages by month after they hit one - basically because I can’t be bothered to do the maths. I felt a bit emosh looking back at our first buggy running pics. Yes, there have been days that have seemingly gone on forever. You know, the ones where your child(ren) wakes up at 4.45am, high on goodness knows what, and you’ve eaten your lunch by 10am, cried 20+ times collectively, then your partner calls at 5.30pm and you foolishly allow yourself to hope that they’re phoning to say that they’re on their way home but they’re actually ‘stuck’ in the office and won’t make it for bedtime…. Fortunately, there have been plenty of awesome moments too, mostly involving cuddles, bundles of laughter and a heart-melting ‘love you’ from Austin once at bedtime *immediately runs downstairs, removes child ebay listing and sobs into bar of chocolate*

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So, one year older, another year wiser (humour me), and I thought I’d share my thoughts:
1. Mindfulness (cringe)
I don’t know what it is about the ‘M’ word but I hate it! Every time I see it I think yawn/eye roll/cringe. If someone can come up with a sexier name for this please, that would be great. I mean what even is mindfulness? I tried to read up on it a few times and was still none the wiser. It was only recently in reading Clare Pooley’s fabulous book where she explains that for her it’s basically an activity that you can get lost in, that I realised that’s exactly what exercise is for me! When I’m out buggy running, my mind wanders off occasionally but for most of the time I’m either taking in the surroundings or breaking my run down into manageable chunks (5km = 5 x 1km, first and last km don’t count so it’s basically 3 x 1km, which is totally doable, repeat ad infinitum). So yeah, buggy running totally nails mindfulness *self high five*.

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2. Comparison is the thief of joy
It may be a cheesy quote but who doesn’t love a bit of oozy brie every now and again? In starting my buggy running journey, I also threw myself into social media, mainly Instagram. I’m not about to paint a negative picture of social media, I think it’s ace. However, there are a few traps that I’ve fallen into, one being the amount of time spent scrolling – hello @llamawithnodrama ! The other main pitfall is comparing my fitness journey to others. Bottom line is, you are on your own journey. Susan runs 4:30 kms with her buggy and you run 6:30 kms. Linda over there was running the day after she gave birth and let’s not even talk about Janet who is two weeks post-partum and back in her skinny white jeans…Who actually cares?? Chances are, these people have a whole other bunch of crap going on in the background too. An insta square is maybe 5% of someone’s day. If anyone makes you feel inadequate then hit that unfollow button and don’t look back. Big shout out to @classeswithlorna @thebuggycoach and @upallhoursphotos who continue to keep it real on the ‘gram, you’re all the tits.

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3. I actually enjoy running
Now this is quite a major revelation for me. Yes, I’ve always played team sports and enjoyed exercising, but my preferred distance was the 30m sprint, probably still my best one with a proper warm up. I was actually really nervous about buggy running because running has never been something I’ve been ‘good’ at. Fast forward (many years) and last week I chose to take Austin for a buggy run on holiday, even though there was childcare on tap! Amazing. It’s been a slow journey this year; regaining my fitness post second C section has been tough, not to mention the two hyper-mischievous boys to contend with. But, I’ve done it, one whole year of buggy running and I’m super proud! Major highlights include buggy running the London 10km with Jake, discovering the cycling and walking trails around my local area, and having super valuable ‘me-time’ at my disposal without the mum guilt! Would I do it again? In a
heartbeat.

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Thanks for reading, and I hope I’ve inspired you to get involved and get active!
Love Mel x

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Mountain Buggy Carrycot vs the Mountain Buggy Cocoon

Wendy Rumble

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Buying a running buggy which can also be your everyday buggy is smart.  The Mountain Buggy Terrain is a great option for a universal use buggy.  It can be used from birth as it is due to the lie flat mode but many parents prefer a carrycot in the early stages in order to have their baby parent facing.  Depending on your size of baby they will grow out of this at 5-6 months.

Last year Mountain Buggy launched a new item, their 'Cocoon' as an alternative Carrycot.  If you want to know the differences to that and the Carrycot Plus (a question asked more and more) then take a look below.

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CARRYCOT PLUS FEATURES

The Mountain Buggy Carrycot Plus has ways to be set up; Traditional carrycot, a slight incline for reflux mode and then a smaller incline seat.  It also has metal feet which keep it off the floor when not on the buggy, as airflow underneath is recommended for safe sleeping.  It has a fully ventilated removable mattress which has passed safe sleep tests meaning you can use this as a moses basket when travelling.

Weight of item - 4.2kg

Weight capacity - 9kgs or 15kgs in incline mode

Dimensions: Length 76cm, width 33cm, depth 20cm

Price - £139.00

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SO WHAT IS THE COCOON

 A lightweight, lie flat, soft shelled carrycot that travels with you for newborns.  Has a protective zip lid to shield your baby from the elements.  The cocoon provides carry handles and a firm base, so you can easily transport your baby in and out of the buggy without disturbing their rest.

Weight of item- 1.4kg

Weight capacity - 0-6 months or 9 kgs

Dimensions - Length: 72cm, width: 30cm, height 18cm, (no hood)

Cost - £49.00

 As shown on the Swift model but on the Terrain it would be the same set up.

As shown on the Swift model but on the Terrain it would be the same set up.

Jo is wheely fast at VLM 2018!

Wendy Rumble

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Back in August last year I was lining up for the Kimbolton Half marathon when I noticed a lady in one of my non slip Sweatybands.  So I headed over to say hi and then met Jo properly for the first time.  Once we got going and she flew past me (while nursing an injury) I had a flash back to seeing her Strava updates which were rather speedy.  (They caught my eye because she lives near to where I grew up.)  Roll on a few months and Jo was a regular contributor in my Facebook community, The Original Buggy Runners, customer and she also supported us buying a Buggy Squad hoodie.   So when I heard she was going to be running London I was excited to see her again at the expo.  Like many runners Jo had worked super hard all winter and was a little concerned by the freak weather that week.  She wanted to break the 3 hour mark, clearly no mean feat!  After the race I heard so many stories about people not hitting their goals that I was delighted to see Jo had smashed hers.  So I wanted to share an interview with her so you could all be as inspired as I am.  

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 Jo came 21st female overall and the 9th outside of the elite field and she smashed her PB at the same time! Just wow!

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My name is Jo O’Regan, I live in St Neots, Cambridgeshire and am mum to 3 small people; Wills is 6, Everly is 4 and Ella is 2, and wife to Daddy Dan who is an occasional runner.

Tell us about your running background. Have you always been a runner? What distances, how many marathons?

I started running after I graduated from university and started working full time in Cambridge, when I had no parental responsibilities. I made some amazing and lifelong friends and quickly found that I enjoyed long distance running most of all. At this time I would also swim every morning before work. We travelled as a group to many European marathons and I completed 9 marathons from 2008-2011. My first was Robin Hood Marathon in Nottingham in the summer of 2008 which I ran with a good friend in 3hrs 31minutes. My favourite was Paris Marathon in 2009 where I ran a personal best of 3hrs 11minutes gaining me championship entry for London Marathon in 2010 and 2011.

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Tell us how you managed to fit in the training required to run sub 3?

Lots of juggling was required to fit in the training required. My peak weeks had me running circa 10hrs per week. I have some very kind neighbours who helped watch my young girls on double run days, a supportive husband who would look after the children nearly every Sunday morning for 12 weeks and thankfully my youngest daughter turned 2 in January allowing her to attend preschool for some 3hr sessions during the week.

Tell us about your buggy running? When did you start, what buggy do you have and how often do you go?
After 5 1/2 years off from running whilst I was working and busy having 3 children I knew we would not be having any more children and wanted to return to running for a variety of reasons. Ella was 6 months old and I wasn’t returning to work with a baby, 2 year old and a 4 year old so we bought a running buggy so she could just come with me when I went running while the others were in preschool.  I started with a baby jogger summit x3 but then upgraded to the Thule Glide. I used to buggy run3/4 times a week upto 10 miles while I was regaining my fitness. I now only buggy run perhaps once a week as the girls both go to preschool so I have a little free time without them.

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How did you feel on race day and what were the ups and downs?
VLM 2018 was amazing, if a little toasty, but I had trained hard and knew I was as fit as I was ever going to be. I was determined to not let the weather ruin my current life goal of running a sub 3 hr marathon.  I went through the first half in 1hr 23 and was on for 2hrs 50 but I by mile 17 the heat was getting to me and I had a small wobble and had to slow my pace down a little. I picked back up again by mile 21 and then knew I was on track for the 2.54 my training plan had prescribed. I had loads of support on route from family and friends, the crowd (lots of go riverside lady or lady 924). The crowds were epic and really help when your a little low.

Who supports you to achieve these amazing results?
My family, neighbours, awesome local running community and I was very lucky to get a prescribed coaching plan for this marathon, using training peaks so I met each target on the plan without actually having to think about the plan and the work that went into it. My running coach/training buddy helped immensely with the change in training and adapting the plan to allow me to achieve the goal.

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What sacrifices do you make?
Time is obviously sacrificed but when your giving up time to do something you really enjoy it’s immensely rewarding. The main sacrifices were giving up Saturday nights as Sundays were pretty heavy for a number of weeks. I would always run early on a weekend with 3 small people I’m very accustomed to early starts and little recovery.  I pretty much gave up alcohol for the last 5 months and didn’t really miss it.  I also gave up a number of evenings out as running 80-90 miles per week is exhausting with a young family.

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How do you fuel during long runs including the breakfast choices?

In training even for long runs up to 25hrs I run fasted an without fuel or drink.   It helps that training throughout the very cold winter means I didn’t get particularly thirsty.  For races I like a bagel with raspberry jam, a bowl of cereal and an almond croissant. On marathon day as we were staying away from home I had an almond croissant, a protein bar and a gel before the start. I then carried 5 gels and took them from mile 7, with lots of water as it was so warm. I also had a little of the lucozade sport on offer while running in London.

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What advice would you give to people on how to get quicker?
Mix up your training sessions, I now run hill sets, tempo runs, intervals ranging from: Yassos (800 repeats), fartleck, 400 repeats, hard efforts within a long run, some steady miles and a long run.

What’s next for you?!
Milton Keynes half marathon next week then I want to run a quicker marathon as I believe I can run 2.50.  Perhaps just some speed sharpening over the summer to further build upon my base then I’m likely to enter Chester marathon in October before London 2019.  Oh and St Neots parkrun is set to launch in June so maybe a few more parkruns for fun!

 

If you are interested you can follow Jo’s progress on Strava!  

6 ridiculous things people say to Buggy Runners

Wendy Rumble

I started running with a buggy in 2012 with my first daughter and back then in the U.K. it was rather unusual a pastime.  Since starting up a business specialising in selling running buggies and a running club for parents (Buggy Squad) I feel like I’ve heard it all from random passers by!

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So here is my top 5 random comments;

1- ‘I don’t mind you walking but you shouldn’t  run along here’ (a dog walker on a public park path) errrr I pay my council tax too?

2- ‘can I get in? often with...

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3- ‘how about you give me a push in that? ‘ (a favourite at the London Marathon Expo)

4 - ‘that poor child...’ which is especially amusing when the child is sleeping. Would they say it if you were walking, I think not.

5- ‘that’s an advantage, you have wheels to help‘ and 30kgs to push uphill? Definitely NOT and advantage. Especially when you have to maintain a conversation, pick up discarded toys and endure crying till they fall asleep.

6 - ‘you should be at the back!’ Starting at the back makes no sense. It’s far more dangerous for us to overtake a solo runners than the other way round.  Most organised group runs specify this as a safety measure but a self seeding pace approach is far more sensible.  Unfortunately I had one chap flick me the V when I was running near him at parkrun with my double Thule Chariot Cross. It was rather awkward at the end when he apologised and explained but I hadn’t noticed at the time! 

Bonkers isn’t it! But it’s not all bad.  Sometimes you can go on a run and everyone will be positive. Suddenly you are running in a way that makes people feel like they can talk to you, ‘wow you’re supermum’ ‘that’s brilliant, I wish they had those when mine were little’ or even a simple ‘well done’!

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My top tip to prevent any 3rd party annoyance (because we get enough stress from our passengers) is a loud ‘excuse me, Buggy to your right/left’ and even louder ‘thank you’ . 

 Happy buggy running 👌

Wendy x

 

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The dreaded word— diet

Wendy Rumble

I have something that I want to get out before I start talking about what I eat and why: I hate diet culture. From the (f)Atkins Diet to the ‘no carbs in the evening’, from the juice cleanse to the low fat, from the 5:2 to the Paleo. The list is endless. It was drilled into us about 10 years ago that fat was the enemy and we should buy low fat everything, and now the message seems to be that is sugar is evil and fat is good…No wonder people find food confusing! I’ll be honest, I’ve tried a few of these fads and whilst they may have made me feel good for a bit, I’ve never been completely happy with my ‘diet’ until recently. A few reasons: 1) there’s so much pressure if you deviate from your chosen diet, mostly internally in my case, and 2) it’s easy to become obsessed about said diet, which is stressful and sucks the enjoyment out of eating.


Now that’s off my chest, let’s get down to it. Being a mum is exhausting, relentless and awesome all at once. I’ve come to realise that if I’m not looking after myself, I’m a ratty, grumpy, short-fuse. There are three things that help me perform better in the parenting stakes: exercise, fuel and rest (and wine, but that’s fuel, right?). The latter is probably the most neglected, but if I get the other two right then that’s usually good enough.

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I have a few basic ideas about food. Firstly, if you want to lose/maintain/gain, you need to make sure you burn off more/equal/less energy than you take in. E.g. if you wanted to lose weight, you need to burn off more energy than you’re taking in. You can eat whatever you like, as long as this simple principle is applied: fast food, take out, meat, plants; you can eat lucky charms smothered in Nutella every day if you want! Who actually cares? Well, I do, and that’s my second point. The nutrients I get from my food make a huge difference to my energy levels and my ability to not lose my sh*t with the kids. This awesome graphic from @meowmeix on Instagram highlights the calorie dense vs nutrient dense sitch:


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This is all very well and good but how do I fit healthy eating into my already time-poor life? Glad you asked. Here are my top tips for switching up your food routine....

Meal Plan

There’s a slogan involving a lot of Ps, but you basically need to write a meal plan for the week and do an online shop.

Cook once, eat twice

If I’m cooking something like a bolognese, I will often cook more than we need so that we either eat the same thing two nights running or I freeze a portion down for those times when life is hectic/I’m starving/the apocalypse.

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Eat the rainbow

Get those veggies in! It doesn’t have to be conventional, just pile them on your plate. For the kids, the easiest way I can get my beige-loving boys to eat food with colour is to blend it into a pasta sauce. For the adults, I try and have at least two different colours of veg on the plate.

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Homemade Treats

I try and bake something every week or two, depending on our schedule. Cacao crispies are a current fave- Jake loves them because they’re chocolatey, and I love them for a quick energy fix.

Zero waste eating

Ok so we are definitely notzero waste, but it sounds better than ‘less’ waste. I hate throwing away food so I have one super speedy go-to meal for using up leftover veggies and that’s a veg fried rice- I use microwave rice to make it ultra quick. You can put anything in the pan that you fancy- onion, broccoli, peppers, mushrooms, grated carrot... the possibilities are endless- who knew rice could be so exciting?! Throw some cashews, egg and halloumi in there too and it’s an absolute delight!

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Balance

This, for me, is KING. There’s nothing I don’t let myself eat, I just try and food that makes me feel good. Sometimes that involves wine/choc/crisps/leftover beige food from the boys’ tea, and I’m totally fine with that!

I’d love to hear your tips for healthy eating!


Love Mel x

My first buggy running race

Wendy Rumble

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After running my first 10km race in October, I was on the look-out for my next event. Ideally something not too far in the distance – not only am I super impatient, but anything too far away and I lose interest. Perhaps I’m spending too much time with my three year old…. Anyhow, I may have previously mentioned that I’m a marketing person’s dream, and this race entry was no exception. Scrolling through Instagram, the London Winter Run popped up offering a penguin party, polar bear hugs and really fancy medal. Sold!

Whilst I was looking forward to running through London, there was something niggling away at me. I’ve already done a 10km, which means I have a time to beat. I was silently piling the pressure on - I hadn’t paid much attention to my watch when I last raced, I was just concentrating on putting one foot in front of the other, and mentally breaking the race down into manageable chunks.

Clearly the only way to get rid of the pressure was to do something new, so I emailed the organisers and I asked if I could run with the buggy. Obviously. Putting this down on paper is making me realise that I sound a tad unhinged, but I guess maybe that’s what three years of no sleep does to you?! The response came back positive, as long as I start at the back. Even less pressure, hurrah!

As race day approached, nerves began to take hold. The logistics of getting from Hertfordshire to Trafalgar Square on a Sunday morning, keeping little one warm, fed and happy for the journey, never mind the race… It was all beginning to feel a bit overwhelming. I turned to The Original Buggy Runners Facebook group for some words of wisdom, snacks and layers being the key messages, and I was ready to go. Next drama, Austin (1 year old) falls ill. Bugger, will have to take Jake (3 years old and significantly heavier). More drama - on Thursday I come down with an ear infection. ARGH! Spend Friday in bed pouring drops into my ear and popping pain killers. Saturday comes and feeling a bit perkier, I mention the race, husband goes bonkers…decide to shelve the conversation until later. By the end of the day, we’ve agreed that I will see how I feel in the morning….

Race Day!

Ok, so I wasn’t feeling my best, but I woke up determined. The run was in aid of Cancer Research and the worst I had was a blocked ear – I was definitely going to run!

As we waited on the station platform, two things became apparent. 1) I was so glad to have Jake rather than Austin as I can actually reason with (bribe) him. 2) I had packed an abundance of layers for Jake and definitely not enough for myself! Bloody freezing. One train, a few sets of stairs – thanks to the members of the public who helped me out, two tubes and a gazillion lifts later, we had arrived. A major perk of running with the buggy meant we avoided a visit to the bag drop so I was able to keep wearing the one extra layer I’d brought for myself. As far as we were concerned we had a good half an hour until our start time,so we stopped for a biscuit. The next thing, the announcer is calling all colours to the start line (cue mild panic!), we followed the masses and before I knew it we were off!

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At first, I was frustrated at how slowly we were moving. Everyone was so tightly packed in and there was very little room to weave around people. Part of the problem I guess with not being allowed to start at your chosen race time. I soon forgot about this – we weren’t chasing a PB, we were there to have fun! I was looking forward to pointing out all of the London sights to Jake, and enjoying spotting the different costumes. Less than 1km in and Jake asks ‘are we winning mum?’ – ‘not yet’ I reply. Next thing I know he’s shut his eyes and slept until we were at the finish line!!! I was slightly worried he might wet himself as he never naps and is fairly new to pants, but at least I didn’t have to think about snacks/questions/demands for speeding up – not sure which is preferable?!

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I must admit, I barely saw any of the London sights myself as I was too worried about crashing into anyone to look around. Maybe this gets easier with practise? I’m pretty sure I will do another one so I’ll let you know… Concentrating so hard on weaving around people did mean that I had less time to focus on how tired I was – every cloud and all that! Much of the run passed me by in a blur, blame the adrenaline or the blocked ear, and before I knew it I could see the end. I picked up the pace, Jake opened his eyes and we crossed the finish line! We were particularly delighted to both receive medals and went in search of some post-race fuel.

I have to give a massive shout out to the running community. I was blown away by all of the kind words of support and encouragement I received. One lady even helped me push for a bit! It was really tough pushing Jake but there was no way I was going to stop with all the cheerleading. Thank you all so much, you really spurred me on!!

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Overall, a superb experience that left me with a runner’s high for a good week afterwards! If you’re thinking of entering a big race with your buggy, go for it! Jake is super proud of his medal and tells everyone about how he had a great time running with mummy!

Love Mel x

@the_running_mum

5 things to make your buggy run easier

Wendy Rumble

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Finding the energy to go for a run can be a challenge when you have children but then consider adding some extra ‘load’, (which is the professionals way of saying weight), and it’s even harder! So how do you make it as easy as possible?

1) Pack very light! I’ve been buggy running for nearly 5 years now and not once have I had to change a nappy mid run.   if you want to build up to this confidence take 1 nappy, 1 bag and wipes.  If I was only planning to be out for 30 mins then Infigured it’s not a disaster to just wait till I’m back.

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2) Go easy on the liquids. Yes hydration is important but for a short run of under an hour you don’t need to have water on board for you (unless it’s extremely hot weather) and certainly not a big water bottle full.  This is quite an added weight to push but one I see all the time.

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3) Pumped. Ensure your tyres are inflated to the right pressure. Soft, under inflated tyres are much harder to push. 

4)  Join a supportive community.  I have a Facebook community called The Original Buggy Runners. You can ask questions, receive support on your experiences and also enter awesome competitions! 

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5) Happy buggy buddy. Making your little one happy will enable a stress free buggy run. When they are little time it after a sleep and feed.  Pop the raincover on to create a cosy cocoon. When they are older take snacks and technology! 

Good luck with your runs! Enjoy the freedom of your running buggy!

Wendy x

Handmade medal hanger Competition 🏅

Wendy Rumble

How to enter! 

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Put a post in our FB Community, The Original Buggy Runners with a picture of your favourite medal and tell us why it means some thing to you.

- it could be your first race

- it could be your furthest race

- it could be a personal best race

- it could be a very bling medal (doesn’t have to be running)

- it could be a handmade medal that you made with your children to celebrate a personal achievement  

This isn’t about bragging, but celebrating everyone’s special successes!  

Opens Monday 7.45pm closes Sunday 21st Jan 2018 at noon.  

The winner will be picked AT RANDOM on Sunday lunchtime at the Running Show and announced live!   

We are super grateful to a generous member of our community, Rebecca, for offering us this amazing prize.  You can find her brilliant wooden engraving at 

 http://www.hugosworkshop.co.uk/

New Year New You? Guest blog by Mountain Buggy Terrain Ambassador, Mel

Wendy Rumble

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I’ll be honest with you, I don’t like January. There’s a massive post-Christmas come-down.  Even though I only had two heavy nights, my body feels toxic. I sacrificed sleep – it’s hard to have a proper conversation until the kids are in bed, so instead of retreating when my body was telling me to, I stayed up to spend precious time with family and friends. I ate a lot of cheese. I barely made 8,000 steps each day, and most of those were clocked up whizzing around the kitchen like a Tazmanian devil. Then there’s the pressure and the expectation to do something new. To make resolutions/ detox with dry January/ embark on the next fad diet – Summer’s on the way! Get your bikini body* here in just four weeks! Drink this rancid overpriced tea every day and you will wake up with a six pack! It’s everywhere you look; the papers, the magazines, social media. All this and I haven’t even mentioned the grey, dull, drizzly weather, or the fact that it’s still dark before 5pm.


Look, I’m not daft. I know that I could be starting January feeling less poisoned and more energetic. I could have avoided the brie and the G&T. I could have made exercise a priority over the Christmas period. It’s just not how I operate. Christmas is stressful enough without denying myself what I fancy, plus I’m absolutely shattered by the time the day actually arrives. So, here’s my reality: it’s the start of January 2018, and I feel grotty!
*Don’t get me started on the whole bikini body bull. Put a bikini on your body, et voila.


The one good thing about January
There is one thing I do actually enjoy about this month and that’s the return of routine. It used to pain me admit that I’m a creature of habit – in school when we were doing all of those tick-box career tests to find out what we should be in life, I always thought that the care-free, spontaneous boxes sounded way cooler. Turns out I was in denial, and the routine life chose me.
I’m itching to get back out with the buggy! Fresh air therapy, time where my youngest is strapped in and I actually know that he’s not wrecking something, new routes to explore, a 10k next month… I’m so ready!!

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If you’ve been thinking about starting exercising post-baby, I highly recommend a running buggy. It has solved so many problems for me. No childcare but want to exercise? Get a running buggy! Only have a small window of time to exercise? Get a running buggy! Live in a field? Get a running buggy! Want to go out running with your other half but have no one to watch the baby? Get a running buggy! Ok, so my subliminal messaging isn’t that subtle. But if you want to try something new this year, I cannot recommend one of these enough.

If you’re nervous about starting a fitness journey, that’s totally normal. Here’s a little story about my three year old that might inspire you to take the leap…

J’s Journey
I’ve been gently encouraging (nagging) J to ditch the nappies for a good six months. We haven’t had as much as a dribble on the potty – I was beginning to have visions that he wouldn’t be allowed to go to nursery in September because he would still be in nappies (dramatic, moi?!). On New Year’s Day we found ourselves in Tesco (don’t ask), and my husband randomly asked J to choose some chocolate for when he does a wee on the loo/potty. Fast forward to 6.15am the very next day and he’s calling for help to do his first wee and asking for a chocolate, result! It’s been five days and J has fully embraced the loo and his big boy pants. In fact, after the inaugural wee, he has flat out refused to wear a nappy apart from at bed time. Sure, we’ve had a one or two accidents. Weeing in his puddlesuit and filling up one welly to the brim has been the high(low)light so far. But, you know what? J woke up one morning and decided to change something. It’s all been driven by him (and chocolate).


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So, if you want to change something this January, go for it! Do it for you, because YOU want to. Not because the media tells you to, or because Susan from your A level English class is telling you about how great her life choices are on social media. And if you hit a stumbling block along the way, dust yourself off and get back to it. J doesn’t care that he’s not had 100% success rate – he doesn’t think twice about it. He gets cleaned up, gets a fresh pair of pants and carries on the journey. Whatever you try this month (and I really hope it’s buggy running), take heed from the toddler in you. Get up, get to it and carry on regardless.

Running Recovery - By Mel

Wendy Rumble

This guest blog is written by Mel Wiltshire, a mum of 2 pre-schoolers from a farm in Hertfordshire and our Mountain Buggy Terrain Ambassador.

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Once upon a time ago, I played a lot of sport. I was fortunate enough to work with a top class strength and conditioning coach, who transformed my fitness. Whilst chatting to a group of us one day, he mentioned something about not having to stretch at the end of a game/training session – music to my ears! I basically switched off there and then and have taken this as gospel ever since. Fast forward a few years and call it age/ two pregnancies/ one child or another stuck to my hip for the past three years, but I’m finding myself with more aches and pains than ever. I’ve ignored it for long enough, however the fact is I can’t get away with such a flippant disregard for my body, so I’m turning my attention to post-run recovery.

I’ve tested out a couple of different recovery aids and here’s the low down on what I discovered….

 

Foam Roller

The first time I encountered one of these bad boys was circa 2004. It was presented to us at a training weekend as the next best thing to sports massage. Oh, and while we are on the topic, the words ‘sport’ and ‘massage’ are not compatible. A sports massage is in no way relaxing, and will most likely result in a lot of expletives! So, how does this roll of foam work? Well, the box says that it limits soreness and stiffness by promoting blood flow and breaking down adhesions. I have to be fair, the foam roller is fairly true to its promise, especially in the IT (iliotibial) band area. Here’s a brief description of how to use it:

Iliotibial Band foam rolling
Lie on your right side with the foam roller just above your knee bone. Extend your right leg straight out, and bend your left leg and place it in front of your right leg. Place your right hand on the floor for balance, and roll along your outer thigh from the knee bone to just below your hip bone. Repeat on the other side

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I foam rollered (it’s a word) my IT band three times per week for three weeks*, and I have to say it did help. It hurt, but I got used to it and even weirdly looked forward to it – it’s quite a satisfying pain, if there is such a thing. Someone once explained it as thinking of your muscle as a tube of toothpaste, and the foam roller is squeezing the bad stuff out, which I think is a fairly accurate way of describing the sensation! 

Pros

Cheap, quick and satisfying. Can be done anywhere!

Cons

Hard to foam roll some areas of your body e.g I find it difficult to generate enough pressure on my calves.

*ok fine so I didn’t actually do this in such a regimented way because, you know, kids. BUT, I did use it and it does work!

 

Acupressure mat aka BED OF NAILS

Husband: ‘What’s that?’

Me: ‘A bed of nails’

Husband: Presses hand on bed of nails and yelps with pain

Me: Face palm.

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I came across this acupressure mat on one of the occasions that I’ve fallen deep into the Instagram rabbit hole. The promise of endorphins being triggered, stress reduction and an overall sense of wellbeing had me straight on amazon prime - I’m a marketing person’s dream! It’s recommended that you lie on it for 20 minutes (hmmm..) each day on your back/ front/ stand on it and reap the benefits. I haven’t been able to stomach lying on my front (ba-boom ching) but I have tried the other two positions and I sort of love it! I hold a lot of tension in my back, and even if lying on this just helps me to be still for 5 mins without fidgeting, checking my phone, watching tv etc, then it’s a success.

Pros

Genuinely relaxing, cheap

Cons

It’s relatively small, the kids must be out of the way! (although I think this is actually a pro…)

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 Ice Bath

After 10 years of ice baths I’m not about to get in one out of choice unless I’m seriously desperate, and I’ve not reached that point yet. However, a soak in a hot bath with a glass of something is a dream. Door locked, lights off, candles on… bliss. 

Pros

Easy, cheap, quick

Cons

Prune fingers and toes!! 

Bath goals! 👇

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Final verdict

All of these things work in one way or another and I haven't even touched on fuelling or hydration.  The main thing I’ve realised is the importance of scheduling time for you to look after yourself. Ditch the washing up, the laundry and the guilt. After all, you can’t pour from an empty cup / run with a broken leg!

 

Love Mel x

Follow my outdoor mum life journey @the_running_mum

Breastfeeding and buggy running - The Lowdown

Wendy Rumble

Running after having a baby can be difficult enough with finding a good time to go out for a run and mustering the energy to exercise, but if you also need to consider how you will breastfeed your baby around your run then it might put you off altogether! 

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A buggy run and coffee with Jen & Sim Benson

Wendy Rumble

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So one sunny Friday in November I took a trip to Wiltshire to meet the Bensons. Those of you that follow my blogs will know that I interviewed them back in April about their family adventures.

Jen and Sim are writers who have had two books published (Wild Running and Amazing Family Adventures) plus regularly write for Trail Running Magazine plus others.

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There was no formal interview while we were enjoying our pootle around the lanes but I had the chance to ask a few questions and here are the exerts!  

So what have they been working on recently? 

So the last 6 months or so have been spent writing a book of adventures along with the magazine articles, blogging and parenting!  They wanted to go a bit wider than just running and the next book reflects that.

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So how did two such likeminded people meet? 

In a camping shop which Sim worked at and Jen was looking for a temporary job.  A qualified Podiatrist, Jen never gets bored about taking about ruunning and apparently Sim will talk to you about technical kit until the cows come home.

What are they juggling right now?

As parents to Eva and Hugo and most recently the springer spaniel Kelpie, they certainly have their hands full! Being writers means that the normal challenges to fit in exercise is reduced. They take a morning or afternoon slot.  But like all parents of young children there is still a negotiation and some bribes to get them to come out and not just eat chips by the play area.  (Phew that’s not just us then!) 

Whats the most romantic place they have been? 

Brownsea Island off Poole in Dorset. Owned by the National Trust, there are only a few places to stay so it feels very exclusive! 

 Chocolate coins are accepted buggy running tender! 

Chocolate coins are accepted buggy running tender! 

What do they love about their running buggy, the Thule Chariot Cross 2?

Never that interested in buggies, previously opting to carry their children to get where they need to go but they are loving this piece of fabulous kit.  It will go anywhere, can be used as a bike trailer and they even put the dog or a child’s bike in it when needs must!  

What is their guilty pleasure? 

Before I meet them I’m secretly worried at this point that they would suggest some sea kelp or kale broth. However we tucked into Millionaire’s shortbread, brownies and cappuccino’s during our chat so that was a ridiculous misconception.  When asked, Sim suggested it was outstanding quality coffee (confessed coffee snobs) and craft beer.

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What would you say to parents who are stuck inside and can’t find the motivation to get out? 

Don't set high expectations! If you just get to the front lawn and they play there, that’s still great! If you meant to go for a long walk but the kids are loving playing by a river then accept that as a brilliant outing too.  

What is your favourite family on the go snack? 

Kallo chocolate rice cakes always go down well with their family!  

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It’s a funny pastime meeting people who you have only ever seen on social media or in books. As someone with a geeky interest in running as soon as I hear fast times (Jen’s Marathon PB is 3.08) and all the Ultra Marathons and Ironman competitions they have completed then I am in awe. Accompany that with their heaps of knowledge, epic kit and amazing bodies (Jen’s legs seem to go up to her arm pits) it’s easy to be intimidated.  However I can honestly say for every moment I spent with the Bensons I could not have been more at ease.  I could have talked to them for hours and wish I lived round the corner so they could take me on their amazing adventures.  I’m imaging an spur of the moment canoe trips and running through streams... now where’s that Right Move app...?

Lowri Morgan - the Ultra marathon mum

Wendy Rumble

Which parents are at the top of their game (athletically speaking) and juggle life with the help of a running buggy?  When former interviewee, Ironman Sophie Bubb mentioned Ultra Marathon runner Lowri Morgan when I was interviewing her back in April I had to find out more about this glamourous TV presenter who also happens to be an adventurer an Ultra marathon runner.

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Fast forward 6 months and through the power of welsh friends I was delighted to be able to have a chat with Lowri and find out a bit more about her buggy running.  But first let me tell you a bit about Lowri’s amazing life to date (she is currently writing an a book about her running so watch this space for more details about that in 2018!)

Born near Swansea and now living nearer Cardiff, Lowri is a BAFTA and multi award winning television presenter, a World Class Ultra endurance marathon runner, having raced in some of the most extreme races in the world and an Adventurer. Lowri is one of only six to ever complete one of the notoriously difficult 350 mile non-stop footrace - 6633 Ultra in the Arctic.

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A self-confessed adrenaline junkie she has represented Wales on the rugby field, in athletics, cross country and despite a serious knee operation and being told she would not be able to run competitively again, has competed in numerous marathons worldwide and completed the illustrious Ironman Challenge. 

In 2009 Lowri completed the Jungle Marathon in the Amazon. In the heat and humidity of the jungle, out of the 150 top runners only 50 finished. She managed to finish the race in the top ten in her first ever ultra-marathon. 

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Having a baby clearly wasn’t going to stop a lady with this level of activity but maybe there was a team of people on hand to help this welsh supermum? I wanted to know more about how buggy running formed part of her new life.

“Getting a running buggy was my lifesaver.  I was kindly given the Baby Jogger Summit X3 soon after I had my son, and it was immediately including in filming of the program I was doing at the time.  It’s a great all-round buggy and goes everywhere with us.  When I was pregnant I was worried about losing that momentum having run a lot previously, but I think being able to exercise during pregnancy helped me to bounce back quicker. Obviously, I would advise that mums follow the advice of a medical professional but having a buggy that was suitable for being outdoors really helped me both physically and mentally on my journey back to running.  Working in the media I do not work traditional hours and I went back to work after 6 weeks.  I have a funny memory of shooting an adventure program and having to rock climb up a cliff, then once I was at the top I need to express so I had to do that in an empty field full of sheep before abseiling back down to where my parents were looking after my son and we did a bottle pass over!  I could never in a million years have imagined I would be doing that at some point!

I cannot emphasis enough how important having a buggy that enabled me to go out and run, was for my mental health.  We would regularly go out, even in the rain, me, my dog and my son.  Our running buggy is still our main buggy several years on.  We would stop start to look at things like the ducks which became an interval session.  I would sprint the 800m to the ducks.  Rest for a bit and then jog on.

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In terms of when we went, there was no specific routine.  My son wasn’t a great sleeper at home and would only fall asleep in the car or buggy.  So I would time the runs for when he was getting sleepy, maybe after lunch."

I felt very uneasy about returning to fitness knowing how horrid it is to feel unfit, so I asked Lowri what advice would you give mums who feel daunted about returning to running? 

“It's always going to be hard, for everyone.  Lower your expectations then work on it consistently.  Before I was pregnant I completed many races of 100 miles plus, but I remember my first run vividly when I expected to go out for a gentle five or six miles but in the end I only did two miles and it felt incredibly hard.  But it does come back, and I found I was able to be competitively racing a year after.  Sometimes you have a bad day.  But now I’m back racing even stronger and many mums have the same experience.  (Paula Radcliffe and Sophie Bubb are just a few great examples.) 

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One of the things that has changed is that I’m not so governed by the GPS.  Often, I just go out with my buddies (dog and son!) and enjoy it.  Fitting in the training around my son was my priority.  Sometimes it turns into an interval session. I will stop to see the ducks, 800m sprint, rest and then go again.  Or maybe if he fell asleep I’d keep going as long as I could.  Buggy running is difficult, but it is the best all over body workout; arms, core and legs!  Mentally it was so good for me to get out, I could run and be a good mother.  Not feeling guilty because I’m not away or not feeling guilty for not running.  The nature of my schedule is that now I will often get up at 5am for a two hour run before my husband leaves for work is I want to run solo and get some miles in.  My son was with me on shoots in the early days before nursery which he attends now.”

As a time pressed mum who has had a fair amount of injuries this year, I’m intrigued how she stays injury free?  “I listen to my body.  I know when to push or not, but I can only know this now based on my experience.  Recently I started to get shin pain and before I sought treatment for shin splints I tried some new trainers which sorted it out.  I don’t have a coach, it doesn’t really work for my schedule, I’m a bit of a nightmare for them when I say I’m off to film in Africa and won’t run for 3 weeks!”

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And finally, I’m keen to know out of all these amazing adventures which was the best race?  “The best race over all was the Artic race, completely humbling race, broke me and happened to leave me with shattered metatarsals.  But when it comes to a buggy run I love my local parkrun, (Cardiff along the Taff trail).  Obviously, I stood in the back with the buggy and when we got started my mind suggests that I get the pace up but rather than that I know it’s not about racing everyone but enjoying the camaraderie which made me enjoy it so much more.  I loved it.”

So, like most of us Lowri loves parkrun!  Isn’t that refreshing for a famous Ultra runner!  I must confess I was a little nervous interviewing/talking to such an amazing (and rather famous) lady with my zero lack of interviewing/journalism skills but I can honestly say I don’t think I have ever spoken to a lovelier stranger!  She was extremely generous with her time and is a huge advocate for running buggies in order to help more parents find the freedom they need after they have a baby.  After one chat with her I was ready to set my alarm for 5am.  I just wish she was around the corner so I could join her (keeping up might be an issue) she officially has a new #fangirl! 

You can follow Lowri on Instagram @_lowrimorgan

 

 

 

 

 

The Buggy Runners Flat Lay by Mel

Wendy Rumble

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You know those flat lays that you see on Instagram? The ones with the beautifully folded clothes, perfect accessories and must-have shoes? Well in a moment of madness, I thought I would recreate this dreamy vision with my favourite buggy running gear. It would look so pretty, a nice touch to mix up my feed and share ideas. Maybe I could do it on a seasonal basis?! It will all be laid out on a white background…maybe I could have a theme – oooo monochrome or a touch of neon!! *insert dreamy sigh* So how did my vision shape up? Turns out my flat lay is more WTF than cool AF, but hey, a good dose of reality on social media every once in a while never hurt anyone, so I’m rolling with it!

 

My essentials….

1. Trainers

Despite playing sport at one level or another for the majority of my life, when it comes to trainers I haven’t actually put a huge amount of thought into what I buy. For a long time it was the Asics Gel Kayano – my friend wore them and was a better athlete than me so I figured if I wanted to be like her then I should buy the same shoes. Needless to say, I didn’t suddenly start being able to run as fast as her, but my trainers looked great so, whatever.  When I decided to get back into running after having baby no 2, I was feeling pretty bad about myself, how unfit I was, fully aware of the uphill struggle ahead, my post baby hair loss and spotty skin, the saggy stomach…. (are you feeling really sorry for me yet?! Grab your violin!)  I did some research, had no idea what my ‘gait’ was and decided that as I was actually enjoying this running malarkey then I was going to invest properly (I know, so adult.). I found The Active Foot Company in Worcester, was seriously impressed with the knowledgeable staff and walked out with a pair of trainers that are as comfortable as my slippers! WIN!

 

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2. Head gear

My hair is a constant source of annoyance; it’s too thin and is neither curly nor straight. Add the post baby hair loss in the mix and we are onto a real downer. I know I should be thankful that my hair is finally growing back, and I’ve progressed from the ‘undercut’ stage to the ‘wispy fringe’. But at least the undercut gave me an edge… My current lid is reminiscent of the ‘light fringe’ my mother made the hairdresser cut in when I was 13, oh the angst! I’ve tried a number of different hair bands in my time - different fabrics, different widths, tie up, fully elasticated...At one stage I was wearing even a plastic alice band from Boots, not my best look. Anyway, I saw the Sweaty Band on Wendy’s website with all of its magical promises and I thought I may as well try it out. Well, nothing even comes close to the Sweaty Band - it literally does not move from my head, hands down, the best hair band I have ever owned. Who knew I could be so passionate about a head band?! I’ve actually worn them out in ‘real life’ - not just to run, as they are so good at taming my hair, plus they come in cute designs too.

So, that’s me taken care of. I was going to write about sports bras as owning a good one is super important (or so I’m told), but as I have a similar chest size to that of a 14 year old boy, I’m probably not the one to go to for recommendations!!!

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3. Ammunition

What makes my life easier when I’m running with the buggy? A happy toddler! I don’t have any ground-breaking recommendations for you here, just a few simple things that I pack to try and keep the boys from screaming when we are out.

Dummies are huge in our house! I usually take two as he has been known to throw them out of the buggy. Side note - when my husband and I are out together, we play a game of 5s and the loser has to lick any dirt off the discarded dummy before we give it back to AJ… You’re welcome.

Snacks – I tend to stop and feed him snacks or a fruit pouch as I don’t trust him not to throw everything on the floor yet. This usually buys me another 10 mins running!

iPhone – If I’m out with my three year old, he is happy watching CBeebies on my phone for at least 20 mins. Everyone wins here as I’m not left totally breathless trying to answer all of his really interesting questions.

 

So there you have it, my first and most probably last, buggy runner flat lay! 

Love Mel x

Running two marathons in a month, the training and its impact

Wendy Rumble

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At some point in the spring my new Maidenhead running buddies persuaded me to sign up for the New Forest Marathon.  (Please note the lack of ownership of this decision.) The idea was it would be different to any other, on trails (I love running near trees!) and fun to be at an event with friends.  Training for an autumn Marathon has the benefits of the longer days and the warmer UK weather. Waking up for a 6am Sunday long run isn't quite as bad when it's already light.  Having two girls under the age of 5 and two jobs meant that I rely on getting the long run done early on the weekend and buggy running in the week.

So my training plan began. I was loosely following a plan a friend had passed on, and knew I wanted to do a weekly speed session plus long run with some shorter ones peppered in between.   The only certainty was the long run mileage, the rest was all flexible! At the start of the week I would put a Post-It next to my computer with the weeks schedule. 

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My friend Laura actually had a 'proper' training plan so we tended to meet up on a Monday night and do her designated speed session with anyone else who was about.  In the summer we used a grass track at the local school (this felt much kinder to my body than the local running track) and then the roads to do some fartlek work or 1 mile reps.  The Monday night timing worked for our families schedules but was less ideal when I had done a long run on the Sunday.

I continued to do a weekly Personal Training session (also shared with Laura) in order to work on my strength.  I was coming back from an injury to my foot which had meant I was unable to run for 4 months earlier this year.  A massive blow for someone who runs a business based on running!

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My mid week runs were buggy runs, (double or single) including at parkrun.  Although buggy running is harder, it means I go slower which isn't always a bad thing when it comes to the mid week mileage.   I suspected one of the reasons why I picked up injuries was that I went out the door, ran as hard as I could and then came back in and was jumped on by kids.  I knew I needed to stretch more but just didn't force myself to prioritise it.

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A few weeks into the plan as my foot pain was going completely, I developed a knee pain. Some physio from my lovely friend and Buggy Squad co-founder, Ros, helped this pass in a short number of weeks. But what lingered was a uncertainty about what my body could do without an injury popping up.

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As the training continued my friends started talking about trying a flat marathon in order to get some PB's and good for age times for London. Bournemouth was selected due to its proximity to Maidenhead and an idea it was flat (more on this later)  For a while the other 3 girls doing New Forest said they were doing Bournemouth, but I wasn't certain I wanted to extend the training by another 4 weeks. After a bit of deliberating, with my husbands encouragement, I signed up in August.  

 left to right (me, Laura, Hill's and Martha) at the start of New Forest Marathon  

left to right (me, Laura, Hill's and Martha) at the start of New Forest Marathon  

During the training, we often talked about what we wanted to do, goals wise.  Many of our group want to try an Ultra next year, but what I realised was that I wanted to get faster and qualify for Boston marathon in the US.  It's the only marathon that has qualifying times and feels like a huge big scary goal that I'm not sure if I can achieve so hence why its probably a good goal!  This time last year I wasn't sure if I could go sub 4 hours and I was making good improvements on my half marathon and 5k times. 

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My training was going okay (we cruised round New Forest as a group, walking for our injured friend and finishing in 4.45) but I was dissatisfied with my speed.  About 6 weeks out from Bournemouth I decided that if I were lighter I would be faster.  I had read a book called Older Faster Stronger by Margaret Webb and taken her advice to try Paleo.  I stuck to it with great dedication although I struggled to eat enough to not be hungry.  My allergy to eggs made many of the recipes (especially breakfast) quite hard.  I also had bad bloating which made me feel uncomfortable for long stretches.  I had already given up caffeine and alcohol, two of my great loves!  3 weeks into this plan when I hadn't lost any weight I ditched it!  Maybe I didn't give it long enough but at that point I just couldn't handle feeling so bad anymore. The stress levels were mounting at home and I felt like every waking minute was thinking about running, being better at running and not getting injured. 

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We treated New Forest Marathon like a training run and continued to train at intensity in the weeks afterwards.  Then came a new injury.  Laura and I were doing a speed session at the local track one night (in the dark... we have dedication in spades but sometimes a lack of common sense!) and I felt a pull in my side above my hip, on one of the sprints.  I carried on (my second mistake.  The first being running in the dark) thinking it was nothing but the pain lingered.  Unfortunately the pain didn't subside but stayed for the remaining 2.5 weeks leading up until Bournemouth.  That's when the stress levels hit an all time high.  I felt SO bitterly disappointed that I hadn't lost any weight or didn't even know how to lose any weight.  I felt disappointed that I had trained so hard for months but was injured at the time of the key race.  Plus I also didn't know how injured I was.  I could still run, but had the constant fear that if I ran I might put myself out of running for 4 months like I had earlier in the year.  Ros helped me with some physio, a Compex machine and taping.  But the most interested thing she said to me was that my stress levels were not helping my injury.  Working all the hours that god sends, managing two young children and then worrying about my injury/weight and speed had pushed me to the emotional edge.  I was taking vitamins, nutri-bullets, cherry active, putting hot water bottles on my side, doing exercises and generally thinking about Bournemouth..... all the blinking time.  Not healthy. Not a fun pastime.

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I wasn't training for the Olympics and ultimately no one actually gives two hoots what time I do apart from me. Everyone around me could see I was struggling but no one could do anything to help.  My mum just kept telling me to get some sleep!

Should I pull out or just go along for the experience.  My husband gave me strict instructions 'Do not be a dick and run too hard that you injury yourself for months like last time'.  He had a very good point.  This was the worst nightmare.  I couldn't imagine being able to pull out, it is so far from everything I stand for.  Don't give up is my motto and when I won the Common Room prize for Perseverance aged 9, that pretty much sums up my chartacter!  

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I wasn't nervous approaching the weekend of the race.  I just felt disappointed that I wouldn't be able to do what i'd hoped and run a PB or even a Boston Qualifying time.  I would go in a start pen behind the one I have opted for and run the start with my friend Martha who was going for 3.50.  We started together and I felt good.  It was warmer than I had expected and the capri's were warm.  There was heaps of water on the course and If i'd had enough storage compartments for my fuel then I wouldn't have worn my hydration pack.  We knew it was a course with many loops but we hadn't anticipated the elevations! (map below).  They were as brutal if not more than New Forest! 

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 As part of my doubts about my injury I was preparing to feel pain and slow (or stop) during the race.  Ros explained a very sensible pain scale of 0-10 and when I get near to 5 I had to slow, near to 8 then I had to withdraw. So as I was running I was constantly evaluating, did my side hurt? Was it hurting more? At around 12 miles I hadn't seen my family yet and it had got more painful so I said to Martha that I would let her go and slow down.  I actually didn't slow that much and seeing the family at 13 gave me a boost.

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However soon after I had a real wobble. I was looking at all the faster runners going past on their loop thinking about how disappointing it was that I was injured and never going to be able to be fast enough for Boston.  Suddenly I started to choke up and was close to tears.  The side affect of this was my breathing started to get pretty restricted and as an Asthmatic that's never ideal!  But thankfully I had my inhaler on me and took some puffs as I ran along which opened my airways straight away. I was trying seriously hard not to cry and felt pretty awful about it all. I had brought along headphones in case I needed a distraction and now was the time.  I enjoy running to dance music when I'm on my own and the up tempo pace can often help lift my speed.  I also had to give myself a talking to, and rationalise that I had dragged myself (and my family) to Bournemouth for a jog, that this didn't matter to anyone at all and the that the last thing my girls needed to see was me crying when I passed then again in a mile or so.  Somehow by telling myself I was being ridiculous I managed to calm myself and my breathing down.  The music was also giving me a great surge of energy and helped me get my pace back from the 9.29 to the average 8.48 that was the aim.  

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Strangely I then caught up with Martha on a hill and proceeded to feel strong and overtake others over the next 10 miles.  Unlike other experiences, when I was hanging on from 20 miles, I actually felt really good from about 17 until 24! The purpose of telling you this is that I could never have expected or predicted this. I have never had a huge surge or emotion or doubt in the middle of a race.  Looking back it was very strange and also interesting the mind tactics required to get me to calm down and speed up again. 

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As I got into the last stretch of the seafront I knew I was doing okay time wise but that that a PB would be tight. As my mum would say, 'just do your best' and so I gave it everything.  I finished in at 3hr51 and it was lovely to see my family and friends in the last mile again.

So I missed a BQ time, I missed a London Marathon qualifying time and I missed a PB by 2 mins..... which is actually a bloody good result when I was paced to my PB by someone else and I came into this race injured and doubting my ability to complete it. 3 weeks on and I can confirm that I didn't break myself!  I've decided to have 3 months off training and racing so give my body some R&R.  Buggy running doesn't count though.... that's just part of life!  

As part of World Mental Health Awareness during October and our Buggy Squad association with Run Together's #runandtalk initiative I thought I'd share these experiences with you in the hope that if you faces similar stresses, you can gain the support you need.  Having big goals and doing sporting challenges can cause a great strain on all parts of your life.  Just try and keep it all in perspective... it's just a jog!

Thanks for reading my ramblings, 

Much love

Wendy x

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When can I return to running?

Wendy Rumble

This article is written by Sarah Crosby, a Women’s Health Physiotherapist based at Crystal Palace Physio Group in London. She has recently returned to running after the birth of her baby daughter 8 months ago. Sarah is a keen runner and triathlete.

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As a Women's Health Physiotherapist, one of the most common questions asked by post-natal women is "When can I return to running?"

This unfortunately does not have a simple answer and depends on many factors.

There are a wealth of benefits to running that we all know and love; a sense of freedom, a buzz from feel-good hormones, post baby weight loss and feeling energized and healthy.

Before resuming running, it is worth considering that your body may still be recovering from the birth of your baby.

One of the most important things to consider when returning to running is how well your pelvic floor muscles are working. Running is a high impact exercise and your pelvic floor muscles will have to contract thousands of times over a 30 minute run. Approximately 2.5 times more impact occurswhilst running in comparison to walking. Therefore, the muscles need to be strong to be able to work affectively against these forces.

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The pelvic floor are a group of muscles that sit like a hammock along the bottom of your pelvis. They support your bladder, bowel and womb. In pregnancy these muscles getstretched by the added weight of your bump. Hormones including relaxin are also produced in pregnancywhichcause the pelvic floor to become more lax.

In addition, if you have a vaginal delivery these muscles will stretch massively and approximately 80% of women will have some degree of perineal tear or need to be cut (episiotomy) to enable the delivery of your baby.

Like any muscle in your body, the pelvic floor needs to recover after an injury or stress. It is imperative to make sure these muscles are strong before you resume running.

The NHS guidelines advise women perform pelvic floor exercises 3 times a day after having a baby (even if you had a C-section). The generic advice is to do 10 x 10 seconds squeezes and 10 x 1 second squeezes. However if you have any pelvic floor problems then the research says that an individualized program is the best way to recover.

The reasons why you should wait until your pelvic floor muscles are super strong to return to running is to:

A) Avoid any leaking (stress incontinence)

B) Avoid pain in your pelvis

C) Reduce the risk of a prolapse of your pelvic organs (often felt as a heaviness or bulging down below).

These are common post-natal symptoms, if you have any of these, you should seek the help of a Women's Health Physiotherapist for treatment before you commence running.

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It is a good idea to start some lower impact exercise after having a baby before you begin running. Here are some suggestions and rough timelines to consider:

0-6 weeks: Begin pelvic floor muscle exercises as soon as possible after the birth of your baby, no matter the type of delivery that you had. As soon as you are able, start gentle walking and build up gradually to start conditioning your body gently to exercise.

6-12 weeks: You can begin doing some resistance type exercises or bodyweight exercises as long as you are symptom free! Such as squats and lunges. Incorporate your pelvic floor exercises into your resistance exercises. If you have a local Pilates class now is a good time to resume this but please do make the teacher aware that you have recently had a baby as some exercises may not yet be appropriate.

12 weeks +: Around now you might feel ready to start running but many women won’t either so please listen to your body! If you are breastfeeding then you will still be producing relaxinand these hormones can make it more challenging to return to running, as your tissues may still be more lax. Some women prefer to wait until they stop breastfeeding before they begin running.

A good way to see if your pelvic floor is ready for running is to try this quick test. Jump on the spot with a full bladder and then cough. This might sound ridiculous but if you don't leak then that's a sign your muscles are ready!

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Let's start with pointing out its recommended you wait until the manufacturers guideline state the Buggy can be used for running with, circa 6 months.  Running with a buggy will challenge you further, but it is a great way to do some exercise with your little one.  The pushing whilst running requires extra strength from your abdominals and pelvic floor.  Build up the running slowly, you could begin by alternating between walking and jogging i.e. 1 minute walk, 1 minute jog.It is likely to feel very difficult at first! Take it gently and your fitness will improve in time.

It is imperative that you keep a good running posture behind the buggy.  You will need to lean slightly forward, leading from the chest and bending at your hips.  Your shoulders should stay down and back and keep your head up!

Lastly,remember to wear a very supportive sports bra (you might want to wear two!)and a good pair of trainers, your feet may well have grown during pregnancy.

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If you have any other concerns about your body and returning to exercise after having a baby such as back pain, tummy muscle separation or other aches and pains then please consult your GP or a women’s health specialist for further advice.

How I stay motivated to Buggy Run by Mel

Wendy Rumble

Staying Motivated


I’m not going to lie, sometimes I can’t think of anything worse than going running, with or
without the buggy. I can’t be bothered. I’d rather sit in the house snuggled under a blanket,
drinking hot tea and watching Grey’s Anatomy. Ok, this would never actually happen if I
didn’t go running due to the two little people requiring seemingly constant attention, but
you get my drift. How do I drag myself out of the front door? Glad you asked. Here are my
top 5 tips for staying motivated....

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1. Dangle that carrot
Promise yourself a treat for going out running. It doesn’t have to be extravagant, just a little reward for getting out and getting it done. My favourite things include a glass of wine with the kids’ tea, something from the M&S deli for my tea, a few squares of dark choc and the ultimate – a hot bath once the kids are in bed (choc/vino optional but recommended!).
Leave the clearing up/laundry etc and allow yourself the luxury of a 20 minute soak, you’ve earned it. Obviously, you don’t have to go running to be able to enjoy any of these things but if you have, it feels super virtuous!


2. Shout it from the rooftops
Tell a mate, tell a colleague, tell social media…. It doesn’t matter who it is but just tell someone. It’s amazing how this works, but the guilt of not going running once I’ve said out loud that I am heading out is enough to get me out of the front door! Maybe I should try this out with the housework….

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3. Sign up to a race
When I first got my Mountain Buggy Terrain back at the end of April, I set myself a goal of being able to complete a 5k Parkrun course. One month later, after some serious sweat and slog, Austin and I did our first Parkrun at Ellenbrook Fields. The satisfaction from this was enough to keep me motivated for a while, but soon my enthusiasm started to wane. I’d ticked that box so what next? Instagram intervened as it so often does (I’ve put some serious browsing hours in), and up popped an ad for the Shoreditch 10k, part of the Adidas City Runs series. I ignored it a few times until the spark finally lit (or maybe it was the gin fizz) and I entered! I’ll admit it, I’ve been totally sucked into the cool marketing of this event but if it got me excited to run again, who cares?!


4. Variety is the spice of life!
Two suggestions for mixing things up here: firstly, try a new route. I love exploring new
running routes. It somehow doesn’t feel so hard when you’re having to concentrate on
where you’re going or you have no idea of the terrain. I’m yet to find anything the Mountain Buggy Terrain can’t handle – it’s more about what I can cope with! New places mean new things to look at, which helps to keep Austin entertained too. I hate running multiple laps – I once messed up my timings which meant that I couldn’t run around the grounds of a stately home and ended up doing 5k worth of laps around some greenery and fountains at the back of John Lewis. Fairly soul destroying!
Secondly, add some other exercises into your run. I sometimes combine this with a stop at
the park. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated, some squat jumps in between pushing the swing, lunges at the bottom of the slide, tricep dips on a bench. Everyone wins!

 The dreaded John Lewis run!  

The dreaded John Lewis run!  

5. Meet a mate
If you’re lucky to have fellow (buggy) runners living nearby then go out together. You’re
much more likely to go out if you’re meeting someone, you wouldn’t want to let them
down! Alternatively, arrange to meet a friend for coffee at the end of your buggy run. Better still, combine this with point no 2 and there’s absolutely no backing out ;-)

So, there you have it, my top 5 tips for staying motivated. Off you go!

Love Mel x

Mum of 2 small boys from Hertfordshire, UK and Mountain Buggy Terrain UK Ambassador