It’s hard to believe but in around 4 weeks I will become a mother for the second time. My little girl has just turned two and is so action packed that my pregnancy seems to have flown by. In fact a lot of the time it has taken a back seat – something I feel I have to apologise to this new special baby for! Yes I admit I forgot to book the hospital and certainly am hoping that I have the full 4 weeks ahead of me as I feel in no way ready yet for the arrival! There is a lot I still need to do in that time. I have also been hoping that I might have actually got some sleep before then, but my 2 year old has decided that she quite likes waking up several times a night and must beat the sun up each day. So yes, a little scared at the thought of being up with two in just a few weeks time. And of course apologies in advance for those I come in contact with after that as I am sure that I will be less than optimally functional for some time. Complaints aside though I am really looking forward to our little family of three becoming four – becoming a mum has been the hardest, most rewarding and special thing I have done and while it is awesome to see my little girl growing up I must admit it will be nice to have a tiny little dependent snuggling baby again – that time is really so short.
In the meantime I have been kept busy by my work (and mostly my new book) as well as staying fit. Although I have not been following any structured training I feel as though I have maintained some good fitness and still have the intention of returning to racing later this year. I also feel that I might be better prepared this time around to deal with the many challenges post baby associated with getting back to race shape. I certainly learnt a lot of lessons last time around – some of which were learnt the hard way but will be put to good use this time around.
The absolute most challenging thing is time. Without a doubt. Regaining fitness is actually not that hard, but juggling time, and especially with lack of sleep is a huge challenge. Especially as for me my priority is spending time with my children. My training needs to be done in the time they are asleep and not needing me, which means it needs to be time efficient. This is something I have learnt though is not only possible but very effective. Having the basics in place is essential – in terms of body maintenance and strength. This is something that I have worked on throughout my pregnancy and also plan on having some good structure surrounding my return to racing. I view this as such a critical area of building a strong foundation without which I can not add any amount of work to.
I have also learnt about prioritising training. For me, I know I can swim and that with a couple of weeks of getting back in the water I can swim at an adequate level. It might not be the fastest I can swim but it is certainly enough to be near the front of the swim in races and my training time is best spent in other areas for more gain.
I know that I have to be careful with run volume – last time I suffered two stress fractures on my return largely due to the effects of breastfeeding. Just one other obstacle that mum athletes have to consider. Again having a good strong structural base will be key. The bike will also be a priority. Much of my training is done on the Computrainer for efficiency and so that I can be at home as needed (even small snatches of time while babies are sleeping can be worthwhile). I used this method to good effect last time but I think I also learnt in the process how to do things even better this time.
As to racing, while I have plans I am not locking down any specific races just yet. Much of that will depend on the new baby and my little girl. One thing is for certain I will not be travelling without them nor will race plans interfere with their needs. And I believe you can never really know this until after the baby arrives – they all seem to have their own personalities, requirements and ability to cope with different scenarios. So it is very much a wait and see approach. But I will race again for sure. I don’t think I can stay away!!