"My legs can't go any more far" - Women's Running UK

“My legs can’t go any more far”

Author: Women's Running Magazine

Read Time:   |  November 11, 2016

"My legs can't go any more far"

Recent attempts to gently persuade my almost-four-year-old to ditch his buggy in favour of using his legs are, more often than not, met by an all-too-familiar protest:

To clarify, I am not trying to drag a small boy along the length of the South West Coast Path, nor am I expecting him to hike happily behind me up Scafell Pike. Nope. Most of the time, I’m simply trying to cajole him into make it to the local shops, a 10-minute walk away (40 minutes when accompanied by a reluctant child on foot). Of course, when he’s tired, or grumpy, or wants to bring the entire contents of his toy box with us, it is still preferable to pop him in the buggy, for fear the shops will actually have closed by the time we arrive. But on the whole, it is becoming far easier for me to have him walk beside me – considering the fact I also have the baby strapped to my back in her sling.

A promising start

It usually starts well. He will happily hop, skip and jump along the pavement, stopping to exclaim over snails, sticks and dog poo (“POO, Mummy! There’s a POO here. Look! LOOK!”), for all of approximately four minutes and 45 seconds, at which point he will stop in his tracks and declare stubbornly:
“No! My legs can’t go any more far.”
If I’m really lucky, he will sit down. Joy.

I will then spend what I deem an unreasonable amount of time coaxing, motivating, pleading (on those days when I’m willing to leave my dignity in the gutter alongside him) and, finally, bribing him to get back up and start plodding the final few minutes to the High Street. (Is there anyone out there who doesn’t resort to bribery as a mainstay of parenting? There’s nothing like the promise of a packet of chocolate buttons to get him back on his feet).

"My legs can't go any more far"

You’ve done what?!

It was during one such outing that I happened to bump into a fellow mum and runner friend, along with her three children. We chatted about the little ones; about the fact that her youngest, who is just a few months older than my baby, still breastfeeds fairly regularly (snap), wakes every few hours during the night (snap) and that she gets regularly kicked in the head at night due to the fact they co-sleep (snap, snap, snap).
“Anyway,” she asked, “did you do the local half-marathon the other weekend? I didn’t see you, but it was great!”
Excuse me?!
This lovely woman, who is still breastfeeding, co-sleeping and is the mother of a sleep thief – just like me – but who also has ONE EXTRA CHILD than me, found the energy to run a half-marathon the other weekend? Huh.

Inspiration? Check

Our chat got me thinking. I spend so much time cajoling my son into walking a little bit further. I encourage him because, even when he’s a tad reluctant, I know he can do it. I know he can keep going for that bit longer; take a few more steps. Let’s be honest, if he saw an ice-cream van up ahead, he’d be racing off, the tiredness brushed aside; any aches and pains instantly forgotten.
And I’ve realised something.
I’ve built up my running routine, so I now run roughly three times a week. But still, I’ve been happily trotting along in my nice little comfort zone, thank you very much. My runs haven’t really exceeded the 30-minute mark, because – well, I’m a mummy, and I’m time-poor, and most of the time I feel bloody exhausted.
Or do I? Am I really as tired as I tell myself? Or, with a little extra nudge, a spot of gentle coaxing, and maybe the bribe of a Jelly Baby or two, could I take those extra steps? Get to the end of the next road? Start totting up the miles?
You know what? Yes. My legs can probably go a little bit more far, too.
Suddenly, I’m feeling inspired; excited. And with that, I have a couple of 10Ks in my sights over the next few months. I know I’m time poor at the moment, but I also know I need to make the most of that time – throw in some threshold and interval sessions to boost my fitness, fast.
Watch out – I’m about to up my game…

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