How does Heather Manage Motherhood and Cycling - Read on and find out


Q. Congratulations on the birth of Harry. How are you finding getting back into training

A. Thank you, he really is quite an awesome little creature. Getting back into training has been enjoyable, but as hard as I expected! I do try and get out every day, generally speaking, I'm running 4 times a week and cycling 3 times a week, which is my time for 'me' away from being mum. I couldn't run at all as it was a complicated pregnancy, and cycling stopped earlier than I'd have liked, so it's been a long break. I got very fat and unfit during that time, as my only craving was chips lol, and it feels like nothing will ever be the same again. Before Harry, I was training twice a day, every day, so just getting out once is quite a life adjustment in itself, and it's hard to even do that sometimes when I'm just knackered. I'm enjoying riding and running again, I'm just slower, and obviously don't ride anywhere near as far, I think 55 miles is my longest ride post Harry. I have done a few 5k and 10k running races now though. I still need to lose nearly a stone so hopefully things will improve as that disappears. Running started a bit later than I'd hoped (about 8 weeks post birth I think) as I had an emergency C section which made everything quite sore, and I had sepsis as well, so was ill for a little while. (nothing is ever straight forward with me)

Q. I think running was your favourite sport. what type of events do you do

A. It will always be my favourite sport (sorry!) I like the simplicity of it, it's incredibly time efficient, there is no faff of bits falling off bikes, punctures, races are more 'fair' as cycling can often come down to how much money you are prepared to throw at it! You can just put trainers on, go out the door within 30 seconds, and I love running in Swinley forest at the end of my road. Everyone who knows my bike handling abilities knows I will never cycle off road.  Having spent many years doing many, many marathons and ultra marathons, I now just do half marathons and 10ks mainly, 5k when I have to but they hurt far too much, as does cross country, but my club (Datchet Dashers) are pretty forceful about dragging everyone out to race those horrible things in winter. I moan a lot though (no change there)

Q. So what made you start cycling

A. I had a severe full plantar fascia rupture in 2010. I was told after surgery that I'd never run again, so looked for something else to do. Clearly, they got this one wrong, although I can't run marathons any more, and am stuck with a bike as I can't run every day I still consider myself very lucky to still be able to do what I can, even if it's a lot less than the old days. I was basically looking for something to do while I was bored, so I decided to cycle LEJOG, unsupported, with all my stuff in my panniers, having literally just started cycling. As you do.

Q. What other sports do you do

A. I just run, and go out for the odd long walk (I got into that while pregnant as couldn't do anything else) Oh, and I do love the gym, but I can't really fit that in at the moment. I'm absolutely hopeless at anything involving a bat, ball, or hand/eye coordination, and I don't think there is anyone else in the world worse at skiing than me. I will never do that again. Plus I hate snow. I really don't understand why people would ever want to go skiing.

Q. How do you think being a Mum is going to affect what events you do

A. The 600k events are quite clearly out for a very long while I can't, or don't want to realistically go out for very long rides at the moment. My husband is brilliant at looking after Haz while I go out training every day (we tag team this as he is a runner) but I can hardly tell him I'm off for a whole weekend to ride my bike. And of course I wouldn't want to be away from home yet either. I don't really ride over 90 mins on a weekday, so just won't get the miles in even for the odd 200k really, it will all just have to wait a while. I'm also conscious of how much damage you can do crashing, so I'm far too reluctant to TT while Harry is so little as I need to be in one piece to look after him. Most of that is in my head as I haven't mentally got over my last big accident in 2017, I'm still very twitchy.

Q. Do you have to be more organised now having Harry to look after

A.  Not really, it's more a case of not necessarily training when I want to do it, I just have to do it when the time is available, even if I cant really be bothered, as it's the only opportunity. The first few weeks were very, very hard as I was just so tired all the time, (we had a very difficult start as Harry wasn't very well and we were in Southampton hospital a while) but thankfully he's now nailed the whole sleeping thing and I don't have to get up till 6

Q Do you still have time for other hobbies

A. Not as much of course, I would LOVE to just be able to sit and read a book sometimes. I just finished my first since he was born, it's taken the full 4 months (!!!!!!!!!!!) My main hobby is my complete devotion to the Villa, and of course have been over the moon to see them get back to the Premier League (Ben wasn't up for naming Harry 'Super Jack', and we do have kit wars as he keeps trying to dress Haz in Fulham gear, to my horror) I'm also a huge Solihull Moors fan, and followed them home and away last season, although they messed up their playoffs, so there was no double Wembley trip. I'm not sure they'll ever repeat last season's miracle. I can also be found at Bracknell Town FC (Ben has a season ticket) and I am into Cricket (Warwickshire/Birmingham Bears), F1 and athletics. I also play in Crowthorne Symphony Orchestra, my maternity leave there only lasted 4 weeks, and I play in a ceilidh band (don't laugh!) at weddings/parties/birthdays/bar mitzvahs, available for booking on

Q. What is your most memorable event you have done

A. Cycling, I think the 600k I did in Wales probably in 2015. I'd done a few by then so wasn't a novice, but the route was totally ridiculous, really small silly steep slow lanes, fairly hard navigation, don't get me wrong, it was beautiful, but it was just ridiculously hard. It did make the next 600k I did in Yorkshire feel like a piece of cake though.

Q. What made you join MDCC

A. One of my running friends is a star at Kingston Phoenix, and she made me try a TT there, probably in 2011. The idea was very intimidating, I had an old banger of a commuting bike, totally inappropriate clothes on but managed about 28.30. I absolutely loved it, and so looked for a local club to have another go. I think I rode 27 minutes the next week, Peter Bell was just so encouraging that I think I joined that night.

Q. What are your targets for 2019

A. Cycling, I have absolutely none :-o I'd just like to shrink down to a better size and perhaps try a sportive or something at the end of the summer. I won't TT this year. Running, I have only managed 49 mins for 10k so far (I realise it's very early days) but I'd at least like to get below 45 mins this year and then start working at it properly next year. I think I'll probably enter Burnham Beeches half in August, Maidenhead in September and some others in the autumn. I've got Cyprus half marathon booked for Feb 2020