Ashleigh is an active busy Mum of 2 children, aged 3 and almost 2. With a husband that works in the Army, often away from home, Ashleigh has become very creative making exercise alongside her children part of her lifestyle. Ashleigh impressively juggles parenthood, training for 3 sports, maintaining her nursing career, and ensuring that her husband (who is an ultra marathon runner!) gets the time he needs to train too. Read on to learn about Ashleigh’s journey and how she does it all!
Can you tell us what sports/ leisure activities you were involved in prior to hang kids?
I played competitive/rep netball and competed at a state level for swimming all through high school and into my 20’s. I also loved running, but only as a means to keep fit. I worked at a gym whilst I studied my Nursing degree, so I was a avid gym goer too.
What sports do you enjoy now?
This year I have enjoyed Triathlons. Thus far I have completed sprint distance triathlons. In July I am going to really challenge myself and participate in my first ever Olympic distance triathlon.
What made you decide to get into triathlons? Many women find training for one sport with children difficult enough??
I don’t actually remember the moment I said “I’m going to do a triathlon”. I was just a keen runner and a good swimmer and I needed a new challenge. Once I stop feeling challenged, my motivation goes away, so I signed up to do a lady’s only triathlon beginner course and its continued from there!
Since having children, What have you found most challenging about returning to exercise?
After my first I didn’t find it that difficult at all. I just popped her in the pram and off we would go. Otherwise, I’d put her in a backpack style carrier and we would walk up Castle Hill (A challenging 3 km incline) or find a trail through Douglas hills. After my second baby I found it quite difficult to find time to fit my training in. In Townsville, with this crazy hot weather, you are very limited to when you can exercise (even more so when you have kids). I prefer to do most of my training in early mornings or late afternoon/evenings to avoid the heat. However, my children’s sleep patterns meant that I sometimes had to train in the middle of the day…My second baby liked sleep. He was up super early and my little girl slept. My daughter would wake up and then my son would want to go back to bed for his first nap. In the evenings, dinner/bath routine starts about 4.30 and my littlest is back in bed by 6pm! I never take my children with me during the day as it is too hot, but if the opportunity to train comes up I will take it. I take any chance I get to fit some training in!My husband is also an ultra marathon runner ( we live in a very competitive household) so we have to have dedicated times to train so neither of us miss out!
Can you give us some tips for training with children?
Be adaptable! Always be ready to go so when the opportunity comes up you can just get the kids and go! I also use bribery haha! They often get “Please be good for mummy and stay in the pram and I’ll let you play at the park/ go for a swim when we are finished”. I also load the children up with snacks to keep them occupied. My eldest sits at the back of the pram so I usually set her up with a movie on the iPad if I want to get out for a longer run (just because she doesn’t get much of a view in the back)Also, think outside the square! I would get quite upset that I had to stop my training every time my husband went away for work, so I had to come up with a way that I was able to continue training with my children. We don’t have any family around, so it was just me and the kids… I have a double pram to run with. For walks I put my littlest one in a backpack and my eldest walks. Although I usually end up carrying her on my front. That is a killer workout! I also have a trailer for my mountain bike so I can put the kids in that and go for a ride. It is great resistance training!!Swimming, well I have to be a little more creative! Using boogie boards and pool rings for the children whilst I ‘tow’ them along, or ‘racing’ them up and down the pool are just a few ideas that I use.
Do you have a favourite pre race ritual?
I’m always so nervous before a race. It doesn’t matter if it’s a big race or a social one, I always seem to stress myself out that I’ve forgotten something or that I’m not going to do well. I like to have my kids around, they a very good distraction and take my mind off the race.
What is your most treasured piece of training equipment?
My Garmin! I love statistics haha
Do you think your children understand how incredible their mum is? What do they say about your training/competing?
They are a bit little yet to understand, they are only 3 and almost 2. But they love coming to events and watching, they love the atmosphere!
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Involve the kids early! If you enjoy something, make them a part of it! That way you don’t have to miss out and they may also follow the same path. I look forward to the day I can start doing fun runs or a mini triathlon with the kiddies… Ashleigh demonstrates that if you really want something, you can overcome the obstacles and challenges along the way! Here at SRM we admire Ashleighs dedication and creativity! This lady makes no excuses! We wish Ashleigh all the best for her Olympic distance triathlon in July and look forwatd to hearing about it!
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