Top Tips for Stroller Runningby Leyla Brooke
Running is a great way to keep fit and a great way to meet new people. I feel incredibly lucky to be able to run as it has brought so many wonderful people into my life, not to mention the health benefits. I have even been able to travel the world and run in various countries, but with young children, I have had to run with a stroller in order to continue training.
Stroller running can be a great way to get out when your children are young. It is important however to only start running with a stroller when your baby can sit unsupported. This is so they have the neck strength to withstand the bumps and shakes that running with a stroller can cause. Even the best running stroller will still cause some shaking and no doubt you will go over some bumps so it is worthwhile ensuring your child has reached this milestone before you begin. As every child is different there is not a specific age but most recommend waiting until at least 6 months before you begin.
The right stroller
Whilst it is possible to run with any stroller it is probably not advisable to. Running pushchairs have the ability to lock the front wheel, or come with a fixed front wheel. They are often, in fact, 99.9% of the time, three-wheeled buggies. They offer great suspension so as to be able to cope with the bumps in the road and the harness must be adequate enough that should the chair topple over the child will remain fastened in the seat. The tires on running pushchairs tend to resemble those of a bike as they offer better drip on uneven surfaces and smoother ride for the passenger. Running pushchairs also have two brakes, a foot brake and hand brake. A strap is attached to the handlebars which is worn on the wrist, just in case the stroller makes a speedy getaway or you lose your grip on the bars.
Running strollers need not be expensive. There are plenty of second-hand ones and some councils even loan them out whilst you run on their premises. I have found that some buggies suit off-road more than concrete and others suit the road much better. It is worth having an idea where you are going to use your stroller the most and make a decision which will, therefore, suit your needs the best.
Running for the first time
When you first start out running with the stroller pick a flat route and a short distance. This is so you can get used to how the stroller feels as you run. You work out your pace and how to run as you begin testing it out. Make sure you wear the wrist strap. I find it easier to run with one hand on the stroller and the other running. I will then switch every so often. I know others who prefer to have both hands on the stroller at all times and some who push it ahead only briefly touching with their fingertips [still wearing the wrist strap though]. You have to find what works for you and whilst there is the correct form and many YouTube videos to watch on this, as you start out it is better to feel comfortable and confident as you run.
Ideas for keeping them in the pushchair
As your child gets older it may be that they do not want to sit in the pushchair. I have had this happen a few times. Often using snacks or a drink will help them stay in the chair. I found if mine were really tired they would cry but after a minute would be fast asleep. Other times I have had to make the run shorter and then let them out and have a run alongside them, they would then get tired and climb back in. I have planned routes around duck ponds before so they can watch the ducks and sometimes we would play games like pretending to be pirate ships as we ran around the park. A treat of playing in the playground was also a good way to enjoy a run together.
Stroller running is such a great way to keep fit and also a lovely way to spend some time with your child. It also can encourage them to be more active as they see you taking part in a sport and want to join in too.