Monday, February 11, 2013

Stroller Strong: Tips For Running With a Jogging Stroller

By: Angela Shatting

For busy parents, running with a stroller is sometimes the only way to stay active. It can be a lot of fun and a great work-out, but pushing a weighed down stroller also creates its own set of challenges. If the weight of the stroller sometimes seems like too much, you’re not alone. We’ve all skipped a run because loading up and pushing the weight just didn’t sound fun. Whether it be your body or the passenger that’s not cooperating, sometimes the stroller just stays parked. Running with a stroller takes physical and mental strength. Find your groove, stay strong, don’t be afraid to try something new and keep pushing!


Pace Yourself:

Running with a stroller takes a lot of strength and can take your run to a whole new level. Suddenly you’ll feel your biceps, abs and hamstrings more than ever before. Embrace the strength work-out and don’t get discouraged when you tack on some serious time to your mile. Remember, you have a lot of weight up front so slow it down and cut back on mileage if need be. Save your long runs for when you have childcare, you might be surprised at how light, care-free and fast you feel after running with a stroller! Give yourself a break, walk up-hill and don’t be afraid to walk/run in intervals. You’re out there, that’s all that matters!

Show Good Form:

You can practice Good Form Running with your stroller! Keep your core engaged and don’t rest your weight on the stroller. Avoid hunching over and pushing with your back. Keep your shoulders back and down with your chest open. Loosen your death grip on the handles (that’s what the emergency brake cord you are wearing on your wrist is for) and if pushing with one hand, alternate arms. Avoid injury by taking FootZones Good Form Running class and ask for running with stroller tips.

Get The Gear:

Leading brands like Bob, Chariot and Mountain Buggy make lightweight easy to maneuver joggers with shocks and fun accessories. If the price ruffles your feathers, you’re not alone! Bend has an amazing re-sale market on joggers. Get online or go consignment shopping and find a deal! A quality jogger can often be more comfortable for the kiddos and less bumpy. That just may make the difference in keeping you on your run longer. Trying to run with a conventional stroller just doesn’t do the trick, invest in yourself and get the three wheel jogger!

Safety First:

Buckle them up! Duh right? Wrong! According to a recent article on the website Suite101, 13,000 kids are injured in strollers every year and the majority of those are from unbuckled children falling out! Clearly, us Bend parents are smarter than that, but don’t forget Central Oregon elements. Blankets will keep them warm, letting you run longer! In warmer months, cover their exposed legs. Stroller shades often cover the upper body, leaving their legs and feet exposed to the sun during your run. Nothing like a sunburnt baby to bring on the parent guilt ‘eh! Keep the front wheel locked in place while running. Yes, it makes the stroller harder to turn, but it also protects the wheel from catching on an edge or debris and getting away from you. Plus, the locked front wheel adds a nice little core work-out every time you make a turn. Most joggers have a safety cord, use it! Keep it in your hand or on your wrist in case you trip, loose your grip or head down a hill.

Let The Negotiations Begin:

At some point your running buddy may decide that sitting in the stroller for an hour isn’t really much fun at all. So put the fun back in it. Agree to run to a destination like a park, the library, cafĂ© or a friends house. While they play, get in a nice stretch and some calisthenics (maybe other parents will join you)! Try giving them a fun snack or toy to keep them occupied for the ride. Finally, and most importantly, teach them that you need your exercise and by sitting in the stroller, they are helping you build strength and stamina. My daughter challenges me to run faster, picks points to sprint to and loves a good downhill.

Don’t Go It Alone:

Recruit other parents to grab their stroller and join in! Running with friends can be fun for you and the kids; and the added support and camaraderie is always beneficial. Take advantage of the extra eyes. Pick an open spot, park the strollers and take turns running sprints or hill repeats while your running partner does squats next to the strollers. No friends up for it? No worries, it’s Bend, we have stroller running groups!

Enjoy The Ride:

Pushing your stroller sets a great example for your child, builds strength and may be what’s keeping you sane throughout the day. Enjoy the challenge running with a stroller creates and keep getting out there. Your little ones are getting bigger everyday (you know, you’re pushing them), enjoy this time in your life and be grateful for your time together. Have fun with it, let go of expectations and be proud that you loaded up and headed out the door!

Reap The Rewards:

Enjoy your stroller free runs even more! Don’t take your usual stroller route when baby free! Find a trail, hill or new route that’s just for you. All your stroller runs are also a strength work-out. Without the stroller you’re faster, stronger and lighter. Celebrate all your hard work and have fun!

Angela Shatting can often be found pushing her two children in their chariot with the family dog in tow. She is a new addition to the FootZone crew and a long time runner and yogini.


Angela said...

I'd love to learn about some trails that are stroller friendly (i.e. not too bumpy/ rough). Thanks!

theolivevan said...

Hi, Sorry for the late response. I wasn't notified of this comment. Are you in bend? The 1st street River Trail is great for strollers!

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