Posted by Tia Patel | OCT-06-2020
Have you got the running bug(gy) yet?
by Tia Patel on Oct 06, 2020
Guide to running with a buggy
Having been in lockdown for what feels like forever and with restrictions on socialising not being lifted anytime soon, we’ve all been spending more time at home with our loved ones, and with these long cold nights upon us, we’re predicting a post covid baby boom! 😉 Having a new arrival in the family doesn’t mean the end of your running career, in fact, it could be just the start
As a community of runners, running with a buggy is the ultimate way to multi-task. This is the perfect solution for parents who want to exercise without the guilt of leaving your baby with the grandparents.
Taking your babies on your run means you can spend quality time together, chatting about the wildlife or the things you see while you’re out and about. The sights and sounds of the great outdoors provide important sensory stimulation for your child’s development, whilst setting the perfect example to your children about being fit and healthy. As the saying goes they can’t be what they can’t see! We know it sounds cliché, but you are their role model and they learn from your actions
Stay with us whilst we run you through the benefits of running with a buggy, a guide to running with a buggy and the things to look for if you're thinking of buying a running buggy.
What are the benefits of buggy running?
Running with a buggy provides an additional calorie blast with a few meters of running requiring extra exertion by the body. Amanda Shannon Verrengia, a Pittsburgh-based USATF/RRCA run coach and personal trainer, says the extra calorie burn generally ranges from about five to eight percent, depending on several factors, including your weight, the weight of the stroller and child, your speed, and whether you push with both arms or alternate.
Using the push and chase method whereby you push the buggy and run to it acts as an interval workout with varied speeds, this is where the highest calories burn will take place.
Running with a buggy could also be the perfect way to sculpt your biceps and shoulders with manoeuvring the buggy on bends requiring strength in the arms. This is surely more satisfying than lifting weights at the gym! 🤷 For some ways on how to manage your weight without dieting click here!
Fresh air can do wonders for us and our children, being outside is known to improve mental health. Studies have proven that babies who are taken outside in the afternoon sleep better at night! Sunlight and Vitamin D are essential for growth and development in babies and increase production of happiness hormones in parents, which can be depleted when we are sleep deprived. Check our here for more about running for mental health.
Possible Improvements in Form
While it might seem awkward at first to run while pushing a stroller, it can actually help your form and potentially even improve your speed — according to running coach Eric Orton, author of The Cool Impossible. With the running buggy in front of you, it hinders any tendency to overstride. This is especially important on downhills, when you have to hold the stroller to keep it from getting away from you. According to Orton, running with a buggy means you strike the ground under your body, keeping your feet in a more natural position. He says the best way to start and try this is on a mellow hill and progress to steeper and faster inclines over time…………..Who knew! For more on running form clock here.
Check out the video below for tips on proper running form with a running buggy uk.
#TeamGPD Top Tips for Running with a buggy
- Push with one hand - Pushing a buggy impedes your natural arm swing, which makes it much tougher on your legs. So try pushing the stroller with one arm and swinging with the other. Keep switching arms, about every 5 minutes, to work both sides.
- Avoid running near cars - Run in parks, bike paths, sidewalks, or other areas where you don't have to worry about traffic. Not only is it a safer option, but your child will have a much more comfortable ride since you won't have to stop and start a lot to cross streets or avoid cars.
- Pack Wisely - Most buggies have a basket underneath, as well as other compartments or holders, so you should have plenty of room for things you might need during your run. Don't forget diapers, wipes, water (for you and your child), snacks, extra clothes, and a toy or book to entertain your child.
- Wrist strap - The safest strollers have a wrist strap that's connected to the handlebar. Use it, especially if you're approaching any downhills. Jogging buggies will pick up speed going downhill with the strap preventing the stroller from getting away from you.
- Maintain your running buggy - Just like a bike, your stroller needs to be taken care of in order for it to ride as smoothly as possible. Inspect the tyres before each run and make sure none are going flat. It’s recommended airing your tires at least once a month or every 5 runs. Before running, do a general inspection to make sure there are no loose screws or anything out of place.
Things to look for in a running buggy
- Fixed Front Wheel - It’s important that the front wheel of your buggy either has the option to lock or is permanently fixed (i.e. doesn’t swivel). This is a safety measure and ensures that, when you are running at speed, the buggy stays moving forward in a straight line. A swivel front wheel could come off the ground and then jolt you off to the side when it touches back down again, or it could get stuck in a rut. The outcome of these situations would be a potential tip sideways causing injury to the child, even if safely strapped in.
- Big Tyres - The rear wheels should be a minimum of 16 inches with inflatable tyres. The bigger they go, the better as this will create a smoother ride for your baby and makes it easier for you to push. It also puts your body under less stress pushing while you run and to prevent injuries to yourself. If you’ll be running on uneven terrain it's recommended to go for 18 or 20 inch wheels when buggy running.
- Handbrake - Designed to slow you down when running downhill, much like a brake on a bike. This is especially useful with a double buggy, which has some weight pulling away from you, or if you live in a hilly area.
- A sun canopy - Having sun in the eyes isn’t pleasant for anyone, let alone a little person! There’s always the option of clipping a blanket onto the hood but this is likely to be swept to the side when running at speeds. Instead ensure that the hood comes low enough to stop the sun rays.
- A lightweight design - The lighter the buggy, the easier it is to push, especially when you’re pushing an older toddler. With a fixed front wheel, the buggy will need to be lifted to steer. To maintain correct running posture, this is easier with one hand.
- Adjustable handlebar - Your running form includes having your arms at 90 degrees to your body to prevent injuries. Thus an adjustable handlebar is useful to ensure you are running correctly.
How to improve to prevent buggy related injuries?
Body Alignment: Running with buggys means losing power and increasing the load placed on your body by poor alignment of the head and trunk. Your pelvis may be driven forward, chest positioned behind your body and likely up, knees hyperextended and weight in the heels. When you go to push a stroller from this position, it will place extra load on the body which can lead to injuries ranging from back pain, to calf pain to knee pain to pelvic floor issues.|
- How to fix this? Stand in front of your shoulder with soft knees. Look down at your feet like you are looking over a cliff. While maintaining this position of your ribcage stacked right over your pelvis, equalise the weight on your feet between your heels and the balls of your feet. While maintaining this position, think of the top of your head being pulled up and forward with a light chin tuck without your chest bone coming up. You should feel like you are in a slight forward lean from your ankles, as if you were leaning into the wind.
Shoulder Position: Another factor in buggy running that drives poor overall body alignment is the position your hold your hands, arms and shoulders. It is common to let elbows “chicken wing” out to the sides of you. This leads to shoulder blades slumping forward, the spine rounding and shifting your body weight back. This means there are excessive forces placed on the neck and back, because the shoulder blades are not in a good position to take on the load of the stroller.
- How to fix this? Simply keep your elbows by your sides, moving alongside your ribcage! A hand position that encourages this is holding onto the sides of the handlebar. If you are pushing with one hand, grip the middle of the handlebar, but keep your elbow tucked in by your side. Regardless of what hand position you are taking, picture the fronts of your shoulders spreading apart from each other as you run.
If you are experiencing aches and need to ease stiffness in joints and muscles, use our heat pack to help increase blood-flow, and soothe your injuries.
Best running buggy uk?
Check out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aqpAVUXHlVk for a review of the best running and jogging buggys.
We want to help inspire you to keep on running and let's all be ready to welcome a new generation of runners to our world this year!
Stay fit and well!