Have you got the running bug(gy) yet?
Posted by Tia Patel | OCT-06-2020
Having been in lockdown for 3 months with restrictions on socialising set to continue for another 6, we’ve all been spending more time at home with our loved ones, and with those long winter nights soon 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 through the benefits of running with a buggy, some buggy running tips and the things to look for if you're thinking of buying a running buggy.
Why take a rest day?
Rest days prevent injury and help you improve as a runner. Running causes microscopic tears in your muscles and a breakdown of your entire physiological system, thanks to the impact load. A rest day allows your body to recover from this breakdown, with recovery reducing the risk of overuse injuries and stress fractures, allowing your body to adapt to the training load. Rest days are essential to becoming a faster, stronger runner and achieving your running goals.
Rest days provide mental benefits as well. A weekly break from training allows your mind to rest as well as your body. You will prevent burn-out from training and keep your mind fresh for your hard workouts and ultimately, when they return……..race day! Rest days are also essential for maintaining a sense of enjoyment in running and keeping you motivated.
Overtraining as a runner is marked by fatigue, poor performance, loss of appetite and low mood. While overtraining differs from runner to runner, too much running increases the body's stress response, which leads to increased cortisol levels in the blood. This feels great to begin with, but, if the brain releases too much cortisol, this can affect our behavior and mood, yet another important reason to schedule regular rest days. Your family and loved ones will thank you for it!
So what are the benefits?
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 maneuvering the buggy on bends requiring strength in the arms. This is surely more satisfying than lifting weights at the gym! 🤷
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.
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 stroller 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!
#TeamGPD Top Tips
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 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 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.
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.
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 in 2021!
Stay fit and well!