Well, 100+ miles into pushing a stroller with my little one has definitely given me a little more expertise in this area than I have had in the past :) So, I’ll list some tips below that are mostly anecdotal but also grounded in trying to “normalize” the running movement pattern as much as possible:
* Invest in a good stroller – This can be a “make or break” factor into whether you are going to keep running with your kiddo(s) or whether you will quickly decide that walks are much better. I personally run with a BOB, but there are other good ones out there. I can’t emphasize enough how much difference a good running stroller can make!
* Stay upright – One of the most common problems with stroller running is leaning on the rail or slumping forward too much. This is a tough thing to correct, but it is really important to stay upright (generally, coaches and PTs like you to be tall with a slight forward lean). If you slump forward, it changes everything about how your body is working
* Frequently use one hand on the handle and frequently switch which hand that is – Two hands on the stroller completely changes the running pattern and can pretty much eliminate any type of natural pattern in the arms and trunk, which can greatly affect the hips as well. Obviously there are times where you have to use two hands, but try to get in the habit of running with one hand most of the time.
* If running with one hand, get to the side of the stroller – This allows you to have a more natural stride without “short-stepping” to avoid the stroller. That being said, I have had runners actually intentionally run behind a stroller because they were over-striding, so it can work both ways …
* Lock the front wheel – I always followed this rule blindly but wondered what would happen if not. Then, I was on a walk with it unlocked and a “Daddy, run” came out. I obliged and almost flipped the stroller when we hit a crack. So, yeah, lock the front wheel!
* Pop a wheelie for turns – This might seem intuitive, but it isn’t always. With a front wheel locked, you’ll just be dragging the front wheel during turns if it is not off the ground. Besides, the kids usually like it :)
* Realize that a stroller should change your expectations of a run – You will be working much harder due to extra weight, change in mechanics, stress, etc. when using a stroller. This will lead to decreased performance. So, adjust your plan accordingly. If it is an easy run, realize you may be going slower than typical. If you end up running hard while pushing the stroller, realize it will probably take more out of you than typical.
* Choose an easy non-hilly route – You are already going to be working harder (see above), so choose a route that will not also add to the burden.
* Don’t always run with a stroller – Hopefully, you can get some runs in sans stroller to help prevent bad habits from developing. Obviously, this is up to you as an individual, but ideally stroller running should take up less than 50% of your running time (I made that number up but think it is reasonable).
Hope those help!
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