Happy Monday! Hope you had a good weekend celebrating the 4th!
If you follow my over on Instagram, you know that I finally got a double stroller last week! That means more intentional runs and training again! However, pushing a double jogging stroller is no joke. I ran several days last week and was wiped afterwards. Pushing 60+ pounds of kids and stroller is so much tougher than I thought, and I was feeling it in my hamstrings and my neck…what?! I knew my form was a little off and I needed to focus a little more on it, but also wanted to look up some stroller running specific tips and form checks. So I started reading and researching all about stroller running and found some advice for my fellow stroller runners out there.
- You’ll want to push the stroller with one hand and switch your hands often. I realized my neck was hurting because I was running mainly pushing with my right hand. My arm and shoulder were working hard and getting fatigued and my neck was taking over–hence the sore neck. I started switching my hands every few minutes throughout the run and this helped immensely.
- You need to keep your head facing forward. It’s very easy to constantly be looking down at the kiddos or let your chest drop and crane your neck up. You want your spine to be in neutral alignment so try and keep your gaze forward.
- As we get tired when running, we tend to lean forward; our core gets loose, we start to hunch, and we start to lose our form. This can happen even more when you’re pushing the weight of a stroller in front of you. Be sure to keep your core tight, and have a slight lean forward from your ankle to your chest (imagine a straight line from your back ankle to your chest). Don’t round your back and hunch over.
- Because you’re pushing a stroller (heavy weight) in front of you, it’s very easy to tense up your shoulders. Runners naturally start shrug their shoulders up towards their ears. This happens even more when your arms are working hard and the muscles get fatigued. Be sure to relax your shoulders and drop them away from your ears throughout your run.
- Your stride can get shorter when running with a stroller meaning your don’t get full extension when you push off your back leg each stride. Be sure to focus on that full extension from your back leg pushing off. Push from your ankles through your glutes to avoid overuse injury of your hamstrings and/or quads. This can be an issue with any run, but again, with the added fatigue from pushing the stroller, your form will be more likely to suffer.
- The next form correction to be mindful of is your arm swing. We want our arms to move back and forward vs side across our body. When our arms swing side to side, it throws our body alignment off and can actually lead to IT band injury and knee pain. When you have one hand pushing the stroller, your stance is automatically a little off, so you have to be extra mindful of keeping everything aligned, including your arm swing.
- Be sure to bring snacks, toys, pacifiers, and anything else you need to keep the kids entertained. Be sure to work your run in at a time when the kids are napped, changed, fed, essentially happy enough to hang out in the stroller for 30+ minutes.
Work your way up. Don’t be afraid of walking/running intervals. Sure, you can go out and run a 5k no problem, but give yourself grace when you do it pushing that stroller. It’s heavier than you think, takes more energy than you think, and you might be surprised how much you’re huffing and puffing the first several times. Start with walking for 2 minutes, running for 3, and work your way up. Give yourself grace when starting to run with a stroller. Lastly, let go of any expectations. Some days the kids will be super cool, you’ll feel strong and energized and you’ll kick that run in the butt. Other days, your kids will start whining 5 minutes out the door, you’ll make multiple stops to pick up toys, help open snacks, calm down fits, the stress of the run will affect your form and stride and you’ll end up with a short, stressful run. At least you got out and did something. Each time you do it, you’re putting more miles on your legs for future goals, getting some movement outside, kids are getting outside, and they’re getting more and more used to being in the stroller. Have fun with it, mama, and enjoy the time with those kiddos!