KATHLEEN LENINGER, PT, DPT.
When I was pregnant, running with my baby was one specific thing I looked forward to. I hoped it would be a great bonding experience and a fun thing for us to do together as a family.
I have learned you both need to train for stroller running.
Running with a stroller takes a lot of coordination, balance, and core strength for you. A baby needs to have good head control and some core control. This could be the first time they are facing forward and that can be a very different experience for them. So, here are my tips for stroller running.
Make sure you feel good first. Once you have been cleared, build up your runs solo until you are feeling comfortable.
Introduce your baby to the stroller. I started by putting my son, Logan, in the jogging stroller when we were gardening or going for short walks. Once your pediatrician states they are strong enough, this is a good place to start. We gradually progressed our walks in the stroller.
Practice pushing with one arm at a time and stabilizing from your core–before you start running! Do this on your long walks, it will help make the transition easier.
Strength work should be specific to what you need for stroller running. This includes single leg work and asymmetrical core work… ask a PT to help with programming!
Stay smooth and straight to start. Turns and curves are hard to navigate at first and a bumpy ride can be scary for your baby.
Talk to your baby so he or she knows you are still there!
Attach toys to the stroller. Logan is teething, so having a teething ring that he loves makes the stroller ride more enjoyable.
Don’t make these the longest runs of your week. We started with 20 minutes and gradually built it up. This should be an easy run to get your miles in.
Once you realize you have a stronger side and a weaker side, figure out your preference! I start with the weaker side and then alternate when I get tired.
Do at least one run a week on your own. After a while, you will notice a huge difference in your strength!
I think Logan has been enjoying our stroller runs. We stop to see things like birds and puppies and firetrucks, not worrying about the pace. I hope we will be running together on the road for a long time. My last piece of advice: if you are thinking about running with a double stroller… may the force be with you!