We were living in London when we had our first daughter. There wasn’t much open space near me; we walked everywhere to get around but beyond that I didn’t get much exercise. She was poorly, really didn’t sleep well and I took in lots of sugar to get through the day, my weight increased. Just before she turned one we moved to the coast. I started noticing other mums with buggies out along the prom – most were walking, but occasionally a buggy runner would go past. This was a revelation, why hadn’t I thought of this before? I could try to do that! An eBay buggy and a C25K programme later, and that was us! It only lasted a few months before she started nursery, but it got me back into running a bit, feeling fitter and happier. When the second child arrived it was a no-brainer, and when I ended up signing up to do the London Marathon, it became a necessity! I love buggy running and here are some of the reasons why:
The feeling of freedom
I appreciate running so much more when I am out with my little one in her buggy. This empowering three-wheeled contraption, combined with my trusty old running shoes, enables me (us) to get out into the fresh air, take in the brilliant blues and greens of the fields and the sea, hear the birdsong and enjoy this glorious day. In reality there is a lot of grey and sometimes it’s incredibly windy, and I was up with her for two hours in the night and all I really want to do is lie down, but you absolutely cannot beat being able to get out there and having a sanity-saving run.
It makes me a much stronger runner
The obvious added resistance of pushing a buggy means that hamstrings, quads and glutes get more of a work out on a buggy run. And anyone who has ever used a three wheeler with a fixed wheel will know what a full body affair it can be, involving the core and arms. Goodbye bingo wings, hello bicep definition!
This extra strength means that now when I am flying solo, it feels light and easy and I’m about 20 seconds faster per kilometre than pre-buggy running!
And happy about the additional calorie burn used to push the buggy – reportedly anything up to 20% more than running without a buggy (depending on your weight, the weight of the buggy and child, and how you push).
It’s a good way of spending quality time with your child whilst being active. And instilling in them a love of the outdoors. In contrast to the early days, she is usually awake when we run. That can make it more of a challenge, but most of the time it is so nice to hear her little noises and see her taking it all in, the trees and the birds, the noise of the sea. We talk about things we go past. She looks for squirrels in the park, goats on the cliffsides, and kestrels overhead. Sometimes she waves at people. It is truly a delight.
A few tips
Plan your route – we go near (but not always past) playgrounds and fun places to stop if she gets restless. And don’t get stumped by steps!
Be organised – don’t forget snacks, drinks, a book, potty etc… Very occasionally we end up abandoning or shortening runs if it’s not working out but that’s usually because I’ve overlooked something!
Dress your little one for the weather – we do layers, and always have a hat with us (woolly or sunhat depending on season!). Be prepared for the weather. Check their temperature behind their neck and respond accordingly.
Don’t neglect your kit either – if you are just starting out after having your little one you might need to get a new sports bra, and possibly trainers. The benefit of running with a buggy is that you have somewhere to store extra layers if you get too hot – which you might do with the increased effort needed to push the buggy!
Finally and most importantly, take it at your own pace and enjoy it.