Pushing a buggy and running at the same time is no mean feat. It’s not surprising that it can affect your posture and running form. The likelihood is that you run slower, your stride length is shortened and stride rate increases, there is usually greater forward lean and a restriction of the pumping action of the arms. Good technique, detailed below, will help you to run more efficiently and should help protect you from injury.
One arm or two?
Firstly, pushing technique: the general consensus seems to be to use one hand to push and let the other swing freely. Remember to switch arms regularly, perhaps every 5 minutes or every half a mile for an even workout. Use the wrist strap, and switch that over too.
I use two hands when I need more control, for example navigating corners or a change in terrain – but in general running and pushing with two hands results in rotating the upper body less, which means the lower body compensates and rotates more.
Some people might use the push and chase method, where they push the buggy and then run to it, but this isn’t advisable as you’re obviously not in full control of your pushchair.
Whilst pushing, keep your head up, shoulders relaxed and low, and elbows in. You can pump with one arm and still keep control of the buggy. Hold in your abs, not your breath.
Keep a soft bend in your arms and keep wrists in neutral alignment, don’t grip the handlebar too tight. Adjust the handlebar to the height where you have around a 90 degree bend in your elbow, you don’t want to have to lift your shoulders to compensate.
Be careful not to lean forward or push your bottom out. Lead with your chest and don’t lean on the handlebars. Keep the buggy close to you to avoid leaning forward and pushing too far in front of you, move from your centre.
Running buggies have a wide wheel base to allow for your stride without you having to alter it. You can do long powerful strides and/or short, quick strides depending on your natural technique.
Your landing foot should stay under you and strike the ground under your body. Feet and knees should be facing forward; make sure your feet are not turned out. Check this whilst you are out – it’s easy to get lazy and run with turned out duck feet!
Listen to your body
Take time to recover after having your baby. Don’t get frustrated that you are not as fit as you might have expected by now.
If you are just starting out with buggy running but have run in the past, it might feel a bit awkward over the first few runs. Allow time to adjust to running with the buggy – the mechanics will be different and you may have some initial soreness in your arms, upper body or lower back as you get used to it. As with anything, ease yourself in, don’t do too much or make big changes and give yourself some time. If there is anything you are concerned about check in with a medical professional.
Push yourself whilst pushing the stroller… But don’t forget having a baby in your life is a big change, so don’t overdo any of your training at first. Go easy on yourself. Just get out there, stand tall and enjoy it!