Thursday, September 13, 2012

Stroller running!

About a year ago I bought a jogging stroller. I had high hopes for Monday/Wednesday/Friday morning runs, pushing my little guy in the stroller while my preschooler was off preschooling.

Didn't happen. For starters, the second (third?) time I used it, I injured my knee/hamstring while running downhill. So I didn't want to attempt any hills while pushing the stroller (and my neighborhood happens to be all hills). And then I got serious about marathon training and I felt that my stroller runs weren't serious enough so I shelved them.

And then it was summer and my preschooler was done preschooling and with two kids at home, the jogging stroller did me no good. With the exception of a week when the preschooler went to camp, running when the kids were with me meant running on the treadmill. No big deal.

Now, I am (knock on wood) injury free. And my preschooler has become a kindergartener and is off every day kindergartening. I have one kid at home. One kid who fits nicely in the jogging stroller.

So recently I've been running while pushing my 30+ lb son in the jogging stroller. I love it!

Check him out -- my jogging stroller buddy. With toys. And refreshments. And double hats!

Have you been thinking about stroller running? Want some tips?

It's your lucky day. I happen to have picked up a few along the way that I'd like to share. Here they are:

It doesn't hurt to start the stroller run with a minute or so of walking. Pushing a stroller while running is tough. Easing in to the run makes it, well, easier. Cut yourself some slack and walk to warm up.

Don't look at your pace. Really. Just don't. Not much good can come from trying to maintain your non-stroller pace while stroller running. Seriously. When I first started, I thought I'd be off by a few seconds. A few seconds!?! Such folly! I was off my pace by about a minute. Not 30 seconds. Not 45. A full minute. It was disappointing. I felt like a weakling. As I've gotten better at this stroller running thing, I'm still off-pace by about 30 seconds. The difference is, I don't care. And you shouldn't either.

Hills turn ugly when you're stroller running. Oh, hills. How I used to love you. Now, you simply make me sweat -- a lot -- and feel like I am going to pass out. You are hard to conquer. So, sometimes, I quit you. I simply walk. And that's OK. I am not ashamed to have to slow to a walk when stroller running up a hill. Not ashamed at all.

But with one small adjustment, hills can become a little easier to climb. 
Get this: Just by shifting your foot strike, you take back the hill. I always ran up the hills just landing as I would if I wasn't pushing a stroller. Then, one day, I started to land solely (ha!) on my toes. What. A. Difference. I practically glide up the (shorter, not-so-steep) hills now. Try it: Tippy-toe run up the hill. I bet it will work for you, too.

Downhill running, however, is another thing entirely. 
Downhills can get you. They got me. Last November, the downhills got me baaaaad. I was trying to run down the hills, but my quads/knees/hamstrings were putting on the brakes. They were trying to protect me from flying down the hill and, potentially, flying over the jogging stroller and landing, mortified, on my face. Smart body parts I have. Not so smart is the fact that by putting on the body brakes, I strained my muscles and tendons and was injured for almost two full months. 

I've learned my lesson and hope you can learn from it, too. Use the hand brake on your jogging stroller to slow the stroller when you are running downhill -- don't make your legs have to do the braking. By just putting the hand brake on about halfway, I can slow the stroller enough so that I pretty much still have to push it on the downhills. It is much safer that way. Take my word for it!

There is nothing -- and I mean nothing -- wrong with a little bribery. Toys. Snacks. Drinks. Promises of future tv shows or usually-reserved-for-dessert snacks. It is all good. Whatever you need to do to keep your little one happy while you are running is fine. All good. Feel no guilt.

That's what I've compiled so far. I'm feeling totally good about my stroller running and hope to keep it up until the weather gets too cold. Wish me luck!

In the meantime . . . do you have any stroller running tips to share? Hit me up!

Thanks for stopping by!

~ Felice


MizFit said...

I'm so in awe of the stroller runners. I was a stroller stroller.

MizFit said...

I'm so in awe of the stroller runners. I was a stroller stroller.

Shellyrm ~ just a country runner said...

Glad you came back to the jogger. Too many people think that serious running can't happen from behind them. Well, I've run every ultra with a large part of my training taking place from behind one. It is seriously an awesome workout.

"tippy toeing" is how ultra runners run up serious hills. Glad you found a way to make those hills easier when you are behind the jogger.

That first jogger mile is often terribly "slow" but I remind myself that it only matters that I am doing it. Not how fast I do it.

When I run downhill with the jogger I apply the jogger hand brakes to keep it from "pulling" me out of safe form.

Lauren said...

Ah, I can't wait to have a little one to put in a jogging stroller!

Melissa said...

Yeah! You know I am a big running stroller fan. Now you have the freedom to run outside whenever you want. I am also a big fan of bribery. Running stroller time means playground time after in Mia's world so she doesn't mind sitting.

Gina Horkey said...

I haven't had great luck; I think it's due to not having a true jogging stroller (even though that's what it's called); can you recommend brands? Anyone use one that is a reasonable price?

Danielle @ itsaharleyyylife said...

running like this is so awesome! i see women doing it all the time and I'm like man they are strong! I can't wait to do it one day!

Unknown said...

I push a double stroller for three of my 6 workouts a week. One thing that I do, as bribery, is start at a park. The girls get to look forward to playing at the park when we are done, which they get to do if they are good.

Jenny@simply be me said...

I'm waiting for baby number 2 to get a little older then in going to enter into the world of stroller running too. It scares me but with two kids (our boy is 3) it has to happen ;) I figure pushing all that extra weight on training runs will make races seem like a breeze! Thanks for the tips.

macnic said...

I love the freedom that jogging stroller running gives me (not looking at pace etc). I've also run errands with in, killing two birds with one stone (and getting some booze in the meantime!)

Brooke said...

My daughter is still to little for the jogging stroller (8 weeks) so I have to leave her with my husband when he gets home from work. I can't wait to try out the jogging stroller when she is big enough :) Thanks for the tips!

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