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The original online UK specialist retailer in Running Buggies. Here to help you know which is the right running buggy for you & your baby from a fellow buggy running mum.

Blog articles & running buggy accessories too.

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Helpful articles, sometimes interviews and maybe even personal experiences written by us on all things buggy running related.

Dr Jess looks to smash another buggy running Guinness World Record!

Wendy Rumble

Not long after I started up my business I heard about an incredible mum (Jessica Bruce) who broke the Guinness world record marathon time running with a single buggy. Well she is at it again now she has another bundle of joy and I couldn't wait to hear all about it! Here is our interview! 

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1) Tell us about yourself! 

My name is Jessica Bruce and I’m the Founder and Director of Run3D. Run3D is an Oxford spin-out bioengineering company that develops running gait analysis software. I live in Bristol with my husband David, an Orthopaedic Surgeon, and my two children Daniel (2.5 yrs) and Emilia (4 months). 

2) How did you get into buggy running.  Were you always a runner?

I have always been a keen runner and met my husband through the running club when we were both at Oxford University. We both competed at a relatively high level, I represented Wales in cross country on a couple of occasions and both my husband and I were awarded multiple Blues during our time at Oxford.

Running was such an important part of our lives together that when we decided to have children it wasn’t so much a question of stopping running but rather how we would fit it into our new life with a baby. The running buggy was the perfect solution. It enabled us to continue running together and also allowed me to run whilst my husband was at work.

3) What buggy do you run with?  What do you like and not like about that buggy?

I’m very fortunate in that we actually have three running buggies! We originally bought the Bob Sports Utility Stroller for running with Daniel. We were then given a Bugaboo Runner for our World Record Marathon attempt and when Emilia was born, we were given an OutnAbout Nipper Sport Double for our double-buggy marathon attempt in October. This might seem excessive, but we do actually use them all! When I run on my own I take the double with both children and when David and I run together, we take one each!

Having run hundreds of miles with each one, they each have different features we like and don’t like. The Bugaboo Runner has a rear-facing seat, which is perfect for younger babies as they like to be able to see you. It corners well because the back wheels are positioned at a slight angle and it’s also very stylish. On the downside, it’sexpensive to buy and very wide for a single buggy.

The Bob Sports Utility Stroller is fantastic value for money and great for off-road running. It’s smaller than the Bugaboo Runner and also collapses easily so is good for taking in and out of the car. It doesn’t have the rear-facing seat however and the seat doesn’t lie completely flat, so is best used with slightly older babies.

When it came to finding a double running buggy, there aren’t many on the market and my two options were the Bob Sports Utility Stroller Double and the OutnAbout Nipper Sport Double. I opted for the Nipper Sport as it was significantly lighter and also could be used with a very young baby as the seats can lie completely flat. We’re really happy with it, it isn’t that much wider than the Bugaboo Runner and drives (runs!) smoothly.

4) Where is your favourite place to buggy run? And best buggy run route you have ever done?

Buggy-running is quite restrictive but we’ve been very fortunate in both Oxford and Bristol. When Daniel was young we lived in Oxford and used to drive to Blenheim Palace each Sunday for our long run.There is a 4-mile traffic-free route around the grounds and we used to do 4 or 5 laps of this and then have a picnic in the grounds afterwards. It was a lovely way to spend a Sunday!

In Bristol my favourite route is running on the Bristol-Bath cycle track. This is a 16-mile traffic-free cycle route which is perfect for buggy running. Daniel loves it because we see the old steam trains at the Avon Valley Railway.

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5) Tell us about the experience of your Guinness world record Buggy run! How was it and what was it like being in the media so much afterwards!

I decided to attempt the marathon buggy-running record as a personal challenge and to motivate myself after having Daniel. I trained really hard for it, building up the longer runs and doing speed work and tempo sessions as I would have done for a normal marathon except this time with the buggy!

My marathon PB is 2:58 and so I knew I would be able to complete it in a fairly respectable time but I had no idea exactly how fast. As I have already mentioned, all my long training runs at that time were done around Blenheim Palace, which is really hilly. As any buggy-runner will know, running hills pushing a buggy is incredibly hard work and so I didn’t know how the pace that I was running my long runs at Blenheim would translate to the flat course at Abingdon.

On race day itself I was excited but also incredibly nervous, there was so much that could go wrong that was out of my control – a screaming baby, a puncture, a nappy change! I was also still breast-feeding Daniel at the time but he wouldn’t eat anything just before the race as there were too many distractions. We had a bottle of milk prepared that we used at about Mile 20.

The plan was for my husband to run in front of me to find the best route, block some of the wind and warn other people that we were around them - although I had also fitted a bike bell to the buggy! I say ‘find the best route’ because a complication that non-buggy runners don’t even think about is the difficulty of curbs! Slowing down to mount or dismount a curb and then having to regain your speed is both tiring and can cost you as much as 30 seconds per mile so Dave had to find places where the curb dropped for us to mount and dismount without changing pace.He was also in charge of looking after Daniel, which included feeding him a bottle of milk at Mile 20 and singing nursey rhymes between miles 21 – 23, much to the amusement of the runners surrounding us! 

We set off running at 7:30 mins/mile, which felt comfortable. This was faster than we had planned and as many a marathoner can attest to, was a risky move that could have ended in disaster. As it was, our hours spent struggling up the hills at Blenheim Palace were rewarded and we managed to maintain this kind of pace throughout the race.

I don’t have many memories of the race itself as I was concentrating on my running, but I do remember that everyone, both runners and spectators, were incredibly supportive, which certainly helped along the way! Daniel also slept until the last 6-miles, which certainly helped!  I was delighted with the final time of 3 hours, 17 mins and 52 seconds. 

The media attention afterwards was completely unexpected. I knew that BBC Oxford and the local paper were covering the story but I certainly didn’t anticipate the amount of attention we received! I still believe it was because we presented a feel-good story that appealed to a wide audience!

6) What races do you have coming up…?! 

My next race is another World Record Marathon attempt at the Abingdon Marathon, but this time with the double-buggy! With less than 8-weeks to go, training is going well and we’re excited about the new challenge. Guinness says that I need to break 4 hrs and 30 minutes for the record. Whilst it’s very hard to predict what time I am going to run as there are even more things that could go wrong this time around, I’m pretty confident that I can achieve 4:30. My husband will run alongside me as before, I joke that his job of entertaining Daniel and Emilia will be harder than mine of merely pushing them for 26.2 miles!

7) What are your top tips when preparing for a buggy run?

Be prepared for everything and accept that you’ll probably have to stop several times during a run! I take snacks, nappy changing kit, a drink, a phone, some cash and my feeding cover in case I have to stop and breastfeed Emilia. Gone are the days of running out the backdoor with my keys! I also make my runs fun for the children. Emilia is easy as she just likes to watch everything but for Daniel we’ll feed the ducks or run to see the diggers and trains.

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8) Finally what advice would you give to parents starting out buggy running? 

Buy a proper running buggy!!

Whilst you might consider it expensive, especially if you have a ‘normal’ buggy as well, it’s cheap compared to the cost of gym membership and far more fulfilling. Both my children love running and it’s something we do together as a family.

Expect lots of strange looks

Whilst buggy-running is increasing in popularity, it’s still not a common sight and people will give you some strange looks. I also receive lots of comments as I’m running and whilst these are 99% positive, I don’t ever let the 1% of people who disapprove put me off. When I first started buggy-running I was very self-conscious but now I don’t care!

Hills are really hard work

If you thought hills were hard work without a buggy, think again! Don’t feel bad about walking if you have to – I still do on the really steep ones as I grind to a halt trying to run up them sometimes!

Run however is comfortable

When I first started buggy running someone said that the best way to do it was to push with one-hand only. I soon realised that this didn’t work for me and I now push with both hands at all times. Go with whatever works best for you. 

Runderwear - superhero pants review

Wendy Rumble

Being busy parent, the last thing on your mind might be which pants to throw on to exercise in.  But once the miles start to rack up you may start wondering what options there are which will ensure you don't get lacerated at the leg/crotch junction.  I mean seriously, why do all knicker manufacturers have frills along the seams which are equivalent to a cheese grater on a long run.  When I started out running longer distances in 2009, (London Marathon training which was my first ever event over 5K), I went through the agony of this pants discovery.  I have a memory of going to work with cycling shorts under my trousers to cover up the Sudocrem which was supposed to healing all the chaffage in order to enable the training plan to continue.  (Which it thankfully did, I completed my first ever marathon in 4hr25 mins.)  

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Underwear specifically suitable for exercise isn't just something for crazy elite runners, anyone running regularly and sweating in their smalls should consider investing in some 'favourite' pants for the endeavour.  Many end up going without/commando/free-balling/free-buffing to avoid the scouring of their creases.

Last year I heard about the brand RUNDERWEAR through Facebook advertising and then a few friends rave reviews, so when I got talking to one of the co-owners at the London Marathon EXPO it was wonderful to wax lyrical about how to build a running brand   They sell British designed, men's and women's underwear which is; seamless, chafe free, anti-bacterial, moisture wicking and ethically sourced. The pants come in a variety of different styles and I have tried both the full brief, low rise hipster pants and crop top.  

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I'm not used to pants that come up to my belly button so this took a little getting used to.  However I've been trialling them now for a month and I can 100% endorse that they are hugely comfortable to wear and unlike any other I have experienced.  They do not ride up or move (anywhere) and having inter changed them with a normal cotton pant (which moves around and stays damp) the moisture wicking properties are also excellent.  I have been converted to them for all my runs now!  The Crop Top is a fab low impact (not for running) option for the gym when you need to lie on your back for exercises and not be on any fastenings.  The wicking material on the bra also prevented any chaffage and the hot pink colour looked great peeping out from under tops.

I've never been superslim, I could blame having kids but the fact is I love food and wine far too much! Which the very reason that I did that aforementioned London Marathon in 2009 because I was fed up of being on Weight Watchers and I'd heard the weight just drops off you when you are marathon training!  

So posting a picture of myself in underwear in a blog may be a sign of me losing my mind BUT I have strong ethics, If i say i'm going to review something then I do it properly.  Here is a selfie snap of me pre-exercise wearing the Low Rise pant and crop top today, because my 4 year old isn't quite up to the photography task yet. 

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Wearing Low Rise Pant £16, Low impact Crop Top £25, LINK TO BUY extra 10% off offer with newsletter subscription on their website currently. 

**Samples were provided to me to test for the purpose of this review.**

Mountain Buggy Terrain- A game changer for Mel

Wendy Rumble

How having a Mountain Buggy Terrain has helped me….

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I’ve pressed the delete button on this blog post about 50 times! The fact is, having the Mountain Buggy Terrain hasn’t just helped me, it’s changed my life. I’ve always been someone who needs to be active. If I go for any time period without exercising, then I’m ratty to say the least. I need to feel the air on my face, my lungs and heart working hard and ideally, the sweat dripping down my back. After I had my first child back in 2014, I attended a Buggy Circuits class with my regular buggy twice a week. After a couple of months of hard graft, I was fit, happy and back to my ‘pre-baby’ bod. Awesome.

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This time around, things haven’t been so straight forward. I naively entered into the world of two children under two and reality hit me like a bus.  My life admin somehow quadrupled. I was floundering – no, drowning in a miserable sea of nappies, snot, tantrums and sleep deprivation. Oh, and the mum guilt, don’t forget about that! At a time when I needed it most, a little glimmer of ‘me’ appeared when a friend tagged me in Running Buggies post on Instagram, advertising for a Mountain Buggy ambassador. I got excited, really excited, about the prospect of being able to just walk out of the door and run with my baby.  So, I put pen to paper and the rest, as they say, is history.

 

I can safely say that the Mountain Buggy Terrain has been everything I hoped and more. It drives like an absolute dream; smooth, easy to push and the hand brake is perfect for navigating the valley that our farm lies in. The endless pockets are so useful for snacks, dummies, water, keys, phone etc. I barely even need to take a changing bag with me these days. The sun shade is superb – it provides brilliant coverage as well as the added bonus of keeping the midges out. The buggy seat is nice and high, which means AJ can see everything, making him very happy (he’s nosy like me!).  All in all, it’s incredibly user friendly, proved by the fact that even my mum can operate – her words, not mine!

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It’s not just AJ who has enjoyed the Terrain. My toddler is nothing short of obsessed with the Freerider Scooter. His beloved ‘lellow’ scooter clips on and off the back of the buggy with ease, and the scooter handle is really easy for him to hold onto – not to mention the fact that the wheels light up. A buggy board and a scooter in one. The people at Mountain Buggy really have thought of everything!

 

For me, without a doubt the two major things I have gained with this buggy are time and fitness. I can fit in a run whilst my eldest is at preschool without having to drive to find a flat surface. I’ve done a couple of Parkrun events with AJ and have really enjoyed exploring the local footpaths. I’ve entered a 10km run in October, which I’m genuinely excited about – given my favourite distance is the 30m sprint, this is quite a breakthrough!! My energy levels have improved and I feel stronger and calmer. The benefits of even just 15 minutes of head space should not be underestimated; the fact that I can get head space with my little one in tow is a relief. Most of all though, I’m starting to feel like ‘me’ again, which is amazing!

Interview with Lilly: How she trained for Race To The Stones 2017

Wendy Rumble

Who likes to hear about inspirational, 'normal' parent's who challenge themselves to do amazing things?  We thought we would share an interview with Lilly Hopkins, 37, from Calne in Wiltshire.  Lilly has a little boy aged 2 1/2 and works for a local pet food company.  She completed her first Ultra Marathon this year, Race to the Stones, which was voted the UK's best endurance event, 2016. 

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The Single Parent's Savour - The Running Buggy

Wendy Rumble

Recently one of my customers talked to me about how her running buggy had been her lifeline since becoming a single parent and it's not hard to understand why.  Having a buggy that's suitable for running with means that you can get out to exercise when you don't have childcare options or you want to be with your little one.  Perhaps it's a matter of the cost of a gym crèches or maybe just fitting it into your busy schedule.

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Rules when investing in a secondhand running buggy (From Running Buggies.com Founder)

Wendy Rumble

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Having children puts a huge strain on the bank balance. Before I had children I didn't quite appreciate just how much. (Que the wistful reminiscing about what you used to indulge your pay packet on.) 

So I understand why people look to buy a second hand buggy. My mission is to enable more parents to have the freedom to exercise by having a running buggy, so I frequently help answer questions on this subject in my Facebook Community (Buggy Runners).  If you aren't already a member please join us!

To help you on your hunt, here are my rules for second hand Running Buggy shopping!

RULE 1: Interrogation of the Source...

It's a bit like buying a car.  Ideally you want one elderly lady owner! 😂 But seriously ask about the amount it's been used, where (trails, road, woodland, farms) to understand how much it's been battered!   Check for rust and that all the main safety features work (safety harness, brakes, suspension etc)

RULE 2: Fit for Purpose? 

There are SO many buggies out there to confuse and intimidate a sleep deprived parent.  Just because it has Sport or Jogger in the name doesn't make it suitable for running with. In a running buggy you should look for; 3 wheels, Suspension, large AIR filled tyres (minimum of 16 inch on the rear) Front wheel that fixes straight as opposed to swivel, 5 point safety harness, adjustable handlebar to prevent a sore back.

Nice to haves are; Under 14kgs in unit weight, Wrist strap (can buy as an add on), hand brake (how important this is depends on where you run), easy fold mechanism, wheels easy to remove and generous sun canopy.

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RULE 3: Where has it (the Running Buggy) been stored?

I once read a heartbreaking post about a poor Mum who bought a bargain only to receive the Buggy covered in mould.  It's often an issue in garages.  There are some fab places around the country that will give your buggy a good steam clean but it doesn't always get rid of mould so it's one to be cautious of. Here is the lowdown from a doctor.

Placing babies or young children in an item where mould spores are present can be potentially harmful because it could trigger atopic allergies and exacerbate Asthma as well as skin born fungal infections such as tinea or  ringworm”

Dr Paul Williams MBBch nMRCGP Post Grad dip sports exercise medicine. Father of two boys.
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RULE 4: Running Buggy Viewing

If you get to visit the Buggy before you buy, check the brakes work.  Often they can get muddy and rusty over time if not well maintained. 

Don't be put off by flat tyres, a new inner tube can fix them (cost of between £6-10).  (But always check inside for debris that has caused the puncture)   Do look at the tread of the tyre.  If they look bald you might want to see if you can buy replacement (kids bike tyres) or knock some money off.  

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RULE 5: Protection  

Use PayPal to protect yourself if there is an issue once the Buggy has arrived with you.

And finally...

        depending on when you get your Buggy and how often it will be used, consider if the difference in price for a new one with a warranty and no wear and tear is worth the investment.  Running buggies are in demand right now and this outstrips supply. There aren't many bargains to be had sadly but at least that means if you do buy a new one it will hold a decent resale value. 

Happy Buggy Running!

Wendy x

 

 

   

5 Rules For Running Safely With A Buggy

Wendy Rumble

If Mum's/Dad's had a superhero name, one of the obvious ones would be 'The Protector' because nature's programming makes us always be on the lookout for danger.   Choking hazards, falling over, crossing the road, playing by an open fire, there are so many things to worry about as a parent.  So, when it comes to buggy running, safety is an area I often get asked about.  I've broken it down into some easy to digest rules, helpful if you are sleep deprived (like me)!

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Summer Buggy Running 7 Top Tips

Wendy Rumble

When the sun starts to shine and the warmth touches your skin it can be a magnificent feeling after a grey and dark winter in the UK.  But fast forward to May/June when the temperature are often plus 20 degrees.  How do you deal with this sun when you rely on a buggy run in your week to fit in some exercise?  Forget the annoying magazine articles which suggest you move your runs to early morning or late evening.  How the hell does that happen with a little person in tow.  Well as a mum of 2 daughters aged under 5 and owner of the UK's first specialist retailer of running buggies, here are my top tips;

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Weights and measure's for running buggies (Sadly not the alcoholic kind)

Wendy Rumble

How much use will you get out of your running buggy? How many years will your little one fit in it?  These questions all relate to your child's weight and the measurements of the Buggy.

Well rather than give an age, Buggy manufacturers give us a weight guide, often in kg. So for all parents who have been tracking their milestones in lbs, this requires some conversion! 1lb=0.454kgs by the way!  

But once you think about it, it does make sense as some children are far larger than others.  You can find the weight limit of all our listed Running Buggies in the Compare table on our website.  I fully appreciate that a table of numbers can appear both boring and irreverent.  So if you don't have the brain power just call me and i'll tell you based on your specific needs. (07788267938) 

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And if like me you would have no clue how much a child weighs at different ages, just for reference my 4 year old girl is 18kg, for context she is just under average height.

Just a watch out, Running buggies from different countries can be different specifications.  The Britax BOB Revolution range has a different weight capcity in the US to in the UK.

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The seat height (think about the length from your child's bottom to the top of their head) also a varies too, with over 10cm difference between the largest and smallest buggies. So if you have a tall child then it's worth looking at this statistic.  This correlates with how tall the Buggy is as well. For example the Mountain Buggy Terrain has the tallest seat area and is also the highest handlebar height at it's neutral point.

All the handlebars are adjustable to suit different heights of running.  The ideal position of your forearm is at 90 degrees to your body.

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All the single seat running buggies fit through doorways, so that's a relief when you are desperate for a coffee at the playground!  So a statistic to look at is a wider shoulder width space if you have a broad shouldered child.  And the Out 'n' About Nipper Sport double also fits through doorways too, a huge plus for a double!

When it comes to the buggy itself, the weight of it is hugely important.  A heavy buggy is hard to lift in and out of a car, navigating steps and also is ultimately extra weight to push when you have children in it.  This is even more important with a fixed front wheel design which needs you to lift the front wheel to steer it.  I was recently out with my double Thule Chariot and worked out I was pushing over 40kgs of buggy and children. That made me feel better about my (slow) pace!  Often the first thing I notice on a cheap buggy is how heavy it is.  Gold standard in this area are the Out 'N' About range and Thule buggies too.

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So in summary;

Most single running buggies have a weight limit of circa 22kg but some up to 34kg. This is around age 4-6.  It's also useful to look at the seat dimensions to see how they would work for your child too.  And finally the weight of the buggy itself is a really key factor!

If you have any further questions please don't hesitate to get in touch with me on email or phone.  I'm a mum of 2 and started up RunningBuggies.com in 2015 to help parents find their freedom to exercise again.

Thanks for reading! Wendy x 

Running Buggy Mile Run in 4 minutes 23 secs

Wendy Rumble

Lots of people ask me about ideal posture for buggy running so I have some advice on that coming from Ed, The Run Doctor (a running coach).  But in the meantime check out this speedy dad.  You may be bored before the end but I think its interesting to observe a few things.

1) For stability at speed you must have a locked front wheel.

2) He is really upright. No hunched shoulders, no bum sticking out!

3) He manages the buggy well with one hand and uses the other to swing to help the natural bio-mechanics.

4) He doesn't run off to the side, the buggy hasn't inhibited his stride length.

I'm not saying its perfect form but its certainly interesting to look at!  

Now over to you to beat the time....!

Sophie Bubb - Ironmum Inspiration right here

Wendy Rumble

I recently heard about this amazing mum who got into triathlon after having babies and turns out was rather good at it.  It's hard to believe that before having children and meeting her husband, Sophie Bubb wasn't into running, she was an active person but had only ever done one 10K race.  What an inspirational story for all of us parents who struggle not to fall asleep while building lego, how the hell does anyone train for long distance races, let alone Ironman ones with small kids?    Here is Sophie's story. 

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Buggy running helped these mums beat depression

Wendy Rumble

How many honest conversations have you had with friends about feeling depressed or unable to cope.  I'm suspecting not many.  While it can at times be useful to solider on with a stiff upper lip, it can also be unhealthy and dangerous not to admit when you are struggling to cope. 

The Heads Together campaign, supported by the royals, gained great exposure at this years 2017 Virgin London Marathon, encouraging us to get over the taboo of mental health. 

Once you have had a child, your life is both enriched and challenged. But my own personal experience was that it could also leave me feeling alone, exhausted and bored.  

Mind, the mental health charity, lists walking or running with your buggy among their suggestions for how to prevent or overcome post-natal depression, a condition that affects two in every 10 British mothers.

Having a way to do some exercise and escape the 4 walls made me feel like me again.  Having a buggy that's suitable for running with can help improve both mental and physical wellness.  I.E. Lose a few pounds and feel happier! Sounds like a winner.  To prove the point we wanted to share some stories from members of our Buggy Runners Facebook community.  Thank you so much to them for being brave and doing this in order to help others.

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Run wild and take your little ones too - Interview with Jen & Sim Benson

Wendy Rumble

We are always inspired to hear about active families so here is a Q&A with Jen and Sim Benson.   

 Q1: so tell us a bit yourselves!

We’re Jen and Sim. We’re the proud parents of two lovely kids, aged 3 and 5, and we’re writers, adventurers and guidebook authors.

Q2: tell us about your running and buggy running, when do you do it and why?

We have both always been very active – running, climbing, swimming, triathlons – and we used to do a lot of that together. When our daughter arrived we had to find different ways of doing things – early mornings before Sim left forwork, weekends, tag-team training! We both found it incredibly helpful to keep running as part of dealing with that huge adjustment to parenthood, and it’s such a simple and time-efficient way to stay fit. When our son was born in 2014 we made the decision to stop working for other people and put everything into working for ourselves. Since then it’s been fantastic – it’s hard work and we never stop, but the balance between parenting, working and training is just right.

Amusingly, we hadn’t ever used a buggy before this year – we had always carried the kids – but then we discovered Thule’s new Chariot Cross and it seemed to fit perfectly into our lifestyle. It’s sometimes hard to get to the more remote places we need to visit for our job, and we often struggle with spending the time apart from each other and the kids when we’re training hard. Now we can talk about work projects or chat with the kids as we run, and take them to lots of amazing places, often just under our own steam.

Q3: how did you choose your running buggies?

Our buggy requirements were very specific, and before this year we hadn’t found one that worked for us. At the ages of 5 and 2 it was the first time the kids had been in a buggy, but we’re converts now! We love the Thule Chariot Cross because it’s really tough and rugged and deals easily with fast running along bumpy tracks. The suspension and comfort inside’s great and we rarely get any complaints from the occupants. We also love our bikes and the Chariot also works as a bike trailer, so we’re looking forward to some bigger adventures over the summer.

Q4: tell us about your books and why you do what you do

We love writing books that celebrate wild places and – hopefully – inspire people to go out and enjoy them. Our first book, Wild Running, was published in 2014 and details 150 running routes around Britain. We will have to do a buggy-friendly version… Our brand new book, Amazing Family Adventures, was published by the National Trust in April 2017 and has 50 great ideas for adventuring together, plus suggestions for where to go. We absolutely loved writing this book – National Trust places are brilliantly set up for families, with baby changing, cafes, playgrounds and nature trails, and lots have buggy and balance bike-friendly trails too. So the research was a joy to do. We have two more books coming out over the next year, and more in the pipeline, so things are busy but good.

We also edit the routes section for Trail Running magazine and we’re looking for buggy-friendly routes. If you have one you’d like to share with other runners and see published in the magazine email us at hello@wildrunning.net and we’ll send you details of how to submit a route.

Q5: do you have any advice for parents looking to exercise again after having a baby? 

Jen says: I found it really helpful to keep running through early pregnancy, and then walking a lot after about 6-7 months. It was much harder to do with my second one, already having a toddler in tow, and I definitely noticed I lost a lot more fitness that time around. As long as you’re healthy and your pregnancy is complication-free it’s a great thing to keep exercising as long as you feel comfortable. Post birth,start gently and build up slowly. Even if you’re an experienced runner it’s important to allow your body to heal and get used to running again. I started with a two-mile loop around our local lanes, taking regular walking breaks at first, and built up from there. Doing loops meant I could easily pop home if I wasn’t feeling great or was required for milk duties!

The buggy has been fantastic for letting us both train together, and taking the kids out too. We’re lucky enough to live near a towpath so have buggy-friendly running almost from our doorstep. Timing’s important, especially with younger kids, and it always works best to put them in the buggy when they’ve had a good run around themselves and are ready for a nap. We’re getting better at in-flight entertainment too, including I-Spy, singing, plenty of snacks and audiobooks. When we go on longer runs we also make sure we run to a café or a park so they (and we) can have a break at half way.

Q6: How can people follow you?!

We’d love to connect with some more buggy runners, so follow us and we’ll follow you back. Facebook: jenandsimbenson. Instagram/Twitter: @jenandsim

For more info about our books go to wildrunning.net or jenandsimbenson.co.uk

The importance of the right trainers when returning to exercise post baby

Wendy Rumble

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Imagine that scene from Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, Duncan was put on a boat in a very foggy lake.  The film has no relevance (apart from being one of my guilty pleasures) but the weather does.  After having both of my daughters I entered a foggy haze, this weird existence of feeding 24 hours a day so day and night became irrelevant. 

In a deep and dark crevasse at the back of my brain was the knowledge exercise would help me clear my head, find some energy and make me feel better about my body.  Not only did I want to loose baby weight but I also wanted to regain some strength so I could carry my baby around with sore knees, back etc. 

A great way to regain fitness post baby is to build up from walking with a buggy and then a walk run method.  

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But are the old dusty trainers from the back of the wardrobe/cupboard under the stairs, suitable?  Maybe not! You could do real damage to your body by not having the right trainers when you return to running.  And here is why from an expert physio, Gibwa Cole B.Sc(Hons) Sport Physiotherapist and Movement Specialist, Drummond Clinic.

The feet undergo a few changes during pregnancy. Increased blood flow and fluid retention can lead to swollen feet, making it difficult to fit into previously well-fitting shoes. Additionally, the release of a hormone called relaxin results in looser ligaments which leads to longer, wider feet and flatter arches - both of which can compromise foot stability. Normally the feet revert back to normal after pregnancy, but some of these changes, and the resultant foot instability, can persist.

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In the upright position the feet are the only part of the body in contact with the ground. How they react to this ground reaction force will determine how the rest of the body responds. A good and stable foot position is integral to allowing smooth transition of force through the ankles, hips and knees. A trainer is meant to facilitate a good and stable foot position. Ill-fitting shoes can alter the biomechanics of the foot and ankle complex which can have negative effects further up the kinetic chain e.g. feet turning out, knees falling inwards and hips dropping. This can lead to things like ankle, knee, hip and back pain. It’s also important to remember that no one trainer is suitable for everyone. You need to find the type of trainer which supports you and your movement. You can prevent a lot of issues by ensuring a good trainer choice and fit before you take to the roads/parks/trails.

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Wow! So those body niggles you get some you return to running could be caused by ill fitting or structurally worn out trainers. Head down to your local running store to get fitted and assessed by someone in the know.  I like to go to the friendly team at Runners Retreat in Marlow.  If the body niggles continue then a physio (like at the Drummond Clinic) can assess your gait and recommend strengthening exercises to prevent niggles turning into injuries.  

In short, the sports bra & trainers are your bread and butter when returning to exercise post baby!  The Running buggy is important of course but that's another blog for another day.  Go get that fresh air and enjoy the energy boost! 

Wendy x

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Double running buggy options in the UK

Wendy Rumble

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Now in many cases I like to think I live in a progressive nation, rule Britannia and all... 

However, as anyone who has twins or children with a close age gap will discover, there is a real lack of double running buggy options available.  In this day and age you would think that here in the U.K. we would get what's sold in the USA, or even Europe when it comes to buggies.  Sadly no.  So much so, that I started a petition last year to get manufacturer's to bring the models they had in Europe or the USA, here.  Since then Out 'n' About have launched their's.  (More info at the bottom of this piece)

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Unfortunately it's more expensive to make buggies for the UK due to the extra strict fire retardant regulations which should be applied to anything that comes in the home.  I'm told we should blame the fire of London, if you believe that!

Britax who own the BOB have discontinued their running doubles (Duallie) in the U.K. in all variants (Ironman, Revolution and Sport Utility) and the ones still knocking about are pretty heavy and don't fit through doorways.  

I used to have a fixed front wheel BOB Sport Utility and it was pretty hard to lift to steer with a 4 yr old and 18 month old in.

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From that I went to the THULE Chariot Cougar. This is a bike trailer which converts into a running buggy, stroller or even ski buggy, with the right attachments!  So in weight terms it's similar to the BOB doubles, but it is far easier to steer and push. It's a really smooth ride and perfect for older kids because the front completely closes over.  No raincover needed!  And no risking lost iPads, toys etc.  

See link above with a video showing the top line features of the THULE Chariot Cougar.

The downside is even when it's arms are removed it's still big to transport, won't fit through doors and needs slings or supports to carry 6-18 month children as it doesn't recline.  And it's pricey.

However it's a hard wearing piece of kit and will last and last.  Because of this resale value is also strong.  Some new models are due out in 2017.  The Cross and Lite.  (See below.)  These will be on our website in mid April.  Overall this type of double is my preference with my two girls, as it accommodates the 4.5 yr old more.

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In other countries Thule have a double Urban Glide but not in the U.K. due to the low demand and extra cost of applying fire retardant coatings to all UK baby products.  Maybe in the future as demand increases! I'll keep pestering them!  

The British company, Out 'n' About have a very popular (non running buggy). model called the 360 double which has many features of a running buggy EXCEPT the handbrake and the rear wheel being 16 inch. And obviously as it not designed for running with, any damage caused by running wouldn't be covered under warranty.

In 2016 they merged the design of their popular Single Nipper Sport v4 with their 360 double to create a light, fixed front wheel double running buggy.  It has 16 inch wheels all round to provide a smooth ride and can fit through doorways!

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Like all the Out 'n' About buggies,  the Sport Double comes with a free rain cover so overall works out to be hundreds of pounds cheaper than the bike trailer option. It's very light (11.5kgs) which is always a benefit when pushing two kids and especially when steering a fixed front wheel, which needs lifting up.  It's folds in half so will fit in most car boots plus has a handbrake to slow you down if needed down hill.  At the moment it's sole colour option is in steel grey. 

It's a really fab double running buggy and great value.  

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I (Wendy) started up Running Buggies .Com in 2015 in order to help parents find their perfect running buggy.  I'm always delighted to answer questions as I'm a Buggy nerd, and if you are looking for a community to ask questions then I also run the group BUGGY RUNNERS on Facebook.  

Running Buggy Video's (Single buggy & comparisons)

Wendy Rumble

Want to get more of a feel for the running buggies?  The best way is to take a look at some of our video's before you make your purchase decision.

Read More

Buggy Running helps Team GB athlete - here's how!

Wendy Rumble

Here is an interview with one of the members of our Facebook community, Buggy Runners.  I was hugely inspired so wanted to get the lowdown from Lee.

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Q: So tell us the basics!

I'm Lee, aged 36, married to my amazing wife Kathryn and have a little girl Ella, aged 15 months. I'm an Air Traffic Controller and we live in Luton.

Q: When did you start running and what has your journey been to your latest Duathlon/Triathlon achievements?

My background is in cycling, mainly mountain biking which I started in around 1996. But have been pretty active throughout my life.I started running late 2013 spurred on by a successful ballot for the London Marathon and after the initial 'Oh what have I done!' I got stuck into the training and it kind of went from there.I enjoyed the easy accessibility of running, pop on trainers and kit and head out the door. I find it a great way to clear your head and take in your surroundings.As I ran more my times started to drop and I started to become competitive, finishing my first half marathon in 1 hour 27 and then the London marathon in 3 hours 45. London was tough and it broke me, never underestimate that distance and treat it with the respect it deserves ha ha.I continued to run and cycle separately for a period, along with my wife Kathryn who is a keen athlete herself, specialising in triathlon. We have always been active for the 10 years we have shared together, the highlight being our honeymoon when we rode to 1000 miles through Tibet and Nepal, including a trip to Everest Base Camp.Whilst kathryn was pregnant, I entered a local duathlon, run 10k bike 20k run 5k and finished 2nd. A friend suggested I might be able to represent Team GB in my age group, which I thought was a joke initially, but it seems he was correct as I was selected for the squad in 2016 to travel to Transylvania, Romania to compete in the Cross Duathlon European Champs.Our daughter, Ella was born in December 2015 and thanks to my hugely supportive wife, I was able to fit training around a busy work and family life, often training at 5am or late at night.Ella's first trip abroad, was in April 2016 at 5 months old and a great success all round, as she was as good as gold and I secured a bronze medal in my race.This year I have been selected again to represent Team GB at the European Champs and hope to live up to last years performance.

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 Q: Tell us about your running buggy! Where did you buy it? How did you choose it and how often do you run with it?

With time being a premium I wanted to be able to run with Ella, both for training and social running and helping her explore her surroundings. Kathryn and I regularly run at Parkrun events so looked initially a specific running buggy, but as keen cyclists we also had thought about a trailer. This is where the Thule CX1 came in as it covers both of these disciplines perfectly. Its strong, rugged design is perfect to take the knocksand abuse the outdoors has to throw at it, along with the waterproof cover and uv screen to protect it's precious cargo from the elements. The switch between cycling and running is as simple as a couple of button presses. Ella absolutely loves her Thule buggy and her face lights up when she sees it. Our good friends, Sam and Luke recommended the Thule CX model as they have twin version and are regulars at the Northern Parkrun events.
Initially I was very cautious when running with Ella, but once I realised how supportive and cushioned the ride is, I could open up my legs and let it fly. It's pretty light and requires only one hand to push and turn, I tend to use two hands pushing uphill and I don't find that it adversely affects my running posture. Ella and I recently finished first at our local Luton Parkrun in 19:16 so it's no slouch.

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Q: Why do you enjoy buggy running and what would you say to encourage others?

I'd recommend to all Mum's and Dad's to look into buggy running, it's a great way to keep fit and explore the great outdoors. With the boom of Parkrun, everyone has an accessible social group of runners, joggers and walkers on their door step. It's a great example to set to our children, the next generation, that a healthy active lifestyle is fun and whilst running may initially be challenging the rewards are great.The longest Ella and I have run is 90 minutes so far, tempted to do a half marathon with her. This is a great bonding opportunity, but also a great opportunity to give Mum a break as well. I get odd looks as I run down the road singing baa baa black sheep or various other rhymes.
Unfortunately in the modern world there are too many false idols, celebrities and icons that I personally do not feel are the best role models for our children. One of the reasons I compete and push myself is to be a positive role model for my daughter and to hopefully inspire and motivate other friends or parents to push their boundaries, get uncomfortable and sweaty once in awhile and show our kids what a true super hero looks like 😂 I'll get down off my soapbox now ha ha!!! Hopefully Ella will grow up seeing Kathryn and I enjoying an active lifestyle and follow suit.

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Q: Any tips for increasing the pace with the buggy? And how you you politely navigate people during runs?

With regards to running faster, I would start on a flat smooth path or tarmac area and build up speed gradually. Maybe run 100m intervals, with rests in between to get the feeling of the pace you can run at. You'll be surprised how close to normal pace you can run even with the buggy. As a guide at Luton Parkrun, my solo pb is 18:05 but Ella's buggy pb is 19:16 so not a huge difference. I'd imagine for most maybe a 2 minute difference would be expected.

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 Q: Any top tips for new buggy runners starting out?

Try to maintain good posture, I always try to imagine a piece of string attached to the top of my head pulling me up, to avoid the dreaded slumped hunchback bum out running style. Hills are good as a form of resistance training, down hills exercise caution as a trip could prove costly. Remember though why you are buggy running, it's to share the adventure, for fun and fitness and whilst my pace may seem fast, I always put Ella first and wouldn't risk her safety.
At Parkrun with such a mixed ability field, you will inevitably be passing runners, which always raises a laugh or a comment about batteries or engines. I always shout in advance buggy on your left/right to alert the runners which side I intend to pass on, this is a common thing in cycling and has served me well with the buggy, followed by a cheery thankyou. I have never yet received any kind of negativity from any other runners, but that is probably testiment to the cheerful lot that we are.