Running after having a baby can be difficult enough with finding a good time to go out for a run and mustering the energy to exercise, but if you also need to consider how you will breastfeed your baby around your run then it might put you off altogether!Read More
Helpful articles, sometimes interviews and maybe even personal experiences written by us on all things buggy running related.
Filtering by Tag: Active with kids
This article is written by Sarah Crosby, a Women’s Health Physiotherapist based at Crystal Palace Physio Group in London. She has recently returned to running after the birth of her baby daughter 8 months ago. Sarah is a keen runner and triathlete.
As a Women's Health Physiotherapist, one of the most common questions asked by post-natal women is "When can I return to running?"
This unfortunately does not have a simple answer and depends on many factors.
There are a wealth of benefits to running that we all know and love; a sense of freedom, a buzz from feel-good hormones, post baby weight loss and feeling energized and healthy.
Before resuming running, it is worth considering that your body may still be recovering from the birth of your baby.
One of the most important things to consider when returning to running is how well your pelvic floor muscles are working. Running is a high impact exercise and your pelvic floor muscles will have to contract thousands of times over a 30 minute run. Approximately 2.5 times more impact occurswhilst running in comparison to walking. Therefore, the muscles need to be strong to be able to work affectively against these forces.
The pelvic floor are a group of muscles that sit like a hammock along the bottom of your pelvis. They support your bladder, bowel and womb. In pregnancy these muscles getstretched by the added weight of your bump. Hormones including relaxin are also produced in pregnancywhichcause the pelvic floor to become more lax.
In addition, if you have a vaginal delivery these muscles will stretch massively and approximately 80% of women will have some degree of perineal tear or need to be cut (episiotomy) to enable the delivery of your baby.
Like any muscle in your body, the pelvic floor needs to recover after an injury or stress. It is imperative to make sure these muscles are strong before you resume running.
The NHS guidelines advise women perform pelvic floor exercises 3 times a day after having a baby (even if you had a C-section). The generic advice is to do 10 x 10 seconds squeezes and 10 x 1 second squeezes. However if you have any pelvic floor problems then the research says that an individualized program is the best way to recover.
The reasons why you should wait until your pelvic floor muscles are super strong to return to running is to:
A) Avoid any leaking (stress incontinence)
B) Avoid pain in your pelvis
C) Reduce the risk of a prolapse of your pelvic organs (often felt as a heaviness or bulging down below).
These are common post-natal symptoms, if you have any of these, you should seek the help of a Women's Health Physiotherapist for treatment before you commence running.
It is a good idea to start some lower impact exercise after having a baby before you begin running. Here are some suggestions and rough timelines to consider:
0-6 weeks: Begin pelvic floor muscle exercises as soon as possible after the birth of your baby, no matter the type of delivery that you had. As soon as you are able, start gentle walking and build up gradually to start conditioning your body gently to exercise.
6-12 weeks: You can begin doing some resistance type exercises or bodyweight exercises as long as you are symptom free! Such as squats and lunges. Incorporate your pelvic floor exercises into your resistance exercises. If you have a local Pilates class now is a good time to resume this but please do make the teacher aware that you have recently had a baby as some exercises may not yet be appropriate.
12 weeks +: Around now you might feel ready to start running but many women won’t either so please listen to your body! If you are breastfeeding then you will still be producing relaxinand these hormones can make it more challenging to return to running, as your tissues may still be more lax. Some women prefer to wait until they stop breastfeeding before they begin running.
A good way to see if your pelvic floor is ready for running is to try this quick test. Jump on the spot with a full bladder and then cough. This might sound ridiculous but if you don't leak then that's a sign your muscles are ready!
Let's start with pointing out its recommended you wait until the manufacturers guideline state the Buggy can be used for running with, circa 6 months. Running with a buggy will challenge you further, but it is a great way to do some exercise with your little one. The pushing whilst running requires extra strength from your abdominals and pelvic floor. Build up the running slowly, you could begin by alternating between walking and jogging i.e. 1 minute walk, 1 minute jog.It is likely to feel very difficult at first! Take it gently and your fitness will improve in time.
It is imperative that you keep a good running posture behind the buggy. You will need to lean slightly forward, leading from the chest and bending at your hips. Your shoulders should stay down and back and keep your head up!
Lastly,remember to wear a very supportive sports bra (you might want to wear two!)and a good pair of trainers, your feet may well have grown during pregnancy.
If you have any other concerns about your body and returning to exercise after having a baby such as back pain, tummy muscle separation or other aches and pains then please consult your GP or a women’s health specialist for further advice.
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.
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.
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.
RULE 5: Protection
Use PayPal to protect yourself if there is an issue once the Buggy has arrived with you.
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!
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)
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.
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.
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.
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
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.Read More
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.
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.
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.
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!
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)
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.
From that I went to the THULE Chariot Cougar and then more recently their updated model, Thule Chariot Cross 2.
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. Raincover is included and seat’s individually recline slightly! And no risking lost iPads, toys etc. But being a multi sport trailer, 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. Overall this type of double is my preference with my two girls, as it accommodates the eldest better.
In other countries Thule have a double Urban Glide and this is coming to the U.K. in April 2018! This is a swivel front wheel double buggy which all the features for running that you would need. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
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!
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.
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 THE ORIGINAL BUGGY RUNNERS on Facebook.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.