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.
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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.
I’m not going to lie, sometimes I can’t think of anything worse than going running, with or
without the buggy. I can’t be bothered. I’d rather sit in the house snuggled under a blanket,
drinking hot tea and watching Grey’s Anatomy. Ok, this would never actually happen if I
didn’t go running due to the two little people requiring seemingly constant attention, but
you get my drift. How do I drag myself out of the front door? Glad you asked. Here are my
top 5 tips for staying motivated....
1. Dangle that carrot
Promise yourself a treat for going out running. It doesn’t have to be extravagant, just a little reward for getting out and getting it done. My favourite things include a glass of wine with the kids’ tea, something from the M&S deli for my tea, a few squares of dark choc and the ultimate – a hot bath once the kids are in bed (choc/vino optional but recommended!).
Leave the clearing up/laundry etc and allow yourself the luxury of a 20 minute soak, you’ve earned it. Obviously, you don’t have to go running to be able to enjoy any of these things but if you have, it feels super virtuous!
2. Shout it from the rooftops
Tell a mate, tell a colleague, tell social media…. It doesn’t matter who it is but just tell someone. It’s amazing how this works, but the guilt of not going running once I’ve said out loud that I am heading out is enough to get me out of the front door! Maybe I should try this out with the housework….
3. Sign up to a race
When I first got my Mountain Buggy Terrain back at the end of April, I set myself a goal of being able to complete a 5k Parkrun course. One month later, after some serious sweat and slog, Austin and I did our first Parkrun at Ellenbrook Fields. The satisfaction from this was enough to keep me motivated for a while, but soon my enthusiasm started to wane. I’d ticked that box so what next? Instagram intervened as it so often does (I’ve put some serious browsing hours in), and up popped an ad for the Shoreditch 10k, part of the Adidas City Runs series. I ignored it a few times until the spark finally lit (or maybe it was the gin fizz) and I entered! I’ll admit it, I’ve been totally sucked into the cool marketing of this event but if it got me excited to run again, who cares?!
4. Variety is the spice of life!
Two suggestions for mixing things up here: firstly, try a new route. I love exploring new
running routes. It somehow doesn’t feel so hard when you’re having to concentrate on
where you’re going or you have no idea of the terrain. I’m yet to find anything the Mountain Buggy Terrain can’t handle – it’s more about what I can cope with! New places mean new things to look at, which helps to keep Austin entertained too. I hate running multiple laps – I once messed up my timings which meant that I couldn’t run around the grounds of a stately home and ended up doing 5k worth of laps around some greenery and fountains at the back of John Lewis. Fairly soul destroying!
Secondly, add some other exercises into your run. I sometimes combine this with a stop at
the park. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated, some squat jumps in between pushing the swing, lunges at the bottom of the slide, tricep dips on a bench. Everyone wins!
5. Meet a mate
If you’re lucky to have fellow (buggy) runners living nearby then go out together. You’re
much more likely to go out if you’re meeting someone, you wouldn’t want to let them
down! Alternatively, arrange to meet a friend for coffee at the end of your buggy run. Better still, combine this with point no 2 and there’s absolutely no backing out ;-)
So, there you have it, my top 5 tips for staying motivated. Off you go!
Love Mel x
Mum of 2 small boys from Hertfordshire, UK and Mountain Buggy Terrain UK Ambassador
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.)
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.
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.
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.**
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 email@example.com 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