How many buggies are out there? It's so confusing, ESPECIALLY when manufacturers call their models, sport and jogger but they may not be suitable for either! Here is our low down on the key features for your needs.Read More
Helpful articles, sometimes interviews and maybe even personal experiences written by us on all things buggy running related.
Filtering by Tag: Buggy running advice
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
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.
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....!
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 email@example.com 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