Tuesday, August 9, 2016

7 Tips for Running with a Baby

Even though my training has been less than ideal, I've managed to get out a few times with Robby in the stroller. On these runs, I was thinking about being a new mom and trying to figure out this running with a baby thing. First, my soapbox. Parents, it is NOT recommended that you run with your child before 6-8 months. I got these guidelines from both our pediatrician, many licensed physical therapists, and the good old internet. Please check with your child's pediatrician before hitting the road (we're there all the time anyway, might as well add it to your list of questions). Now, here are my top 7 tips (why 7...well...that's how many I had):

My favorite running buddy!
1. Check the stroller: I have a BOB Revolution (which I love), and the tires do lose air. You want to be sure that the stroller is in good condition and the tires are filled. You will notice a difference when they aren't--the stroller will feel wobbly and unstable.

2. Use one hand to push the stroller (and don't forget to switch): Keep a steady push with one hand and swing the other. It's super convenient if you're using the Galloway method to make sure you're switching hands on each interval. Otherwise, just try to remember to switch from time to time.

3. BUT use two hands over bumps: I found it a lot easier to keep control of the stroller over bumps if I just gripped with both hands for a few seconds. If not, the stroller veered off course and it interrupted my cadence.

4. Keep the stroller away from your belly: You want to keep the stroller about 6-12 inches in front of your belly, which should be about the distance of keeping a 90-degree angle in your arm that's pushing. Keep it at this distance consistently.

Our running path even marks bumps!
5. Don't lose your form: Mid-foot strike. Arm swing. All that good stuff shouldn't go away just because you're also pushing a stroller. I've been keeping Robby in his infant carrier on the stroller, so he's facing me when we run. I've noticed that I tend to look down at him, putting my neck and spine all out of alignment. Do regular checks of your form; you may not even realize how out of whack you are!

6. Don't bring the whole kitchen sink: The stroller is big. Babies come with lots of stuff. Resist the urge to bring it all with you. I like to live on the edge, so I don't even bring a diaper or change of clothes (not that I recommend that).

7. Find a well-paved path: Our new hometown is country (okay, it's really suburban, but it feels country to me!). We don't have sidewalks, streets are curvy, and there's a whole lot of 'nature' around us. Luckily I found a great paved running trail a short drive away. It's made it so much safer to run with Robby!

Baby bonus tip: Remember, your little one is on the run too. Don't forget sunscreen, a hat, and some toys and/or snacks to keep him occupied while you run!

I write this post first as a new mom, then as a running coach. I'm definitely not the end-all, be-all expert. My running mamas-what would you add?

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