Running is a wonderful activity for a new or seasoned mom to burn off steam, get some aerobic exercise, and have time to yourself. However, there does come a time when running alone isn’t practical and you need to bring your little one with you. So you pull out that jogging stroller, tie up those running shoes, and start running down your block with baby in tow. Then you quickly realize this is a lot harder than you thought!
Running with a jogging stroller puts more stress on your recovering body. Therefore, it's not always a good idea to run right out of the gate. Instead, try walking a block or two to get more familiar with the jogging stroller. Also, if possible, adjust the handlebar to a position you feel most comfortable with. If you are running with a partner, ask if that person wouldn't mind pushing the stroller until you are fully warmed up and ready for it.
Before you get out there, make sure your stroller was actually built for this type of activity. Jogging strollers have larger wheels which make them much easier to push. These wheels also make it safer to navigate over the occasional crack in the road. As for the brand of jogging stroller, pick one that feels comfortable and smooth to push. Also consider reading online reviews of what other moms have to say about it. Some of the more expensive models have additional features including an adjustable handlebar, a rotating front wheel, and hand brakes. These features aren’t totally necessary, but they do make the running experience a bit easier on you.
The overall objective when running with a jogging stroller is to keep your running form similar to when you run without a stroller. A few key tips to follow:
- Keep the stroller as close to your body as possible
- Try alternating arms to push the stroller
- Foot strike directly under your body (center of mass)
- Run with a cadence of approximately 170 foot strikes per minute, by downloading a metronome app on your phone and stepping to the beat.
Another factor that should be considered is shoe wear. Your foot shape and size can change during pregnancy, so you should get resized before starting to run again. Your preference to brand and model of shoe might change, as well.
There are a lot of different options regarding brands and support types. The research shows that you don’t need a particular shoe based on your foot type. So consider comfort and quality as two of the most important factors when selecting a shoe. We often get too caught up with the idea of controlling motion at the foot and ankle. While support is indeed important, having the available ranges of motion at the foot and ankle are actually required to dissipate forces and absorb shock while running. In other words, if your foot isn’t absorbing shock appropriately, other joints and muscles higher up the kinetic chain can get overused, eventually leading to pain and injury. We'll go deeper into this topic of running mechanics in future blog posts.
Running postpartum should feel a bit different than your pre-baby state, but it shouldn’t be accompanied by pain, pressure or difficulty. If something doesn’t feel right, be sure to follow up with a physical therapist who understands exactly what you are going through.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are based on the opinion of the author, unless otherwise noted, and should not be taken as personal medical advice. The information provided is intended to help readers make their own informed health and wellness decisions.
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Edwards and Green. Go Ahead, Stop and Pee: Running During Pregnancy and Postpartum. First Printing, 2019. Print
Nigg BM, Baltich J, Hoerzer S and Enders H. Running shoes and running injuries: mythbusting and a proposal for two new paradigms: ‘preferred movement path’ and ‘comfort filter’. Br J Sports Med. 2015; 49: 1290-1294.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jenn Perna is a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) and board certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist (OCS) who specializes in pelvic health for pregnant and postpartum moms. She works at Activcore in Princeton, New Jersey, located just 2 miles from Princeton University.
Jenn's extensive clinical background and education make her uniquely qualified to handle more complex conditions like pelvic floor dysfunction, including bowel, bladder and sexual health problems. She holds a Bachelors degree in Biology from Juniata College, as well as a Doctorate degree in Physical Therapy from Columbia University, ranked among the top 30 physical therapy schools in the country. She also has advanced post-graduate training in pelvic health, including internal pelvic examinations, through the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and the Herman and Wallace Pelvic Rehabilitation Institute.
Jenn goes beyond the pelvic floor and looks at the whole body to help you recover from pain and injury, and safely return to a fulfilling life of sport, activity and wellness. She possesses a rare combination of highly developed skill sets in both orthopedics and pelvic health that make her exceptionally equipped to treat you from head to toe. In fact, she is among less than 10% of all physical therapists who have earned the prestigious OCS designation as an orthopedic clinical specialist. Additionally, she is recognized nationally as a leading authority in the application of Redcord, a suspension exercise system designed to help you develop a smarter, balanced body through the power of neuromuscular activation.