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3 Strategies to Step Up Your Stroller Running

carlsbad physicaltherapy running womenshealth May 13, 2020

Ready to get running mama? 

 Excited to feel the breeze across your face, your steps taking you around your neighborhood to see the sights, rebuilding the strength and endurance for your favorite way to exercise. 

Whether you were an avid runner before and during your pregnancy or you’re looking to try running again in the later stages of postpartum it’s important to know how running with a stroller is different from standard running. Now, whether you are 8-weeks, 8-months or 8 years postpartum there is a level of preparation your body must undergo to determine your readiness. Please seek a trusted pelvic health physical therapist for further guidance on preparing your body for return to running safely. To learn more check out our blog about return to running readiness for the postpartum mother.

Today, we’ll be focusing on warm up exercises before you take off running, posture and positioning while running with a stroller, and cool down after your run. These realistic strategies and tips will guide you to build confidence in your body while exercising and make your running experience safe and enjoyable.  

Let’s get started! Many runners have brief warm ups or rarely warm up at all. As a new mother, your body is recovering and rebuilding strength so a warm up is important for our body and also your brain to get on board with the upcoming task.  Essentially, if your brain and body are able to connect with your movements the more efficient the correct muscles will be engaging throughout the run and will improve your long term outcomes and results.

Here’s an example of a warm up to complete before taking off.

Pre-Running Warm Up: 

*Complete 2 rounds of exercises before running* 

Dead Bug x20 total reps

Bridge x30 reps (add band above knees if you have one)

Supported squat to modified plank with alternating hip extension x20 total

Supported march to high knee holds + calf raise x10 total

Walking alternating lunge with overhead reach x10 total 

Okay, the warm up is complete. Now let’s move onto HOW your posture and positioning on the run can be optimized.
  • Maintain distance from the stroller handle to normalize your stride. Same goes for running on a treadmill, if you’re stepping too close to the handle your stride becomes awkward and inefficient. Did you know, when running with a heel strike in front of the body increases the risk and demand of force on the pelvic floor 8x the bodyweight force to the ground reaction force! Which, who wants that? We want to be efficient and resilient while running, not wasting our energy making things more difficult and having a higher impact on our pelvic floor muscles. 
  • Forward lean. Our posture and trunk position while walking and running play a large role in how our core and pelvic floor system function. Maintain the forward lean and stack your ribcage over your pelvis to achieve optimal position.  By making a small change to trunk position from upright to SLIGHTLY FORWARD this will reduce the ground reaction force to 2-4x body weight force. Drive through the glutes. This will place your body in a more optimal position for your glutes to engage too! #bootywork

Runners HACK:  To maintain the slight forward trunk position while running look 20ft ahead of you.🏃🏼‍♀️🏃🏾‍♀️🏃🏽‍♀️🏃🏻‍♀️🏃🏿‍♀️

  • Breathe! Pay attention to your breath while running. Are you breathing from your upper chest? Are you holding your breath or sucking in? The recommendations above about your posture and positioning also will play a significant role in your breathing function. As you inhale try more of a 360deg breathing technique expanding your diaphragm and ribcage all the way around, not only from your upper chest. This helps reduce the demand on the pelvic floor muscles and increases the access to the pelvic floor muscles and quality of breathing. 
  • Switch pushing arm. While it’s not “wrong” to have both hands on the stroller that’s a great place to start. By alternating your pushing arm is closer to the movement pattern of running without a stroller. We want you to restore movement confidence most close to without the stroller so you may progress your running. Try to match your arm switch with your breathing rhythm or cadence to get into a groove. 

Once you’ve completed  your run, whether it was a jog around the block or a few miles our body craves a cool down with gentle stretching and movement to aid in your recovery. 

Here’s an example of a cool down to complete post-run:

Cool Down: *Complete 2-3 rounds after your run*

High lunge with trunk rotation x 8 reps each side

Pigeon Pose Stretch with toe push off x 8 reps each side

Down dog :20sec x 4

90/90 breathing :60sec  

If during or after your run you are experiencing symptoms such as urinary leaking, pain, pelvic pressure or heaviness this is NOT normal. Although it may seem “common” with your friends or and other female athletes this is a sign of dysfunction. Your body is telling you the tasks at this time are more challenging than what your body is currently prepared and trained for.

Are you looking for more information about running and eliminating leaking? 

Download our Leakproof Running Guide for the Postpartum Woman HERE!

This free pdf is filled with a step by step guide to get you back on the road to symptom free running with strength and confidence! We’re in your corner to provide encouragement and help you learn more about how your body can recover, heal and strengthen to build movement confidence in your life as an active mother.

Most people don’t know how to stay healthy and fit without getting hurt. At Inside Out Strength and Performance we provide a clear plan and specific plan to reach your goals and work with our pelvic health specialist, Dr. Lindsey, to get you in the best shape of your life, without getting injured, so that you can be active and confident that you’ll feel your best for years to come.

We help North County San Diego’s active adults and runners dealing with pain or injury get back to living a pain-free, strong, and confident life.

We are the Strength Docs who help active adults and runners live a strong, confident, and pain-free life. Fill out our contact form to get a clear plan and get started.

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