Athletics NI Tips for Running with a Buggy

  • First check mum’s readiness using above Pelvic Strength Assessment (the research advises no sooner than 12 weeks post-partum)

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Buggy

  • Your baby's safety is the most important thing to remember, so never take a chance crossing a road too quickly infront of a car, slowdown or stop going up and down kerbs or over speed ramps, running to fast that you have less control of the buggy.
  • Ensure your buggy has an adjustable handle, kept at waist-height, where your arms would naturally swing while running.
  • Before you start you must lock your front wheels, as this makes it a smoother ride and sturdier in the front wheels. This can make it slightly harder to navigate bends, but provides further safety for you and baby.
  • Do not put downward pressure on the handle, only forward motion, guide the buggy with your wrist instead of leaning on the handle bar.
  • If the front wheel is not locked and you were to lean on the handle the front wheel could swivel and land at a diagonal then once pushed the buggy has the potential to tip over.
  • Always make sure the buggy's straps are working and that they tighten/ loosen to suit the child using the buggy. Make sure the straps are fastened correctly for every uses, this will keep the child safe and stop them wriggling around when you are moving.

Car seats/ bassinette on the buggy

  • You should only use these if appropriately fitted to your buggy. Most buggies will have adapters to certain car seats/ bassinettes. Only to be used on a track or flat footpath.
  • Car seats- will be comfortable for the baby keep them in place while running and stop their heads from moving during activity. Please be aware that babies should not be in a car seat for prolonged periods of time.
  • Bassinettes- the baby can lie flat or at a slight angle. The babies head stability must be checked, if unsure, you can use a muslin cloth to make an ‘n’ shape around their head to help keep it steady. Onesies/ snowsuits with hoods will also help keep the baby’s head sturdy.
  • When your baby is 5-6 months and can support their own head, you can start to use a running buggy, this can help you to increase your distance and speed.

Running buggy

  • Running buggies generally have 3 wheels and suspension. The wheels are bigger, more like bike wheels, which helps with the smoother ride compared to plastic, 4 wheeled buggies. They are light weight and they generally will have a non-fixed wheel, with an option to make this a fixed wheel. When running over different terrain and especially over kerbs you should fix the wheel to make this safer. You can also use the baby seat head rest from your car seat, or these can be bought separately to protect baby’s head.

Running position

  • Keep your body close to the buggy with a straight back, bringing your hips close to the handle. Never lean on the buggy. Leaning on the buggy puts more force into the ground than into forward motion. Simply guide the buggy with your wrist.
  • Make sure the handle is at waist height
  • For best, most relaxed running arms have one arm on the buggy and the other doing normal running action. Alternate each arm every 50-100 metres, or more regularly depending on wrist strength.
  • ON UP OR DOWN HILLS, GOING AROUND BENDS OR IN WINDY CONDITIONS ALWAYS USE TWO HANDS AND A WRIST STRAP
  • If not using the track or flat surface, always have a wrist strap on!
  • Keep your shoulders and back relaxed, as these are already tight from feeding the baby. This will help reduce the tension in your shoulders and back.
  • Your foot strike will most likely change postpartum, so while you are getting started, try to keep a shorter stride, as this will help you keep more control of the buggy. Your core should engage as soon as you start to push a buggy.

Running Surface

  • Your surface should be flat with no hills, especially down-hills as these add more pressure on to your ligaments which could be more lax from pregnancy for example you should stick to a track or flat footpath with, no kerbs.
  • Start of on slow runs and short distances- for example either join a Running Club or find your local C25k programme, run by AthleticsNI EveryBody Active Coaches or run by your local Council.
  • If not using the track or flat surface, always have a wrist strap on!

Appropriate clothing for you and baby

  • For the Runner: trainers; sports bra or your nursing bra (under your sports bra/crop top); comfortable running leggings/shorts; and an extra layer.
  • There are some supportive clothing brands for new mothers, including EVB Sports Wear who specialise in pelvic floor supportive underwear.
  • For the Baby: dress appropriately for the weather, bear in mind the baby is not moving, so it will be cooler for them. Always have a spare blanket and rain cover.
  • Bring water for both you and baby.