Running with a stroller can allow parents freedom and sanity. It is a way to get your run in, get out of the house and spend time with your children. In my neighborhood, I see both men and women regularly running with a single or double stroller. I also see a lot of injuries waiting to happen.
There are some different considerations for woman postpartum that you can read more about here. However, everything below is for both men and women.
Research has shown that running mechanics change when running with a stroller [1-2].
Trunk rotation decreases, especially if you are holding onto the stroller with two hands.
Your trunk becomes more ridged.
We tend to bend forward at the hips, especially when going uphill.
Our pelvis tends to tip forward.
We typically have less hip extension.
Unfortunately, many of these changes also correlate with increased lower back pain, increased pressure on the lower back facet joints, increased neural tension, lower extremity injuries, decreased glute firing and much more.
So how do we improve our running with a stroller and decrease the risk for injury?
1. Stop leaning forward from the hips. Lean from the ankles. If you let the stroller get too far in front of you, you will naturally lean forward into it. Try to keep it close enough to maintain your good running posture: rib cage over pelvis.
2. Keep the stroller close. This will help your posture and keep you from leaning too far forward especially up hills.
3. Push the stroller with one arm at a time, and switch which arms that is throughout the run. The arm that is free to swing should swing from heart to pocket as long as you are not slamming your knuckles into the stroller!
4. Shorten your stride. If your stride is too long, you will likely be landing with your knees straight and bending forward at the hips. Shortening your stride improves glute firing and will help you maintain good posture while running.
Don’t make too many changes at once. It is best to change one thing at a time and see how you feel. There are three good reasons to make small, incremental changes. You want to be successful, and implementing too many changes takes the fun out of running. You want to make a lasting change, and focusing on one thing for a longer period will make it more natural. Lastly, making too many changes at once can cause injury.
Let us know if you have more questions or need help! ____________________________________________________________________________
Gregory DA, Pfeiffer KA, Vickers KE, Aubrey AJ, Flynn JI, Connolly CP, Coe DP. Physiologic responses to running with a jogging stroller. Int J Sports Med, 2017;33;711-715.
O'Sullivan R, Kiernan D, Malone A. Run kinematics with and without a jogging stroller. Gait Posture, 2016;43: 220-224.