When I saw this article in the New York Times about how to best run with a stroller, I was excited since I do quite a bit of stroller running these days.
To determine the “best” way to run with a stroller, the researchers gathered 16 fit runners with no experience running with a stroller and had them run 800 meters. They compared their pace and energy expenditure running without a stroller and then with a stroller and 35 lb dummy using different techniques (one-handed, two-handed and push-and-chase).
The conclusions? Parents “should push themselves while they push the stroller, says Ryan Alcantara, who led the study as an undergraduate at Seattle Pacific.”, but “running at or near your prestroller pace ‘‘will feel much harder than before.’’
Gah! So many things about this bothered me.
They used runners with no stroller running experience. Obviously the first time you run with a stroller, it is going to majorly affect your stride and pace. I would have liked to see them use experienced stroller runners to see if, with experience, you can adapt to running with a stroller. And if you tend to naturally develop the most efficient way (for you to run) with a stroller or if you should try and get used to one specific technique.
Their primary objective was calorie burn. For many of us, we don’t run just to burn calories. Especially with young children, we run for our sanity. We run to feel like ourselves. We run for fresh air. We run to feel good. And not every run is supposed to be balls to the walls.
They only ran 800 meters. This is very short and doesn’t do much to address comfort and sustainability. I run 800 meters much differently than a few miles. I want to know what the most efficient and bio-mechanically friendly way to run distance with the stroller is.
The ultimate conclusions are so obvious. Like anything, if you want to burn more calories you have to work harder. Duh. And running pushing something heavy is going to be harder than running unencumbered. Duh.
Since this article did nothing to answer the real question of what the best way to run with a stroller, here’s what I’ve found.
-For me, it feels most comfortable to push the stroller with one hand. This seems to affect my stride the least. I try to alternate pushing hands every few minutes or so. The exceptions to this are hills and fast speed work at the track. On steep hills I push with both hands. When trying to run really fast I use the push and chase technique.
-I try to plan my easy days for days I have to run with a stroller
-If I have to bring the baby on days I either go to track, where I can park him in the middle for my hard efforts, and then push him on the recovery. Or, I adjust my pace to account for the stroller.
Anyone out there running with a stroller, no matter how you push it, or how much it slows you down, GOOD JOB FOR FINDING A WAY TO GET OUT THERE!
Other stroller runners- What are your tips?
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