With just 8 short weeks to go, I am finally starting to feel pretty huge! While I am still able to run up to 10 miles, my runs are starting to slow down a little as well. It was just three weeks ago I could still hammer 8 miles at 6:40 pace (don’t get me wrong, this was a very hard effort for me at nearly 7 months pregnant) but I think I would be lucky to make it through 5 miles at that pace now! (And there would be pee stops included for sure!). The slowing down progression is all just a part of being pregnant, and it obviously nothing new to me. Just being thankful that the baby is healthy and that I can STILL run keeps me happy though the process.
As a mother of almost four, I find myself pushing the jogger stroller at least twice a week (even at 32 weeks pregnant). While many elite runners who have not yet had kids may think that pushing a jogger stroller while running might hinder their training, I can assure you that it won’t! The jogger stroller is the best thing in the world. As long as you stay flat and avoid windy days, it is almost as easy as running without it. When I am NOT pregnant, I have pushed that puppy up to 15 miles at once! As long as your baby is cool with it (which all of my kids LOVE it, even my five year old!) you can just keep hammering the miles! Here are my jogger stroller tips to all of those who fear the stroller, are pregnant and curious or just haven’t given it much of a chance:
- DO NOT CHEAP OUT! When it comes to getting a good baby jogger you are going to have to spend a lot. You will be horrified at the prices when you are shopping for one. The good ones literally start at $400! I was even thinking about splurging on one made of carbon (super light weight!) that costs $900 after having a third baby when we shifted to “zone” defense from “man on man”. Now that is a “no go” however because I need to invest in a double now which will cost us nearly $600 (which we already had and sold because we didn’t think baby #4 would sneak in!). If you can’t afford it, save up, register at the bank of America at your baby shower, beg your mom, just make it happen. I have spent miles out there with my kids with the jogger (and double jogger) and it has been a lifesaver! The cheap one from the nice one makes it so much more motivating to get out the door too. The ride is so much smoother and lighter with the high quality stroller its amazing.
- ALWAYS BE ACTIVATING YOUR CORE! Pull your belly button in towards your spine kind of like you are sucking in. Be sure to do this your entire run or else you will not be engaging your core to help you push. Obviously this is much more challenging pregnant but still doable. Basically it will be time wasted when you could be getting an abdominal workout in (and attempting one if you are in your third trimester) if you don’t. Further it also helps you with your posture, which brings me to the next tip…
- DON’T HUNCH! It kills me when I see women (and men) out there hunched over their baby stroller. Talk about not good! Focus on keeping your shoulders down and your head held high (and those abs tight like a mentioned before). You want your spine to be straight as a board or else you are just ruining your running form and posture for life!
- GET IN AN ARM RHYTHM! Get into a rhythm where you switch hands on the stroller. I usually go “pump, pump, pump with the right arm” then “pump, pump, pump with the left arm” while only having the opposite hand on the stroller at a time. The important thing about this technique is to KEEP THINGS EVEN. I naturally want to hold with my left and pump only with my right, which would cause me to develop different muscles on both sides of my body. If I was going for a walk down the street this would be ok, but 10 miles of running adds up to lots of uneven arm pumping which could really cause your body to go out of whack and eventually lead to injury. SO to conclude, pump right, then pump left, then pump right, then pump left etc.
- PUSH AND RUN! As long as you have your stroller leash connected to your wrist, this is a great strategy for flat smooth roads (especially bike paths). Give your baby a good push (let go of the stroller) and then run. Once you catch up to the stroller, push again and then run to it again. So this strategy should feel like, push, run, run, run, push, run, run run. I actually attached a longer rope to my stroller because the leash it came with wasn’t long enough to make this strategy work. I would highly recommend the leash so you don’t push your little guy too hard and loose him down the path!
- PACK SNACKS, “BABAS” (bottles) and ENTERTAINMENT! Do not forget that if your baby starts giving you a hard time and you are five miles away from your house, you will be screwed! Always have gold fishies, string cheese, sippy cups, babas, whatever keeps your little guy happy and satisfied along the way. I saw a mom the other day pushing her tot who was watching the iPad. So genius!! Imagine getting pushed in a stroller while watching a bomb movie? Life couldn’t get better! What toddler wouldn’t love that right? Better yet, down load ABC apps so that they can learn the alphabet too while you run. Everybody wins!
- DRESS YOUR BABY FOR THE WEATHER! This one may seem obvious, but do keep in mind that as you get hotter, your kid it getting colder. There have been times where I am sweating my brains out and my kids are like, “mama, we are cold! We want to go home!”. I always have blankies (lightweight ones on hot days) because my kids like the feeling of being in a cozy cocoon. Because you are moving so quickly (unlike a casual walk) the wind resistance makes things chilly for your little guy even on a hot day. Think about being on a boat in the summer. That breeze can give you a chill even if it’s sunny and 90.
- BRING A PHONE AND CREDIT CARD! Just in case of emergency (such as a twisted ankle or a poop explosion) it can’t hurt to have your phone handy to call a friend, family member or hubby for an SOS pick up. There is nothing in the world worse being stranded on foot with a crying baby! Not to mention, flat tires can happen with the stroller too! Having a credit card handy is also nice. There have been times where we run by a coffee shop or ice cream joint and my kids ask for some. Whatever it takes to keep them happy, and it never hurts to take a little break on a run!
- BRING YOUR STROLLER IN FOR TUNE UPS! Just like a bike, a jogger stroller can have kinks, flat, squeaky wheels and misalignment. I bring mine in every time I get a flat (which are very common on the trails) and have them tune the whole thing up. This way it prevents wheels from falling off (always check that the wheels are on tight by the way, I actually did loose a wheel once!) and keeps your stroller rolling straight and smooth. Also, pump those wheels up! Wheels that aren’t completely flat but have some air, still totally suck! I keep a bike pump in my car so I can fill up right before runs for a fast ride!
- AVOID HILLS AND WIND- Running up hills with a jogger stroller is 10 times harder than running up a hill without one. I am not saying to not to it (I see people do it all the time- badass!) but I personally don’t like it. When I am out on a run I like getting into a fast rhythm and clicking off 6:30’s even when I do have the jogger. This just doesn’t haven up hills. IT IS CRAZY hard!!! I suppose if that is the type of workout you like than go for it! Just keep in mind your heart rate will go wild! ALSO remember that what goes up MUST come down, so if you feel OK running down hill with your little guy (which can be dangerous) go for it. Just make sure you have your safety leash around your wrist and that you HOLD ON TIGHT! Same goes for wind. I was running the other day with my friend Annie and literally made her take a turn (more because I was 30 weeks pregnant and running 6:45 pace with a jogger stroller into the wind and just couldn’t take it!). I pulled the pregnant card and had her push into the wind and I pushed when it was at our back :-). IT IS CRAZY HARD TO BATTLE A FIERCE BREEZE! Plus it also may be unpleasant for your baby/kid so keep that in mind on windy days