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Jogging Stroller Technique

The manual that comes with the jogging stroller probably has at least 3 pages of warnings--but absolutely none on how to actually run with the thing.

A quick Google search on proper form (all the rage these days) with a jogging stroller came up pretty empty. Even my beloved Runner's World, you get a couple paragraphs on page 2 of a jogging stroller review article...filed in the "women's running" section, mind you.

CREATE SPACE "Try not to encroach on the jogger," says Tim Hilden, physical therapist at the Boulder Center for Sports Medicine in Colorado. He recommends creating as much space as safely possible between you and the jogger to minimize a choppy stride.

MIX IT UP Pushing a jogger with both hands eliminates a natural arm swing. "The problem is that altering natural running mechanics places greater stress on your core and legs," says Hilden, who recommends pushing with one arm and switching off. 
Nobody seems to know what to do with the thing once you've got your kid in it. "Stay natural" is good advice, but easier said than done...and probably said by someone with a dusty stroller in the garage or basement, I'm guessing.

I'm of two minds when we're out on our little workouts. Both of them, keep in mind, my marathon philosophy is that before it fits some sports guru's ideal of what you should look like, you should be economical. Your stride should do no more work and spend no more energy than is required to get your body forward. This is important for slow turtles like me who aren't finishing with the Kenyans. My race day is a carefully planned attempt to avoid disaster by eating, drinking, and pacing correctly. The last thing anybody is worried about when you finish 26.2 miles is how you look. In fact, to paraphrase a popular ad campaign, if you see the faces of finishers you would not say our sport is "fun." They call it "endurance" for a reason.

A) There is the school of thought that you should be constantly pushing the stroller and shorten your stride.

B) Another school of thought would be that you utilize that little strap they attach and push the stroller ahead a few feet, use your regular arm swing in between, then bump it forward again making tiny steering corrections.

Then there is the issue of bumps. Sidewalk edges, driveways, whatever. Do you try to lift the buggy up slightly--extra work. Or do you let the frame carry the shock. For my son, this is the difference between a slight bump in the road versus being lifted--which strikes me as just as annoying.

Lately, I lean towards trying to use my regular running form knowing that I already use more energy pushing the stroller so why do more work than necessary. Plus, I have taken to pushing down on the stroller slightly as I run so that the stroller absorbs most of the jostling. Maybe it's just his personal preference, but Cole seems to grunt less about the issue.

Anyone else out there? (I run with a Baby Jogger FIT, btw.)