The best three ways to run with a jogging stroller are the same ways that you love to run without a jogging stroller:
Because you have to push against the weight of the stroller, traditional jogging strollers force you to lean over, displace your proper center of gravity and run more on the front of your feet vs a positive food strike. There is even a term for it, “Stroller Hunch” and it can, “lead to mid-back and neck pain” as soon as a few minutes.
Lyndy Davis, elite runner and 2 time Olympic Marathon Trials qualifier says, “Form and efficiency are everything”, Eugene, OR 2000
Running is a demanding sport on your mind and your body. Every runner knows the difference between being mentally focused or, “in the zone” of a great run vs the challenges of being bogged down with bad equipment, injuries and distractions. Proper running posture is central to finding that, “zone”. “Your posture greatly influences the quality of your running. From lessening the chance of getting shin splints protecting your knees to preventing cramps, posture matters a lot to runner. Even slight improvements to your posture can greatly increase your running strength and endurance.” RunWildRetreats.com
Another significant problem with pushing a stroller is that it shortens your run stride which increases energy output and lowers overall performance. In a study published by Seattle Pacific University, the researchers concluded, “the significantly shorter stride length suggests that stroller running disrupts normal running gait” and, “that running while pushing a stroller is more energetically costly than natural running” which in part correlates to their findings on the relationship between natural form vs pushing form, “Running with a Stroller Kinematic and Energetic Changes”, Seattle Pacific University.
Pulling vs pushing a jogging stroller is designed specifically to retain proper running form because it allows you to replicate your natural running form. Instead of leaning over and pushing, you are running straight up, head forward, shoulders back and correct core, hip and foot strike dynamics. So regardless of whether you are pushing a traditional jogging stroller or pushing a performance jogging stroller like KidRunner, do your best to retain your most natural running posture.
Hands and arms free
The math has been done and the results are clear. Pushing a jogging stroller is awful for performance and efficiency. Several published academic studies have confirmed that your natural arm swing and upper body engagement generates > 20% of your total running performance and efficiency. Hands and arms free running also reduces the likelihood of stress related injuries associated with poor running form pushing a stroller. Beyond the science, it's both intuitive and obvious. The human body evolved to walk up- right, swinging our arms for power, balance and efficiency. When we give up our arms to push something, we are throwing that balance and power off and creating performance and muscular-skeletal issues. Try it. Take a short run with your arms crossed over your chest or add your sides, i.e. do your best not to swing your arms. It feels wrong immediately because it is bio-mechanically wrong for how we run. Traditional jogging strollers are the only sports equipment designed in direct contrast to the sport people buy them for.
Lightweight and Efficient
In the early days of performance running footwear, the founder of Nike, Bill Bowerman staked his future on his belief that reducing a runner’s equipment by ounces would, over countless miles, add up to significant performance improvements and reductions in injuries. So imagine what happens when you reduce your jogging stroller weight not by ounces but by several pounds. Bill Bowerman said that running equipment, “must be light, comfortable and it’s got to go the distance”. Well, we felt the same way when we became new parents and tried to keep running. We knew what we were capable of before kids but once we started trying to run with the best available but ultimately wrong equipment for running, all bets we’re off. Runner’s World magazine acknowledged the same thing when it ranked KidRunner the lightest jogging stroller in its rankings, Runner’s World, June 2018
The mechanics of traditional push strollers are completely wrong for the sport of running. Push strollers are heavy, awkward, force you to compromise your form, give up your arm swing and limit your terrain access. Those are just some of the reasons why the record for the fastest half marathon with a stroller was won pulling, not pushing.
In 2020 and 2021, the benefits of Natural Form, Arms Free and Lightweight running enabled two ultra-runners to achieve two first time accomplishments in ultra-running - an 18K run from Canada to South America and a 8K run across Mexico.
Conclusion for the Top 3 ways to run with a jogging stroller
Running is the world’s most popular sport. It is a proven driver of fitness and overall wellbeing. Any opportunity to stay physically and emotionally well as a new parent is better for you, your family and the world. Pushing traditional jogging strollers and pulling performance strollers both help achieve those goals. And it never feels easy as a new parent. But because running is a demanding sport and parenting is a demanding time in our lives, we concluded that the best way to run with kids was to optimize for the same advantages that we wanted before running with kids:
- Natural Form
- Hands and Arms Free
We knew that parenting came with countless trade offs and we wanted to minimize those as much as we could while running. Years of R&D and thousands of miles of KidRunner miles run, parents all over the world are finding out for themselves that pulling a performance stroller specifically designed to optimize for the top 3 ways to run with a jogging stroller, added up to more miles, more time and fewer injuries running.
For more information on the advantages of pushing vs pulling a running stroller, watch Lyndy Davis share her experiences -