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Parents provide insight on how to run with a stroller

Half marathon training has begun for many runners! Maybe you just signed up for your first half marathon. Perhaps you’ve returned to running after taking some time off. “But what about my kids?” you may ask. Take them with you! While strollers aren’t allowed on course during the 3M Half Marathon, that shouldn’t stop you from training with them. We asked the 3M Half Marathon Facebook community for advice on how to run with a stroller. Half marathon training is beginning and we want you to learn how to run with a stroller from the experts. Pro tip: this advice pairs perfectly with these 5 training mistakes you need to avoid.

The stroller

Image of Samantha, a runner and a mother, running with a stroller on the Town Lake Trail with the Austin skyline in the background. She contributed some of the information in this blog about how to run with a stroller.

Credit – Samantha Santos

Several runners recommended the Bob or the Double Bob. Whatever model you settle on, you want it to be lightweight! Also, make sure you have good wheels. Just like your car or bike, check that they’re properly inflated and have a decent amount of tread before every run. Check that your stroller comes with a wind/rain shield. It’ll protect your kid from water if a rainstorm appears. The windshield will also help keep them warm in the winter. Don’t forget to incorporate our summertime running advice!

What to carry

Everything! In the beginning, make a list before you take off and check it twice. Pack enough diapers, wipes, sunblock, extra clothes, snacks, and hydration. Make sure you have your stuff too! One mom recommended that you get a sippy cup leash and take your kid’s shoes off before the run. Kids think it’s funny to throw stuff out of the stroller during the run!

Form and pace

Image of Samantha, a runner and a mother, running with a stroller with the Greetings From Austin mural in the background. She contributed some of the information in this blog about how to run with a stroller.

Credit – Samantha Santos

Don’t focus on pace when starting out, focus on miles. Obviously, you won’t hit the paces you normally hit when not running with a stroller. You want to start off slow, get comfortable, and build your endurance from there. Think of running with a stroller as a different form of strength training. Slow it down when going uphill and make sure you remain in complete control when coming downhill. Pro tip: maintain your original running form as much as possible. Don’t slump over the handle and switch your arms out if they get tired.

Plan your route

For your first few runs, stay close to your house or your car (if you parked at a park). You want to be close should you forget something or need to return quickly. If your kid is potty training, plan your route to run near bathrooms. Put a towel underneath them and make sure you bring extra clothes, just in case. Plan your route to entertain your kid! Pro tip: pretend you’re at the zoo and try to locate and name as many animals as possible!

Bribery

Sometimes searching for animals at the zoo isn’t enough. You might have to bribe your kids! Some moms recommended having stroller-only toys, starting/ending at a park, pool, splash pad, or running with other moms and their kids (when possible and safe). Starting and ending at a park provides two options – you can let your kid play beforehand and get tired or reward them after the run is over. Pro tip: one mom makes tablet time stroller-only as an incentive for her kid.

Begin your half marathon training and take your kids along for the ride. The above advice will have you prepared to run with a stroller! Is there a stroller running tip you want to share? Let us know in the 3M Half Marathon Facebook Group or on Twitter.

Special thanks Samantha Santos for her contributions and photos. Thanks to the following runners for their advice and insight: Heather Harris, Andrea Albrecht, Molly Scott, Alana Walter Willis, Alma Christensen, Brittany Dino, Molly Scott, Brittany Dino, Michaela Aiken, and Terri Wallace.

Avoid these simple training mistakes and keep things running smoothly

Training for a half marathon is not an easy task, especially if you’ve never run the distance before. But you can do this and we’re here to help! For first-timers and veterans alike, there are 5 simple training mistakes to avoid. This will keep you on track with your runs and help you maximize your training. Life happens, we get it. Focus on what’s in your control. That mindset and avoiding these simple training mistakes will set you up for success during your next 13.1-mile race.

Running too far, too fast

Image of female runner smiling during the 2020 3M Half Marathon. She's enjoying race day because she avoided simple training mistakes. Increasing your mileage during training too fast can put a lot of stress on your body. This can lead to injuries. For that reason, increase your training distances gradually. Start with a solid foundation of low miles and build from there. Some runners recommend the 10% rule, where mileage is increased by less than 10% each week. 

Attempting to develop speed too fast

Build speed slowly and in a consistent way. Trying to run fast intervals at the beginning of the training program is likely going to put too much pressure on your body, which is not recommended. After you’ve built a solid base with your distance you’ll get more comfortable running. Now you can start incorporating things like running the last couple of miles of your workout slightly faster. Try basic interval training or fartlek runs

Not cross-training

Obviously, running is the main and most important part of half marathon training. However, if running is your only form of exercise during training, this can result in injuries or even burnout. It’s important to mix up your training with other activities such as strength training, swimming, cycling, or yoga. This helps balance your muscle groups, build strength, and increase flexibility.

Skipping rest days

One might think that during half marathon training there is no time for rest. But there is! Increased running and exercise do not lead to an increase in preparation. Rest is just as important as running. It allows your body to repair itself and avoid overusing muscles, which can lead to injury. Make sure you follow a training plan that includes rest days. Consider taking Epsom salt baths, getting a massage, or including an extra stretch session on your days off. Pro tip: Be intentional about giving your body the rest it deserves.

Ignoring pain

It is normal for your muscles to be sore after your runs during half marathon training. However, pain is not normal. Pain that gets worse as your run progresses is an indication that something might be wrong. Usually, taking time off helps alleviate pain and prevent an injury from getting worse. However, if the pain doesn’t improve after some time off, seek professional help. Our friends at Ascension Seton Sports Performance can get you back on track!

Your training plan is meant to gradually get you to your goal. There will be bumps in the road. Every runner will tell you that. But if you avoid these simple training mistakes you’ll make your journey that much easier. Cross-train, take your rest days, and seek professional help if you become injured. Have you encountered any simple training mistakes that others should avoid? Let us know in the 3M Half Marathon Facebook Group or on Twitter!