Training, January 08, 2018
As a stay at home dad with two daughters I found buggy running a great way to get some running in and enhance my relationship with the girls.
When I was a stay at home dad during the first 4 years of my girls lives I tried to put in at least one buggy run in a week to my training plan, and I found it a great workout. The benefits were allowing an exercise session while I was looking after the girls. It's a great strength workout (pushing into the wind, or up a rise), and it encourages an efficient running style by shortening your stride, getting you to foot plant under your hip and extending well. It also forces your core musculature to fire more so than if you didn't have the resistance to push.
I have found it useful (for the kids benefit and to keep them enjoying the process) to break up the workout. For example having a 20min STEADY run, then a 15min core and stretch (while the kids have a play at the park), then 15min MODHARD before a 5min EASY to warm down. This is a great hour’s workout, and the kids are still keen to get in the buggy the next week.
The only negative aspect is that pushing the buggy with both hands limits the natural amount of upper body rotation that occurs during running. It's a good idea to try pushing with alternate hands along the flat road so that you aren’t in too fixed an upper body position for long periods; especially if you are completing more than 2 x buggy runs a week.
My girls really enjoyed getting into the buggy, and I relished the freedom of getting an exercise session in while I have the girls during the day. A real win-win.
Five years ago I coached a new dad to a PB marathon time using specific buggy run sessions 2 x a week (A 40min FLAT recovery run, and a 45-60min Hill Rep session) with 2-3 x non buggy runs. He found it a great way to give his wife a break from a grizzly 9 month old after his dinner time (the witching hour), and he was getting his training in for the marathon. Needless to say his wife became very supportive of his sporting goal! Coming up with solutions that allow blending of your training to be supportive rather than stressful with a growing family is pure gold. This cultivates joy, and as all husbands know – Happy wife = Happy life.
Happy buggy running!