Running tips for beginners and jogging stroller users

I did my first 10K race just over a year or so ago. Joseph was just 4 months old and I don’t know what I was trying to prove but I did it. I finished in just under an hour according to my Nike Running app, although disappointingly, 60:52 minutes was the official time. I vowed to sign up for another straight away.

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Fast forward to a year later and I’ve only just registered for my second. I’m not what anyone would call a natural runner. I don’t enjoy it that much but I do like how my body gets stronger and fitter through training, and it does wonders for my legs.

I try to get my runs in before breakfast but at least once a week I have to take Joe out with me. I’ve learnt to appreciate these ones because although I absolutely hate them at the time, the following one solo, is just so much easier.

I’m back up to 4 miles with the stroller which naturally I believe must mean I’m ready for a 10K without. We’ll see…!

I’ve put together some top tips for anyone starting to run or working their way up to a race:

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  1. It’s a fallacy that running costs nothing. You really should invest in the right shoes for you. It makes all the difference to your running as well as to your feet. Go to a sports/running store and get your gait checked. Buy some proper run socks too. They’ve protected my feet from many a blister
  2. Make it a habit. Have set days and times that you go out. Book these in to your diary and don’t think, just do
  3. Use a program like Couch to 5K/10K. It’s awesome, starts slowly but builds up your stamina quickly.
  4. Don’t worry about your time or taking walking breaks
  5. Cross-training really helps too. Throw in a weekly HIIT/Yoga/Pilates class or DVD
  6. The first mile IS HARD. And will always be hard. I’ve been running on and off for years and even now I question my sanity during that time. It should be your slowest mile so take it steady to start off
  7. Put together a motivating playlist. It’s amazing what you can achieve when you push yourself through your favourite tunes
  8. Do your post work out stretches. I have to spend a good 10 minutes on my feet and calves to mitigate the threat of plantar fasciitis. If you don’t know what that is, you’re lucky. It hurts like hell. Take a rest. Give your body time to recover and drink plenty of water
  9. Practice your hill running. Not only will it make you feel amazing (after you’ve nearly died) but it will increase your flat-run stamina incredibly
  10. Set a goal and stick to it. Sign up for a race and go for it

Here are my tips for running with a jogging stroller:

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  1. Invest in the best stroller that you can afford. And test out its pushing weight and how easy it is to manoeuvre. Some strollers that are advertised as jogging ones are incredibly heavy, cumbersome and not up to the job
  2. Use just one hand at a time. And swap regularly. Running with both will hurt your back and your posture will be all wrong. Stay upright and keep your elbows bent
  3. Start out on a flat route if possible to get used to the action and weight
  4. Take snacks and drinks to keep your charge occupied. The added bonus is that there’s normally a water bottle holder for you as well
  5. Lock the front wheel if possible. You get so much more control. If you’re hill running then it’s so much safer to use the wrist strap just in case…
  6. Don’t get hung up on your time. I average 9.20 minute miles on my own. I add at least a minute per mile if not more when I jog with the stroller
  7. Don’t be disheartened if you have to stop. Pushing an extra 2 stone (28 lbs) + is hard going, but think of your arms toning up!
  8. Hills that are just about doable normally become nigh on impossible to climb with a stroller. Walking is not failure by any stretch of the imagination!
  9. Fill your tyres regularly. It absolutely makes the world of difference

If you’ve got any more I’d absolutely love to hear them and good luck! If I, who had never run a metre in my life until I was 21 can do it, anyone can. Honestly.

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