Running with a stroller: What young mothers need to be aware of when jogging with babies

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She is one of the best German runners: Ingalena Schömburg-Heuck, former German champion in the half marathon. She ended her professional career in 2013. In spring 2016 she became a mother for the first time, but running won't let her go - now she jogs with a stroller! And she even takes part in competitions with her son Frederik: She runs and pushes, the little one sits in the sports buggy.

On the move: Ingalena Schömburg-Heuck running with her niece, Matilda, in a stroller.
On the move: Ingalena Schömburg-Heuck running with her niece, Matilda, in a stroller.

ISPO.COM: In 2015, you still won the Munich race at the Wings for Life World Run in the women's category with just under 50 kilometers. In the meantime, your ambitions are much lower, aren't they, Ingalena Heuck?
Ingalena Schömburg-Heuck: I became a mom for the first time in March. That's a different phase of life, so you put yourself on the back burner for the time being. But I think it's important that you don't stop doing sports as a mother. I want to show that it is right and also possible to exercise, even if you have a small child. You can run wonderfully with a sports buggy.

And that's why in 2016 you even started in a new category at the city run series that seems to be made for you: with a stroller.

Yes, I'm the running mommy (laughs). Or rather, the baby jogger. That was an idea from SportScheck and Thule, for which I am a brand ambassador and which produce the sports buggy that is now being further developed (product testers are wanted here <<<) . I jumped on it quasi. Because I think it's a great thing: to do sports with the family too. And to show that although things are different in the new life, there are no restrictions. On the contrary, a sports buggy like the one Thule produces gives me new freedom.

You had your premiere in a baby jogging competition in Augsburg. What was it like?
Totally fun. Okay, also a little chaotic: A few moms already started running at the normal starting gun, then I started later in my own competition. What was funny was that there were a few stairs on the course where we baby joggers should have pushed the cart up on a rail. But then a couple of men came and carried the cart up and said to me, "Now take a rest." You can see from that what great fun running can be, even with babies. You don't have to have any ambitions. It's all about the experience. I now do more of a relaxed endurance run instead of tempo runs.

Ingalena Heuck findet, dass man auch als Mutter nicht mit dem Sport aufhören sollte. Sie läuft mit Kinderwagen.
Ingalena Heuck findet, dass man auch als Mutter nicht mit dem Sport aufhören sollte. Sie läuft mit Kinderwagen.
Image credit:
Oliver Farys für Thule

For you, the ambitious former competitive athlete, it's also about the running itself again - and no longer about the times?
It's important that I move, because otherwise I don't feel well. Psychologically and physically. But the issue of performance is far away. Certainly I don't run slowly with a stroller, I'll stay under 60 minutes for ten kilometers even with the baby jogger, but that's not the point. Not when I'm running with the little one.

Jogging for young mothers: the stroller is a piece of sports equipment

Try describing jogging with a stroller.
It's a completely different kind of running, of course. You concentrate a lot on the stroller, which leads to a different running style. You also have only one arm free most of the time. It's important to make sure that you still run loosely. And see that the stroller can be a piece of sports equipment. For example, adjust the handle height so that you can use your arms loosely to push. And that the stroller has good brakes. And finally, that you always have enough space in front of your feet so that your feet can touch down properly.

And your son?
Frederik sits in the infant carrier. You have to walk carefully because of the bumps. Very carefully. With toddlers - I still have a four-year-old niece, Mathilda - it's important that the children can sit stably. I'm certainly very careful when jogging, as far as the surface and possible potholes are concerned. But I don't see an obstacle there, when I go for a walk I also pay attention to such things.

Laufend in Form bleiben: Junge Mütter müssen auf das Joggen nicht verzichten. Bild: Thule
Laufend in Form bleiben: Junge Mütter müssen auf das Joggen nicht verzichten. Bild: Thule

But the fact that you started running again so soon after the birth of your son is rather unusual.
I started again after twelve weeks, in consultation with the doctors. I got medical clearance, so to speak, after just four weeks of sitting on my bike again, doing spinning, mountain biking and roller skating, I soon felt that tingling sensation again and thought: You have to run. But as I said, I took medical advice - from a gynecologist who specializes in regression. You really have to be very careful. Many women negligently neglect the topic of regression.

Regression is neglected by mothers

What do you mean?
I've seen it with my own eyes. I didn't really deal with it beforehand either. You think, now my child is here and you're just taking care of it, maybe you'll do the obligatory six hours of postnatal regression and think, "Everything's fine again." But then it's not that simple.

What was it like for you?
I neglected it at first, too, until I started reading up on the subject of pelvic formation. And then became very interested in it, also because I want to point others to this topic. Should I?

Please, go ahead.
The pelvic floor consists of three structures that are designed to maintain continence. These structures are very stressed by pregnancy because the weight of the baby pushes down. And also during childbirth, because the structures have to be dilated insanely. That's why the topic of regression and pelvic floor is very crucial, because otherwise this can lead to incontinence in the long term. That's why it's so important to pay attention to regression....

Running training for mothers: Be sure to get advice

So possibly to go running again?
If you want to start running again early, you should get advice. From your midwife or from a specialist. Running puts a lot of stress on the muscles, the joints and ultimately also the pelvic floor. My urgent recommendation to all young mothers: Get advice! But do sports again!

Ingalena Schömburg-Heuck is one of the most successful German long-distance runners. The former German half marathon champion from Starnberg holds a degree in sports science and continued her education in nutritional sciences. Since ending her career in 2013, she has worked as a trainer, consultant and author in the field of running and nutrition. She is a brand ambassador for, among others, the Sport Scheck Stadtlauf, for Odlo and Thule.
More about Ingalena Schömburg-Heuck
on her homepage and on her Facebook page.

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Gunnar Jans ist Chefredakteur von ISPO.COM Author: Gunnar Jans