Monthly Archives: February 2015

Tips on ‘Pram Running’ like a Pro

IMG_0313 rotatedWhen I meet someone new conversation invariably begins with introductions, rapidly followed by the question of : what do you do? At this point, I can almost predict the response to my statement, “Well, I have four children so I’m mostly at home with them.” My new acquaintances eyes tend to pop wide open, mouth ajar, gasp followed by “you have four children?!” I generally get told, I look too young, you don’t look like you have four kids, and you are crazy.

And this is all before they find out my secret is running. And not only running, but I am a pram runner.

A bit like having kids, I kind of fell into pram running when we dropped down to having one car for a season. Hubby had to take the car we did have as he needed to tow a trailer to work. So with three kids at the time, I was given a second hand double running pram, the eldest on a bike and o ff went. I would cover an average of 16km a day and up to 30 if we had trips to the show to do on top of school runs. It was a fun time, and I learnt a lot about how to make the most of what is in front of you! I also learnt much about pram running.

Pram running is not for the faint hearted! But then neither is four kids! Pram running can be an incredible workout if you treat your body well and utilize the pram and extra weight. However, if not done with good running mechanics and technique, pram running, like any exercise, has the potential to damage your body more than help it. I have some great, simple tips and techniques to help you get the most out of running with a pram. But first, let’s look at some basic anatomical background.

The body is incredible. When we run with a pram, there are a few anatomical/biomechanical processes that are removed from a normal running process and some that come into play. The first one that is removed is the full function of the anatomical slings in our core. These are literally a connection of muscles and fibers that transfer the energy and momentum from our right hand as it swings backwards and forwards to our left leg, pushing it forwards. When pram running, this transfer of momentum is significantly diminished as your arms are in a fixed position on the pram handlebars.

The fixed position of the arms also impacts on our breathing, as it means we are more likely to rely on accessory muscles to help us breath, rather than our deeper diaphragm. This particularly comes into play as we fatigue and push harder, eg. when running uphill.

Good running technique, whether you are pushing a pram or not, should rely more on the glutes and core muscles for stability and strength than on the quads or hamstrings. While these are important, they shouldn’t be the primary source of power. This is even more critical when pram running. You will have an absolute bare minimum of 12-15kgs in front of you…. That’s an empty pram! Depending on the child/children in there… I was pushing upwards of 50kg when I used my double.

So, how do we utilize the bodies natural mechanics and make the most of the incredible workout that is pram running? I spent some time with APA Sports Physiotherpaist Ross Kinsella from Freedom Sport Medicine in Melbourne chatting about the dos and donts of pram running:


Stand tall – imagine you have a fishing line coming out the centre of your head and someone is holding it taught, pulling you up toward the sky.


Slouch and hunch over the pram. You’ll give yourself a really bad headache if nothing else!


Use your glutes – When running, make sure you push your hips slightly forward and land with your foot directly beneath you so that you are best utilizing your glutes. This is made somewhat easier when pushing a pram as if you over stride you’ll kick it and hurt your toe, shin, knee or all three!


Bend at the hips and use your quads or hamstrings as the primary source of power. You will likely end up with a back injury.


Activate your core – Having kids does all sorts of things to a woman’s body. So this one is especially important. Even if you’re a pram running dad, uncle, grandpa, it is imperative to switch on your core to protect your back when pram running. If the concept of ‘switching on your core’ is foreign to you, or you are unsure of what I mean, here is a good link:


Rely only on sit ups to achieve a good core strength. You need to go deep into the transverse abdominal muscles.


Stand close, minimize lever arm length – Hand and arm position is very important. Try and keep your arms in line with your shoulders. This will limit the degree of leverage away from your body and therefore make it easier to control the pram and look after your body. Keep the pram close to your body. This provides you with the greatest control and makes it most like its an extension of your body rather than an unruly appendage!


Spread your arms wide, even if you have a double pram. You will put excess pressure on your shoulders and neck, again, if nothing else, landing yourself with a decent headache! Also don’t have the pram extended too far away from your body. This will cause you to bend at the hips, deactivating amour glutes and core.

So what do I do:

1. On the flats?

When pram running on the flats, do you best to mimic as closely as possible your natural running form when you run without the pram.

2. When running uphill?

Focus on standing tall, pushing the hips slightly forward, using the glute each time you push off and keeping your feet underneath you. Keep the pram close to your body. Click here for a link to a video with Ross talking me through the uphill.

pram running tips uphill

pram running tips uphill beginners







pram running uphill hints


3. Running downhill

This is possibly the most challenging as the pram just wants to run away! Focus on keeping the pram close to you. You will need to alter your foot strike and land slightly more on your heel, and alter your leg position, almost like a squatting run… This will help you keep control of the pram and protect your back, neck and shoulders.

Click here for a video of correct downhill running technique.

running downhill with pram

downhill pram running tips







best running downhill pram running tips

how to run downhill with a pram







4. Adjusting times

It’s really hard to give a percentage of your time to add on or take off when accounting for the fact that you are pushing a pram. The reality is you will be slower! The best way to measure it is by perceived effort. If you are running a temp run at 7/10effort, try and maintain that level of perceived effort when you are pushing the pram. As time goes by and your body adapts, just as with running without a pram, your perceived effort of 7/will yield faster times. But be patient! It takes time!

This is the biomechanical/Physio perspective on pram running… There could be an entire other post on tips and tricks to keep the babies entertained and yet another on what to look for in a running pram.

So what do I say to those new acquaintances as they gather themselves once they know I have four kids and I pram run… Only that I know a mum of 6 who pram runs, I’m not all that crazy! That yes it’s hard work. But it’s incredibly rewarding – you feel like you’re flying when you leave the pram at home. And you feel like you’re flying when your kids get to enjoy the thrill of an active lifestyle with you. Not much compares to that!

By Hannah ‘She Runs’ Easton

Hannah E

She Science Ambassador. Not only an athlete, I am a wife, mother to four children aged 8 and under, author, of articles, my personal blog and of a book telling my journey through an eating disorder, a teacher, facilitator and public speaker… I am a busy woman! I love life. As an athlete, I am a runner favoring the 10 – 21km racing distances. My heart and focus in life is all about creating community. Communities that inspire others to be free: physically, mentally, emotionally & spiritually. Free in who they are and free to pursue their dreams. To build lasting relationships that encourage, support and foster growth. Happy Full Living! Follow Hannah’s blog, facebookInstagram & Twitter.

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Any excuse for a #microadventure

By Richelle Olsen, She Science Ambassador & The Ultra Life operator 

On a Friday night in mid January, 4 young ladies stand on platform 9 at Flinders St station, in Melbourne, astride bikes, with packs on backs, and massive grins plastered across their faces.  There may have also been some honking coming from a bright pink airhorn, attached to a bike named Taylor Swift….

Let me introduce the “#Microadventure”.  A term made famous by UK Adventurer Alistair Humphries, it’s an ‘expedition’ close to home, easy, cheap and can last less than 24 hours. You can leave work at 5pm with a couple of friends, catch a train, and within an hour of any major city you can be in the countryside. Go sleep on a hill or on a beach, make a campfire, take in some fresh air, take a bottle of wine and study the Milky Way. All you really need is a rucksack, a sleeping bag with a cheap waterproof survival (or bivvy) bag or tent, some warm clothes and a sleeping mat

So 2 weeks ago I put the call out  to a few of my friends:

Idea: Friday 16th Jan . Take bikes. Any bike. Catch the 5.11pm train from Flinders St to Stony Point. Take the last ferry from Stony Point to French Island (next to Phillip Island). Bush camp on the island. Share some yummy food. Drink wine (if you could fit it in your pack!) Sleep under the stars. Eat more food. Do some beachcombing first thing the next morning. Explore the island. Read a book.

Everyone would need their own camping gear (tent, sleeping bag, sleeping mat), that fits in a backpack. (Max riding with the backpack is 5km between the ferry and the campsite).  Bogong Equipment rents lightweight gear if you need some too. But I’s sure everyone knows someone they can borrow something off!

Cost would be $26 for the ferry, $13 per night for the campsite (shared between everyone), and the cost of a Zone 1 Myki.

Who’s in??

And here we were, beside ourselves with excitement.  A mix of new friends and old.  All with the same goal, to escape the city for 24hrs.  It started with a metro train to Frankston, a V/Line train from Frankston to Stony Point, then an inter-island ferry to Tankerton Jetty on French Island.  3.5hrs after leaving the city, we were cycling along a dusty country road, not a car in sight, watching the sun lowering in the sky, pinching ourselves that we were actually here!  Cue more pink air horn honking!!

5kms down the track we found our campsite, Fairhaven.  With nothing more than a drop loo (and some lovely spearmint infused hand sanitiser!), and a watertank (please boil before drinking), it was a perfect spot to pull up a patch of ground in the protection of the tea-tree, rest the bike against the nearest tree trunk (no bike locks needed here!), and put the tents up.  And it was all done just in time to walk the 10 metres to the most wonderful, deserted, white beach, to sit on the sand with a glass of wine, a sausage roll dipped in homemade relish and a slice of Feather Loaf…..facing west to watch as the sun slowly dipped below the horizon…..

IMG_3201IMG_3200 IMG_3203 The girls were full of praise – pinching themselves (and hugging each other!) that we were there in such a perfect spot, asking me how many times I’d been there, how did I know this spot.  The funniest thing is I didn’t…I had never been there before.  This microadventure was purely the result of making friends with Mr Google!  And if they were chuffed, I was ecstatic that it had exceeded my wary expectations, and that I hadn’t dragged my mates along to some hole of a location!  What a relief!

After a night interrupted only by the sound of waves, and a chorus of cicadas, Saturday morning treated us to a rainbow over the ocean as the sun fought the clouds…  Breakfast was homemade blueberry muffins and leftovers from dinner….nothing beats leftovers!  Fuelled and ready, we set off on our bikes in search of koalas, the French Island koalas known to be the healthiest in all of Australia.  Back on the bikes (but leaving the packs back at camp), the dirt road became a dirt track, became a tree and prickle bush obstacle course, became the question “is this even a track?”.  Setting ourselves a turnaround time limit, 2 minutes before we gave up the search, Jacinta is heard squealing with delight…not just a koala, but a koala with a baby on her back – jackpot!  I swear that koala was looking down at us thinking “Who are these bush bashing freaks who have disturbed my peace!”  High with excitement, with plenty of pink air horn honking, it was time to head back to pack up camp to head back to catch our 1.20pm ferry.  But not before Dale’s very close encounter with a snake (more squeals), a road crossing echidna and a second breakfast at a general store in the absolute middle of nowhere!

And before we knew it, we were on the trek home.  The ferry and 2 trains….sad the adventure was ending, but plenty of talk of future microadventures.  It will most certainly be the first of many, many more!!

So now’s the time to create your own #microadventure  Step outside your comfort zone, lose your excuses, and create your own adventure!   All you need is a little imagination, and a load of enthusiasm.  I guarantee you will not regret it!  Do get in touch with me via or via The Ultra Life facebook page if you need any advice on your own #microadventure!!!

Richelle headshot cropped


Richelle is a She Science Ambassador with an enthusiasm for life that rivals any other. You’ll find this adventure junkie out on the trails most weekends whether that be running, hiking or mountain biking. Richelle is a great role model for stepping outside of your comfort zone and continues to inspire us as she does so. Richelle and her partner, operate ‘The Ultra Life’ that run adventure riddled escapes both locally & internationally. Follow Richelle and her adventure fueled life via @theultralifevents