I don’t know if you knew this, but today (November 8th) is National Stroller Running Day! I love running with my Mountain Buggy Terrain jogging stroller, but running with the stroller was a learning curve. It took many weeks to learn how to make runs as enjoyable as possible.
I know many people say that all you need to run is a good pair of shoes, but training for my first half marathon wouldn’t have been possible without a jogging stroller. My husband is overseas, and in order to get my weekly miles in I either had to head to the gym, or hit up the pavement with my baby. Going to the gym is nice, but it doesn’t always work out. (No pun intended!) I can’t take him to the gym daycare when he’s not feeling well, but fresh air is fine so the jogging stroller was a must have for my training.
Running with a stroller sounds easy, but there are a few things you need to know for safety. If you have a brand new baby and your are a first time jogging stroller user, you should know that baby should not be in a jogging stroller until they are able to sit and hold their head up unassisted. For most babies this is 6 months of age. Many joggers are now compatible with infant car seats. While this will help keep baby from bouncing around while you are running at a younger age, it does change the stability of the jogger. I personally would not run with an infant seat in my jogger, but a light jog on a flat smooth surface and certainly long walks would be fine.
Here are 10 Tips for Running with a Jogging Stroller!
1. Safety First
When you are running with your jogger you should always be sure to lock your front wheel. This will help keep the stroller from running our of control if you hit a rock or big crack. I didn’t think this was necessary, until it happened to me once. Now I always lock my front wheel.
Don’t forget to use the jogging strap. I know it’s not ideal, but it is really so much safer. If you fall or hit a rock, you don’t want the stroller running away with your baby in it.
Before you run, check the weather. If it’s going to be really hot and sunny pack extra sunscreen, spray bottles to keep baby cool (also a fun toy for older toddlers), and a hat. If it’s possibly going to rain, it doesn’t hurt to have your rain protector in the basket of your stroller.
2. Check the Handle Bar Height
You want to make sure your elbows are bent 90 degrees. That is one of the main reasons I switched to the Mountain Buggy Terrain. I had a different stroller, but the handle bar wasn’t adjustable. I ended up with shoulder and neck pain because I had to bend over slightly to get the right angle.
3. Your Hands
While you might want to use both hand on a downhill for safety reasons, when the path is flat be sure to alternate which arm is holding/pushing your stroller. Try switching every other minute. Or picking objects in the distance and switch when you reach them. It’s also temping to use both hands when pushing up hill, but try alternating here to challenge your body!
4. Switch Up Your Workouts
Sure it’s nice to just grab your jogger and go for a run, but to keep it interesting for you and your baby try adding in a circuit workout or even a HIIT workout.
I like this circuit stroller workout. (It’s great for beginners and experienced runners alike!)
5. Find a Few Good Routes
Finding a great stroller run is like striking gold. I have 3 go to places for running with my stroller depending on the day. I have a 5 miles loop around my home. We like to run this one when I’m not sure if baby is going to last the whole time so we aren’t very far away if he gets really upset. We found a 1.7 mile loop with 2 playgrounds along side the loop. I can do 2-3 laps (3-5 miles) and stop by after our run, or if I have a longer run scheduled I can stop after a few loops to let my son take a break.
I also found a place that Baby D loves to explore. We go and I can get my run on, and we finish with him playing in the rocks, or following the peacocks around for a while! Don’t be afraid to ask your mom friends or local groups for suggestions on where to run!
6. Happy Baby = Happy Run
Don’t try to squeeze in a run during a time when your child is easily agitated. Some parents can run around nap times and others can’t. I try to go 1-2 hours before nap time. I know that is when my son is the happiest. We will run, then play, then he goes down for his nap when we get home. If you do try to plan a run around nap time, be sure to bring your child’s comfort objects.
7. Take A Break
If baby is having a rough day, try taking a break. Stop your run at a park, or just let baby out and play for a little while. Like I mentioned above, if I have a long run and I know I am going to have Baby D with me, I plan on taking a break during it. When he starts getting antsy and wanting out, we stop and play for a while, then we get back in and I continue my run. Once you’ve been running with your child for a while you will know what their limits are. For instance I know that anything over 5-6 miles will require me to stop and give D a break. He just doesn’t want to sit that long.
8. Play Games
If you can’t take a break try playing games. My toddler is obsessed with dogs. He loves them, and so when he’s getting fussy we count dogs we see on our run. Singing is a great distraction. I honestly don’t care who hears me singing silly nursery rhymes with my son if it means I get to finish my run. I Spy is another great game for babies and toddlers. I ask him is he can spy different objects on our run. Bonus, this helps pass time on the run for you too!
9. Bring Snacks and Toys
This is an important step that shouldn’t be missed. Bottles, sippy cups, snacks, and toys are a must for older babies and toddlers. Some parents even have stroller only toys so that they know their child will be interested in them. Snacks and bottles are a great way to extend your run when baby/toddler gets fussy. Also don’t forget the water! Just like you need water when running, so does your child. They may not be working out, but it helps to distract them and keep them cool.
10. Any Workout is Better Than No Workout
It will happen to you, it happens to everyone. You have a certain amount of miles planned, but even with all the tips above, your child is just not having the run that day. Getting out and getting any run in is better than not getting out there at all. I’ve often had to call it quits at 3 miles when I had 5 planned. It happens.
I love running with my sons. My older son who is 5 just started running with me. I plan on taking him on several 5ks this season. I imagine he will run most of them, but has the option to jump back in the jogger for the remainder. Getting out and active with your kids helps teach them healthy habits!
Happy Running and Happy National Stroller Running Day!
Do you have any tips for running with a jogging stroller?
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