I’ve never been a very good runner, and I don’t mean in the physical sense. I’m physically fit, I don’t have any knee or ankle issues, and I have a perfectly healthy set of lungs. I’ve just never really liked it. There, I said it. But when my daughter was born, running with a stroller seemed like the only way to get a little exercise in while bringing her along. So we made sure to buy a stroller that was built for jogging. I pulled my running gear that had mostly been abandoned while pregnant out of retirement. And on the day she turned six months old (the recommended age to run with a baby in a stroller), I laced up my running shoes and we headed out.
Oh man, it was tough. After five minutes I was huffing and puffing. And not just because I was still working on getting back into my pre-pregnancy shape, but because I hadn’t really thought about how heavy that darn stroller would be! The slightest incline felt like a mountain, and the momentum of the stroller pulling me on a downhill stretch was quite honestly freaking me out. But I stuck it out, and we managed a half hour tour of my neighbourhood that felt like an actual eternity.
The second time we went out was a little less scary. It gradually got easier, and at a certain point it even became somewhat enjoyable. I said somewhat – let’s not oversell it. And so, I reluctantly became a stroller runner. I love that I can get out of the house for a little fresh air and exercise WITH my daughter. But I still kind of hate running.
Here are a few things I learned along the way that formed my love/hate relationship with stroller running…
Choose the right stroller
This is key. Spring for a stroller that is actually meant for running. They might all look like you could run with them, but most strollers are meant for walking. It doesn’t need all the crazy extra features they seem to come with nowadays – although I will admit, the cup holder is a good one. But make sure you choose a stroller that is properly built to jog with. It’s going to make for a smoother and easier ride, not to mention it’s the safest choice for your baby.Your jogging stroller can make or break you as a runner. #motivation #letsmove Click To Tweet
Learn the proper form
This took some time for me. The biggest thing is to keep the stroller fairly close to you so you have a bit of bend in your arms. I like to alternate which hand is gripping the handlebar every five minutes, but depending on the size of your stroller you might prefer to keep both hands on the handlebar. I don’t think there’s an exact science to it, but if you’re noticing any aches, pains, or discomfort, it’s probably time to adjust your posture.
Most strollers come with a wrist strap that’s connected to the handlebar. Use it! We all like to think we have an iron grip and would never, ever let go of our baby, but it never hurts to be extra safe. Any time you do stop and take your hands off the handlebar, put the brakes on. Let’s not even think about what could happen if you stop on a slight hill or the wind suddenly picks up. Lastly, be mindful of your running route. You take up more room when jogging with a stroller so it’s best to stay off the road. I generally stick to the sidewalk or the trails.
Adjust your pace
Don’t be afraid to slow down. You’re pushing an extra load in front of you, it’s only natural that your runs will take a little longer.
Don’t forget there’s a baby in that stroller watching the world go by as you huff and puff your way around the block. Being able to do something that was good for me and generally enjoyable for my daughter is what made stroller running fun. And although they get heavier as they get older, they get more into it too. Now that my daughter’s a toddler, she’ll cheer me on as I’m going up a hill. And I always get a “Good job, Mom. You did it!” when we get back to the house. You just can’t beat that kind of motivation.
I’m not saying it’s my absolute favourite thing to do, but somehow stroller running has become a part of my life. Hopefully this will help you hate it a little less too : )