Running: How to run with a jogging stroller

I’ve been writing about running for two reasons:

1) I love to run. Running is a big part of my life, so it wouldn’t make sense to leave it out.

2) I wanted to get back to running soon after David was born and I was shocked at how little information was out there about postpartum running, especially for those of us who can’t really relate to Kara Goucher’s experience (you can skip to the part where she talks about running 42 miles a few weeks after she gave birth, or the part where she calls a 6:00/mile pace “not very fast”).

Since the World Wide Web had so little to offer, I wanted to share my experiences just in case there were other new moms out there just like me.

In that spirit, let’s talk jogging strollers. I thought running with a jogging stroller would be intuitive. It is for the most part, but there’s also sort of a learning curve, or at least there was for me…

1) Start with the right equipment
Running is awesome because it requires very little equipment; a good pair of shoes is all you really need to get out the door. That changes if you want to bring a baby along. We have the BOB Revolution. It’s awesome. We have used it almost every day of David’s life. It’s easy to push, light, folds up, and is easy to use. If you want to run with your baby, a stroller meant specifically for running is a must. [My mom had three kids and never owned a stroller; just one more reason I believe she’s part superhero.]

2) Eyes up!
The night after my first run with David I woke up with horrific pain in my neck. I tried to find some sort of position that didn’t feel like someone was scraping my nerves with a spoon and wondered who would take care of my baby while I underwent neck replacement surgery. The pain was gone by morning and didn’t return until my next run, when I looked down at my baby. Turns out, if you stare down while running it hurts your neck. Plus, looking forward helps you avoid fire hydrants and pot holes. No one would ever blame you for keeping an eye on your sweet baby, but your neck will thank you for keeping your head up.

3) Focus on form
Now that your eyes are up, how’s the rest of your form? Having the bar of the stroller in front of you makes it easy to lean forward and slouch. Plus, you’re probably tired, which makes the temptation even stronger. Stay strong, stand tall.
A friend once told me that your muscles develop the way you work them out — so if you work out with bad posture, your muscles will strengthen in that position. I’m not sure if that’s true, but it’s my motivation to stand tall when I run.
Plus, good posture will help your breathing and make running easier.

4) Run beside the stroller
As awesome as strollers are, they can be hard to navigate. For some reason I find it easier to run and steer if I’m controlling the stroller with one hand (usually my right hand) and am sort of beside the stroller. That way my other arm can move naturally, which helps you run more easily.

5) Keep your little passender happy
When I started out I would drape a blanket over David’s seat and he slept through the whole run. Then, one day he just woke up. Now I take toys, pacifiers, and run a serpentine pattern around my neighborhood so I can get in some miles without ever being TOO far from home.

6) Be prepared to slow down a little
You won’t be able to run as fast with a jogging stroller, so don’t expect to. I’ve seen (and been passed in races by) moms who don’t seem to be fazed by their strollers. Now I know they ARE slowed down by their strollers, they’re just probably REALLY fast without them. My stroller weighs 23 pounds, plus the 18+ pound baby, plus the fact that you’re pushing a stroller. They don’t hitch Thoroughbreds to wagons before the Kentucky Derby for a reason. Give your self a break and don’t sweat your mile splits.

6) Enjoy every run
I’m still working on this. I spend too much of my day thinking, “I wish I could JUST do this ONE thing.” Even if my run gets cut short by a crying baby, even though running with a stroller is unwieldy, even though your running tights might not fit like they used to, isn’t it awesome to be out there running?

…and there is one benefit to running with the stroller I’m LOVING. No more stashing Gu in my teeny shorts pocket, tying my keys in my shoe laces or carrying my extra layers. With a stroller I can bring ANYTHING along with me and I don’t have to carry it! Now I run with my keys, phone, ID, water bottle, jacket and sunglasses. Oh yeah, and the baby.

Any moms have other tips to share?

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4 Comments

  1. Laura February 10, 2012

    These are great tips! We have the same stroller, and love it too. I agree that it’s easiest to run alongside the stroller using one hand at a time for pushing. Not sure that I have anything to add, I think you summed it up well!

    Reply
  2. Kristie February 11, 2012

    Nice. Helpful. Although once you have more than one kid at home it gets a bit trickier. I say if someone is watching one of them they can watch them all and then I can lose the stroller! I do have to disagree with your claim that the BOB is a light stroller…23 pounds is not light.

    Reply
  3. tomamanda February 11, 2012

    true. but they "push" lighter than non-running strollers.<br>(you’re right, though, lifting them is tough)

    Reply
  4. […] night Tom took David for a run in the jogging stroller for the first time ever. He ran 5 miles at a 7:30 pace while pushing the […]

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