Tips for Running with a Stroller

I’ve definitely had my fair share of runs with the jogging stroller. But since I am still training competitively, I try not to run with the stroller too often. I usually only run with it once or twice a week, and they were always short, easy runs–seven miles or less.

We didn’t get a stroller until Cullen was about 7 months old. Since he was born during the winter, I knew I wouldn’t be able to push him through the snow or on ice anyway. The City of Anchorage doesn’t do a great job of plowing the roads in a timely manner, so they quickly build up with snow and ice which isn’t conducive to pushing a stroller. Plus he would be so young to be outside in the elements. (Although my coach, Nichole, did push her newborn all of last winter. She has a Chariot with a cover, which would make it much warmer for the baby.)

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I didn’t buy a fancy jogging stroller. My mother-in-law found this one used from a friend of her’s for $50. I had tried out the Baby Jogger and the BOB, and thought I was going to buy a BOB, but when she bought us this stroller, I didn’t complain. It is the 10K Ultimate InStep jogging stroller, which I see they don’t even make anymore. I honestly have no complaints about it, and really like it’s sleekness and minimal feel. (I’ve since used a BOB and thought it was really bulky.)

It has big wheels, shock absorption, a medium-large areas to store gear, a canopy, and hand brake. This particular model does have a fixed front wheel, so it doesn’t swivel from side to side, which makes it a little trickier to turn corners. Honestly I’ve gotten used to it, and it really doesn’t bother me. If anything, I think I like it better because I can run faster with the fixed front wheel. With that being said, I think most people opt for the swivel wheel, so they can bring their stroller to the store and maneuver around more easily.

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Thankfully Cullen has loved riding in the stroller. Like I said earlier, he was a little older when we started pushing him in the stroller, which may have helped. And anytime he sees his blue snowsuit hanging in the closet, he gets so excited. I think that’s a good sign!

Tips for running with a stroller

Start short

When starting with runs while pushing your baby in the stroller, make sure to start with some shorter runs–20 – 30 minutes. This way your baby gets used to being in the stroller for an extended period of time and you can get used to pushing the stroller. It definitely is no easy feat! The first time I pushed the stroller on a run (probably about 4 miles), my arms and upper biceps were really sore the next day. Obviously it was something new for my arms, so just be aware this will probably happen to you as well. I haven’t had any problems since those first few runs, and I think I finally have some shoulder definition.

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Get a grip

Fortunately, I haven’t had any problems with my wrists aching while pushing the stroller, but I did meet a mom who had to wear wrist braces because her wrists would get so sore. I don’t know if it helps or makes a difference, but I am constantly switching my arms and alternating which hand is pushing the stroller. I rarely push with both hands–only when running uphill, but instead push with one hand while my other arm swings naturally. I think I alternate so much because when I first started running with the stroller, my arms would get tired quickly, so I was constantly switching them back and forth. I guess it stuck because I still find myself doing that. Now it is second nature, and I don’t even realize I am doing it.

Bonus: the InStep comes with a cup holder and console for storing a few small items. It is an extra accessory you have to buy for the BOB. However, ours got lost when traveling to Minnesota this summer, so I’m going to have to buy the BOB one anyhow.

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Snug as a bug

I always bundled Cullen up in warm layers even during the summer here. You can see in the above photo I have shorts on, but Cullen has a hat and blanket on. It is still cool in the summer here (50s/60s), and I almost always had Cullen dressed as if it were a chilly fall day. The blanket would sometimes fall off, but as long as I tucked it around him, it usually stayed put.

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Pancake-flat

It is hard enough pushing the stroller, you don’t need to add any more resistance by having to push it uphill, so do yourself a favor and pick a pancake-flat route. I can still maintain an 8 minute pace and even a sub-8:00 pace if I wanted to. (Once again I think the fixed front wheel helped with that.)

Distractions are key

I’ve been fortunate in that Cullen just sits contently in the stroller the entire time we run, but I know not all babies are that way. I would suggest brining some toys, snacks, and pacifier along in case your baby gets fussy. Most strollers have plenty of space to store all of your gear.

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Watch your stride

As much as I try, I’m sure my gait is altered a little while running with the stroller. I try to combat this by paying attention to my stride and trying to make sure my stride feels the same as it does without the stroller. Also, make sure the stroller you are running with has a bar at the appropriate height for you. I’ve pushed a stroller where the bar was much higher, and I felt like my hands were at chest-level rather than down by my stomach.

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So there you have it, my tips for running with the jogging stroller. While I don’t love pushing the stroller, it isn’t that bad either. And if it means I can sleep in that morning, I’m all for it!

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Questions

  1. What tips do you have for running with the jogging stroller?
  2. What kind of jogging stroller do you have?
  3. How often do you run with the stroller?
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