How To Run With A Stroller

How To Run With A Stroller: Tips And Tricks For The Runner

For parents who love to run, staying active can be a challenge when there’s a little one in the picture. But here’s the good news – you don’t have to give up your running routine just because you’ve become a parent. Running with a stroller is a fantastic way to bond with your child, maintain your fitness, and enjoy the great outdoors all at the same time.

However, running with a stroller is a unique experience that comes with its own set of considerations and challenges. In this guide, we’ll explore some essential tips and tricks for stroller running that will help you make the most of your runs, keep both you and your child happy, and ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience.

From assessing your effort level and speed to embracing the beauty of the great outdoors, strategizing your routes, and maintaining your stroller like a well-loved bike, we’ll cover everything you need to know to become a stroller running pro. Additionally, we’ll delve into the importance of refining your running form when running with a stroller and how to build up your stroller running distance over time.

So, let’s lace up our running shoes, secure those stroller straps, and hit the open road. It’s time to embark on a journey of active parenting and create beautiful memories while staying in shape.


Assessing Your Effort Level & Speed When Running With A Stroller

Running with a stroller undeniably demands more energy than running without one. While scientific studies may provide varying estimates, any parent who has experienced it will attest to the increased challenge of stroller running.

Certain factors can amplify this energy demand. Hills become notably more formidable, and windy conditions require even greater determination. If you’re planning to make stroller running a regular part of your routine, it’s essential to learn how to gauge your effort based on perceived intensity rather than relying solely on pace.

Heart rate monitoring can be a valuable tool when training with a stroller. The physical exertion of pushing and steering a stroller can elevate your heart rate, and by keeping an eye on it, you can precisely ensure that you’re training within your target zones.

Another reliable method to assess your effort level is to pay attention to your breathing rate and your ability to engage in conversation. In most cases, your stroller runs should be at an easy pace. If you can comfortably chat while running, you’re likely running at an appropriate intensity. Plus, it’s an excellent opportunity to engage with your little one, potentially enhancing their language skills.

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It’s crucial to understand that there’s no one-size-fits-all pace conversion for stroller running. Runners with a foundation in slow-twitch muscle strength might find that they experience only a minimal decrease in speed when running with a stroller. In contrast, others might notice a more significant drop in pace, often around 30 to 60 seconds per mile. Instead of trying to match your regular running pace, focus on maintaining the same level of intensity to make the most of your stroller runs.


Embrace the Great Outdoors for Quality Parenting

Prior to heading out, ensure your child is well-fed, eliminating the need for snacks during the run. This approach not only prevents any potential choking hazards but also avoids the habit of using food as a source of entertainment.

To make the most of our time in nature, carefully choose routes that offer abundant trees, foliage, and wildlife. Good routes encompasses ponds, lush trees, and even some captivating outdoor sculptures. During stroller runs, try to engage with your child, pointing out interesting sights like dogs, birds, and even the occasional deer. This interaction fosters a stronger bond, aids in language development, and fuels the child’s curiosity.


Strategize Your Route for a Successful Stroller Run

Selecting the right route can significantly impact the success of your stroller run. Smoother surfaces and flatter terrain tend to make stroller running more manageable. If you have to choose between the two, prioritize smoother surfaces, as they are kinder to both your stroller and your overall experience. Remember, hills can be challenging, but a road full of potholes is often much worse. Opting for smoother surfaces can also extend the lifespan of your stroller.

From personal experience, I’ve found that running on a loop pathway offers several advantages. It reduces the number of road crossings, ensuring a more continuous and consistent surface for your run. Additionally, loops minimize hairpin turns, which can be quite tricky to navigate with a stroller.


Running in Various Weather Conditions

While the saying “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes” holds true for many, in the most countries, extreme conditions do exist. Avoid taking the stroller out during winter when the real feel is zero degrees and the sidewalks are buried under snow. However, for the majority of the year babies can handle cold temperatures with the proper clothing put on them.

To enhance comfort and protection, use a mesh weather cover for the stroller, which blocks wind and provides additional insulation. On rainy days, use a reliable rain cover, many companies like Thule have multiple types and models available.

In hot and sunny conditions, ensure your child is dressed in lightweight, comfortable clothing. Make use a the stroller’s umbrella top, this will help shield the child from the sun’s rays. Also remember to apply sunscreen to protect their skin.

Throughout the run, make sure you frequently check on your child through the stroller’s window, or stop and check that the child is ok. On extremely hot or cold days, It can be a good idea monitor their temperature and ensure the child is comfortable.

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Situations Where to avoid Stroller Running:

– High winds
– Ice or snow on the ground
– Windchill below 15 degrees Fahrenheit
– Temperatures above 90 degrees
– Thunderstorms
– Heavy Rain


Maintain Your Stroller Like You Would a Bike

For those who rarely ride a bike, the concept of tire and brake maintenance might seem foreign. However, when it comes to jogging strollers, it can make a significant difference in your running experience. If you find that running with the stroller is becoming more challenging, it’s worth checking the wheels, as flat tires can seriously slow you down. I typically check the tire pressure on my jogging stroller every 2-3 weeks, adjusting the frequency based on the mileage we cover. If you ever notice that the stroller is becoming harder to push, the first thing to inspect is the tire pressure.

Just as you would for a bicycle, it’s a good practice to have a patching kit and spare tires on hand for your jogging stroller. Even stroller tires can go flat, and being prepared can save you from unexpected inconveniences.

Most jogging strollers are equipped with a locked front wheel, and, at times, it may require alignment. After each tire fill, it’s advisable to check the alignment as well. For example, the Thule Urban Glide 2 makes it easy to adjust the alignment with a simple dial located by the front wheel. Taking care of these maintenance tasks will help keep your stroller in top working condition and ensure smoother runs with your little one.


Refining Your Running Form with a Stroller

When running with a stroller, it’s important to pay attention to your running form to ensure a smooth and comfortable experience. Here are some tips to help you maintain good form:

Alternate Hands: Hold onto the stroller with one hand while pumping the other arm as you normally would when running. If you’re covering high mileage or are prone to injury, consider switching hands every few minutes. It’s common to have a preferred hand for steering, typically your dominant hand, but make an effort to take breaks and use the other hand, even if just for a few minutes during your run.

Maintain Posture: Focus on maintaining a tall posture with a slight forward lean, just as you would in regular running. Holding onto the stroller can sometimes lead to slouching as you fatigue, so be mindful of your posture. If you find yourself slouching frequently, incorporate core and upper back strengthening exercises into your resistance training routine. Exercises like push-ups, rows, and pull-ups can improve your postural control. Functional core exercises such as deadbugs, farmer’s carries, and side planks are also beneficial for promoting good form, even as you tire.

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Hip Posture and Extension: A 2016 study published in Gait Posture found that runners tend to alter their pelvic tilt and hip extension when running with a stroller. To counteract these changes in form, focus on driving with your hips. This cue encourages a neutral hip posture and proper hip extension.

Strengthen Your Hips: If you struggle with maintaining a strong hip drive, consider adjusting your strength training program. Exercises like hip thrusts, single-leg deadlifts, and kettlebell swings can help develop strong glutes, translating into a more robust hip drive. Additionally, incorporating exercises that emphasize hip proprioception, such as a hip strength circuit, can be beneficial, especially if you plan on running substantial distances with a stroller.

By paying attention to your running form and incorporating these tips, you can enjoy smoother and more comfortable stroller runs while minimizing the risk of posture-related discomfort or injuries.


Start with Short Runs and Progress Gradually

Embarking on your stroller running journey? Remember, it’s a skill that takes time to refine. Start with shorter distances to ease into the experience and allow yourself to adapt to running with a stroller. This gradual approach also provides an opportunity to assess how your baby responds and what adjustments are needed to ensure their happiness and comfort during the run.

It’s essential to be patient, both with yourself and your little one. As you gain more experience, you can steadily increase your running distance, turning stroller runs into an enjoyable and rewarding experience for both of you.


Final Words – How To Run With A Stroller

In conclusion, running with a stroller presents its own unique set of challenges and rewards. Assessing your effort level, embracing the outdoors for quality parenting, strategizing your route, and maintaining your stroller like a bike are essential elements to consider when incorporating your little one into your running routine.

Remember to adjust your pace based on perceived intensity rather than pace alone, and monitor your heart rate and breathing to ensure you’re training effectively. Make the most of your time outdoors with your child by exploring routes that connect with nature and engaging with your baby.

Plan your route wisely, prioritize smoother surfaces, and be prepared for various weather conditions. Your baby can handle cold temperatures with proper clothing, while mesh and rain covers protect from wind and rain.

Maintain your stroller’s wheels and alignment like you would a bike, and pay attention to your running form. Alternating hands, maintaining good posture, and focusing on hip posture and extension can help you run more comfortably.

Lastly, start with shorter runs and gradually build up the distance as you and your baby adapt to stroller running. With time and patience, you can turn stroller runs into an enjoyable and fulfilling experience for both of you.

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