6 Tips for Running with a Stroller
As a new mom, getting back into shape can sometimes be the last thing on your mind. Between juggling your new responsibilities and getting back into the groove of ones you had pre-pregnancy, making time for a short run or a quick trip to the gym can seem unlikely—if not plain impossible.
But, for runners, losing that regular time on the road and the massive hit of endorphins you typically experience while running can be a blow to your general wellbeing, and could potentially further complicate an already complicated recovery process.
Once your child is old enough, including them in your running routine can be a great way to not only continue to build your bond with them, but also to give them time to play and interact with the world around. Get your stroller packed properly and the whole family ready to run with these six helpful tips for running with a stroller.
Make Sure Your Baby is Old Enough
While strollers classified as “jogging strollers” are built for babies of all ages, the jostle and the movement caused by a steady running pace could be too much for your little one even when fully harnessed. While it’s a bit of a wait, we don’t recommend running with your child until they’re at least six months of age.
Lock the Front Wheel
While most jogging strollers come standard with a fixed front wheel, others have a switch that allows you to manually lock and unlock it (allowing you to turn more easily). When you’re running, it’s safest to lock the front wheel in place to prevent the stroller from turning suddenly, causing you (and your precious cargo) to crash and/or fall.
Pack for the Occasion
Don’t forget to bring extra diapers, wipes, water (for both you and your little one!), snacks, extra clothes and a toy or two. Most strollers have a basket or extra compartment that make packing all the essentials for you and baby a breeze, so take advantage of it!
Protect Your Baby from the Elements
Rain or shine, a runner is rarely deterred from getting in a couple of miles. But, when you’re also touting a stroller along for the ride, it becomes a different situation altogether. Make sure you bring along a weather shield, dress your baby appropriately and maybe bring a backup jacket or cooler clothing in case the weather shifts. Remember, you may be moving and warming up, but they’re going to be mostly sitting still!
Be in Control of Your Stroller
Pushing a stroller impedes the natural swing of your arm and, while you may be tempted to push your stroller a little and then let it go as you run so you can be hands-free, it’s never a good idea. Instead, in an effort to not create additional strain on your legs, try pushing with one hand to allow your other to swing freely and switch hands regularly throughout your run. This will allow you to stay in control of the stroller while reducing the chance for increased fatigue.
Don’t Expect to Resume Your Regular Run
Between dealing with a potentially bored child halfway through your route to having the additional weight of pushing a stroller the entire time, it’s inevitable that your pace will be impacted. It’s important to remember to take it easy—both for your sake and your child’s—and to not overdo it in an effort to meet or beat your pre-pregnancy times. From an increased chance of injury to the potential for a stroller crash, there’s plenty of potential to do more harm than good.
Whether it's a neighborhood run or a half marathon, getting back out there (with little one in tow!) is the first step to reintroducing your body to an exercise routine. Making this a part of your life can have a positive impact on your child -- teaching them the importance of health while getting you both out of the house. It's an important message that can positively affect them for years to follow. If you have questions on if you and baby are ready for a run, make sure to make an appointment with your OBGYN and pediatrician to get the all-clear before getting out there!