I've trained for a marathon with a stroller. I've run with a single, a double and a triple stroller. I've had wheels pop, kids throw tantrums, breastfed on the side of the road. These are my best tips I've put together over the years for running with a stroller.
Running with a stroller has been one of the best ways to keep up with my running as a mom, and to have my kids enjoy the time with me. After years of running, here are my best tips to make stroller running the best experience for you and your little ones.
Not your average list. Assume I've listed all the obvious things "best tips", like hook your kid in, don't run in traffic, make sure your child is old enough to fit (not all strollers are made for newborns), get the ok from your doctor, etc.
Special Snacks & Toys
Snacks, toys, bottles, extra clothes, diapers. Have it all packed and easily accessible. But the secret to this is, make it their favorite snack or a special stroller toy. Something to look forward to every time you go out together. And always remember, if you do need to sprint home to sooth a crying baby, it counts as speed work.
Be flexible. You're no longer the boss. Have a plan, then have a backup plan, then have another.
The Sidewalk Recon Mission
Do a recon mission before a training run. Uneven sidewalks, roots, people parking in your path, these things can ruin a nice stroller run. You'll be surprised how much you'll notice the quality of your sidewalks once you start running with a stroller. If you want to get a nice smooth run in, make sure you know which path lets you do that.
Check your wheels, your brake, that your stroller doesn't pull to one side or the other. A low tire can make your run so much harder, an uneven ride will have you tugging to keep the stroller in line. Nice inflated tires and properly aligned wheels are a things of stroller running dreams.
Multitask like a Mother
Make your runs part of your errands. Grocery store, post office, do a special trip to McDonald's if the little ones are extra good that day. Turn the runs into destinations and adventures.
Find a Stroller You Love
Like anything, if you hate it, you won't do it. Running strollers can be expensive, so take the time to get the right one. Does it have places for your water bottle, easy to fold, how heavy is it, will it fit through all the doors you need it to, are your kids too close (will they fight), etc. I used a Mountain Buggy as my single, a Bob for a double. You don't have to buy new, you can find perfectly good used ones as well (I bought a triple off facebook marketplace, apparently they don't make running triples anymore).
Ok, so I don't really advocate for listening to headphones while you run with kids, especially if you're in a high traffic area. That being said, I like a podcast or chat with a friend from time to time when I know I'm in a safe area, especially when I'm sick of singing the ABC's song for the 28th time. With all that said: Go bluetooth, wireless. I've caught a headphone cord more than once and tossed my phone from the stroller. I recommend Aftershokz or something similar.
You're not only now pushing a stroller, with the added weight, change of form, etc. You most likely are doing it right after having a baby. You're not where you left off from running. Start walking first, your abs, your arms, your legs... it'll be a full body workout, and then work into run/walk, then you'll be crushing out miles before you know it.
Train your Brain
Stop thinking you can't train like you can without a stroller. You can. You can do long runs, and speed work, and intervals... the stroller isn't holding you back, your mindset is.
Don't forget to get out alone once in a while, stroller runs are fun, but running by yourself is also amazing!
And of course, Have Fun... you're running, with your little dream angel adorable baby! What more could you ask for :)
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