Out There Mothers

How to Incorporate Interval Training with a Jogging Stroller

If your stroller runs are becoming dull, or time constraints and carting a 25+ lb jogging stroller (and baby) are impairing your workout, you might need to rekindle the spark in your relationship with stroller running.

Incorporating interval training with a jogging stroller can break the monotony of regular runs with your baby, alternating between bursts of high intensity running and recovery periods. This efficient approach maximizes fitness gains in minimal time.

In this article, we share how running intervals works magic for improving your fitness, and how incorporating interval training with a jogging stroller can revive your runner’s high and make the workout a blast for both you and your baby.

Bri Terry running with toddler in jogging pram

What is Interval Training?

Interval training (or interval running) shifts between set times of high intensity running and pleasant-paced jogging during a single workout. An example of a simple interval training work-to-rest ratio (how long you run hard vs. how long you run easy) is 1 minute of hard running followed by 1 minute of light jogging or brisk walking, and then repeat for the duration of the workout.

Running intervals is a way to practice running at a fast pace and prepare your body to handle the turnover of speedwork. These high intensity sprints are made less intimidating by generally lasting 30 seconds to 1 minute at a time, followed by 1 or 2 minutes of sweet recovery after.

In addition to activating your body’s mechanisms to build muscle, improve heart health, and burn fat, incorporating interval training into just one weekly workout yields a slew of benefits.

Benefits of Interval Training with a Jogging Stroller

  • Achieves more fitness in less time
  • Improves running speed
  • Strengthens cardiovascular health
  • Makes the workout more interesting
  • Builds muscle and endurance
  • Speed changes are exciting for baby—vroom, vroom

How to Do Interval Training with a Jogging Stroller

Interval training has immortal novelty; it can be endlessly customized based on your route, time, fitness goals, and what you’re in the mood for.

Recipe for a Good Interval Workout:

  • 5-10-minute warm-up (walk or very easy jog)
  • Low intensity session for X number of minutes
  • High intensity session for X number of seconds or minutes
  • Repeat intervals to your fancy
  • 5-10-minute cool-down

Your work-to-rest ratio is based on what you want out of interval training with a jogging stroller. If you want to get used to running at faster speeds, begin with 1 minute of high intensity followed by 1-2 minutes of low intensity for 30 minutes. If you want to improve your endurance, try adding 30 sec–1 min to each high intensity session, cushioned by 3 minutes of recovery.

The internet is littered with interval exercises you can tailor to your capabilities with a jogging stroller. We also share some interval workouts to try with a jogging stroller below.

Understanding RPE

RPE (Rate of Perceived Effort/Exertion) is the best way to measure how hard you work during intervals. Rather than miles per hour, RPE attunes you to how hard you feel your body is working during low and high intensity sessions.

How to Measure RPE

Think of your running effort on a scale of 1-10. An RPE of 1 is the most minimal effort you can manage (like the walk you do from your bed to the bathroom when you reluctantly wake up in the morning) and an RPE of 10 is the max (like the mad dash you do when you hear a crash and your child wailing in another room).

Warm-up/cool-down RPE

An RPE of 5 is your comfortable running pace—a pace you could run at forever while having a well-rounded conversation. It’s okay for your RPE of 5 to become a walk when you’re pushing a jogging stroller.

An RPE of 4 or 5 (40% effort-50% effort) is a solid warm-up pace.

Low intensity RPE

An RPE between 6 and 7 (60-70% effort) is a good low intensity pace. It should be a little challenging, but not impossible to maintain.

High intensity RPE

A high intensity pace can range from an RPE of 8-10 (80-100% effort), depending on how long your high intensity intervals are. If you’re high intensity sessions last 10-30 seconds, go ahead and blast off at RPE 10 (like the finish line is in sight and you’re going for it).

Because my hard intervals generally last 1-2 minutes, I aim for an RPE of 7-8.

What to Expect when Running Intervals with a Jogging Stroller

Running intervals with a jogging stroller and toddler feels much slower and tiring than running intervals solo.

Your RPE is not going to match the pace you were used to running without a jogger. A 7.5 mph sprint may become a 5.5 mph jog when you’re pushing the stroller, even though you’re applying the same amount of effort (if not more).

You may have to slow to a walk in order to recover from your last hard rep. I get a lot more speed from my interval training with a jogging stroller if I allow myself to walk during the low intensity portions. Then, I have regained enough power for the high intensity intervals, and I still finish the workout in the same amount of time as I would have consistently running.

When you’re running with a jogging stroller, you’re already doing double the work. So, don’t you dare ridicule yourself if your speed and stamina are lower than ideal. You are workin’ it!

When to Stop Running

The specific discomforts listed below alert us postpartum runners to stop our activity, especially when experiencing running pain after giving birth.

Pain to look out for when running with a jogging stroller:
  • Pelvic pain or excessive leaking
  • Back pain
  • Hip and knee pain
  • Lower back pain
  • Harsh pain on the bottoms of your feet
  • Severe cramping
  • Arm and shoulder pain

If you are working muscles you haven’t challenged in a long time, you can expect mild aching and soreness as a result of your awesome effort. However, if you can describe your pain as shooting, tearing, sharp, stabbing, unbearable, or debilitating, please stop activity immediately. Your body is still healing and can be damaged further if you try to push past its warnings.

See your doctor if pain persists or worsens after rest.

Charli Rohn running intervals with jogging stroller

5 Interval Workout Ideas to Try with a Jogging Stroller

Here are 5 interval runs to try while pushing your jogging stroller. You can add or subtract interval cycles based on the time you have.

1. 30-minute Interval Run

5 minute warm-up jog at 4-5 RPE

Round 1:

  • 1 minute run at 6 RPE
  • 1 minute sprint at 7-8 RPE
  • 1 minute run at 6 RPE
  • 1 minute sprint at 7-8 RPE
  • 2 minute recovery walk

Repeat sequence for Rounds 2 and 3

Round 4:

  • 1 minute run at 6 RPE
  • 1 minute sprint at 7-8 RPE
  • 1 minute run at 6 RPE
  • 1 minute sprint at 7-8 RPE
  • 3 minute run at 6 RPE
  • 3-5 minutes recovery walk/cool-down

2. Run Hard to the Song Chorus

Run easy during the verses of a song, and hard during the chorus. Base your high and low intensity sessions on the song you’re listening to.

I’ll use Shake It Off by Taylor Swift in this example because, whether or not you’re a fan, you’ve probably heard it more than once.

Run at an easy 5-6 RPE during the verses. This includes, “I stay out too late, got nothing in my brain. That’s what people say, mm-mm, that’s what people say…” And so on.

Crank the intensity to 7-9 RPE during the chorus, which would be “Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play…I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, shake it off! Shake it off!

You can do this with any songs on your playlist.

3. Pyramid Session

5 minute warm-up jog at 4-5 RPE

  • 1 minute sprint at 8 RPE
  • 30 second recovery at 5-6 RPE
  • 2 minute sprint at 7-8 RPE
  • 1 minute recovery at 5-6 RPE
  • 3 minute sprint at 7-8 RPE
  • 1 minute and 30 seconds recovery at 5-6 RPE
  • 4 minute sprint at 6-8 RPE
  • 2 minute recovery at 5 RPE
  • 5 minute sprint at 6-7 RPE
  • 2 minutes 30 seconds recovery at 5 RPE

Then, repeat the pyramid in reverse!

Pyramid Run Sample Workout Guide by Out There Mothers

4. Song On, Song Off Intervals

Use music to mark your high and low intensity periods of running.

  • Warm up at 4-5 RPE for one song
  • Run 6-8 RPE for one song
  • Walk/jog 4-5 RPE for one song

Repeat to your liking

5. 20-minute Interval Run

5 minute warm up at 5-6 RPE

Sequence: Repeat 7 times total

  • 1 minute sprint at 7-9 RPE
  • 30 second recovery jog at 5-6 RPE
  • 5 minute cool down at 4-5 RPE

How often should I incorporate interval training with a jogging stroller?

Once per week is great for beginners, but don’t let that stop you from practicing intervals more often. Aside from improving strength, speed, and overall fitness, interval training is a great way to liven up workouts that have become redundant and flat.

Conclusion

Interval training with a jogging stroller—or interval training in general—is an excellent addition to your running repertoire. Not just because it gradually builds your speed with manageable sprint periods, but it also makes your workout pretty fun for you and baby Speed Racer.

I run intervals with my daughter in the jogging stroller whenever my heart feels up for it. Intervals have allowed me to hold onto my speed into my second pregnancy and they add variety to the same tired, old routes that were getting hard to push through.

Just remember; your pace compared to your RPE is going to be very different when interval training with a jogging stroller, but don’t think for one second you’re not absolutely crushing it.

You go, mama!

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