7 essential tips for stroller running with kids
Stroller running is a great way to get back into running following the birth of your baby. Not only is it great way to occupy your child, but it can also help you improve your fitness and mental health. Although many mothers feel exhausted with the constant need to care for their child, running can help to increase energy levels and reduce fatigue.
Many athletes have chosen to push their children in running strollers as a part of their training runs.
- Kara Goucher won several marathons while pushing her son in a stroller
- Stephanie Bruce completed marathons and half marathons pushing her children in a stroller
- Ryan Hall, a former Olympic marathon runner, pushed his daughter in a stroller during training runs and races
Whether you’re planning on running races or simply getting more active, stroller running can be incredibly beneficial if you are set up correctly.
1. Choosing the right stroller
If you’re looking for a running stroller, chances are you
will cover plenty of miles and it needs to be sturdy and durable. Look for a
stroller designed specifically for running, which will have features such as
air-filled tires, ability to fix the front wheel, and a hand brake for added
Consider factors such as the size, weight and stability of
the pram. We recommend trying various prams to find the one that suits your
jogging requirements. We have however made it easy for you with our top picks
of running strollers, all collated in one spot!
Running prams can be expensive and are often the second pram
for your household, so you could consider purchasing second hand if possible.
2. Safety precautions
Safety is number one when you’re out with your little one. Suddenly you have a precious life in your hands, and it’s up to you to make sure you get everyone home again safely.
Make sure your stroller has adequate straps to hold your child in place and ensure they’re always done up securely.
Check your stroller offers enough protection from the elements. Some prams come with rain covers, and have the option to add accessories such as extra-long hoods or sun shades.
Many strollers have a lockable front wheel, or clips to hold the front wheels in a straight position. This will stop the stroller from taking a sudden turn on uneven ground or over bumps, and will reduce the chances of tipping. A locked front wheel actually makes running a lot easier as it requires less effort to keep the stroller on track. Turning with a locked wheel while running can take a little to get used to, but is definitely doable, after all this is what jogging prams are designed for!
Most running prams come with a hand strap that can be looped around your wrist. This stops the stroller getting away from you. If you won’t use it, at least use it when going downhill. Trust us, you don’t want to lose your stroller when heading down a slope! If your stroller doesn’t have one, perhaps you should invest in one.
3: Plan your route
As a mother, you fast become aware that you require a plan A, B and sometimes even a C! Plan your route ahead of time and have a few options in case your child decides today isn’t the day for running. Pick a route with a smooth surface if possible. Avoid overly busy roads but try to pick a route that has enough keep your child entertained. One great option is to stop halfway at a park or playground to break up the time spent in the pram. Alternatively, save the stop for the end of the run and finish at a park or café for a coffee. Try to avoid passing playgrounds until you’re ready to actually stop.
Just remember, children fast become creatures of habit and start demanding their donut stop if it becomes a regular occurrence. (Fine if you want to keep forking out for donuts each run, but it can get err… expensive!)
Every parent knows snacks are the lifeline of successful outings with children. Have your snack stash handy in a bag or pram caddy, rather than hidden in the pram’s storage. Bending down and hunting for snacks mid-run is no match for dripping sweat and dizziness.
Some good snack ideas to take running with kids include:
- Fruit (bananas, apples, grapes)
- Granola bars
- Cheese sticks
- Squeeze pouches of yoghurt or fruit
- Small bags of biscuits
Make sure you choose snacks that are easy to throw in a bag, non-perishable and won’t make too much of a mess.
Next to snacks, mother’s best friends are wet wipes. Make sure you always have a pack handy in your stroller and know that if your child is dirty but happy, you can always clean dirt or food off. Sometimes it’s give and take hey?!
5. Toys, music or cuddlies
Be prepared with toys that your child can easily hold and play with in the stroller such as small cars, books, etc. Make sure it’s not something highly valuable in case in falls out of the pram, and you’re forced to re-run the route in search of your child’s dropped toy (trust me, we’ve all done it at some stage!). Your kiddie’s favourite cuddly or pacifier can work wonders in calming them once they’ve decided they’ve had enough of the pram.
Music can also be a big hit with both child and parent alike, if you turn on some Pop hits! Tuck your phone into a side pocket and turn it up loud enough so you can both hear, but without disturbing the whole neighbourhood.
6. Shoelaces or bungee cords
On the toys and snacks note, having shoelaces or bungee cords to tie things to the pram can be a lifesaver. This stops you always halting your run to retrieve lost items, and keeps the kids happy as they can reach what they need by tugging the string. Its honestly best to do this from day one. I tried tying my daughter’s cuddly teddy after we lost it a couple of times, and she refused to let me keep it tied up. So, my runs are always spent anxiously and continuously checking whenever she is holding her cuddly as it’s highly sacred and the only one we have.
7. Our final tip: Resilience!
Know that not every day is going to be a good day for stroller running. Sometimes your child just doesn’t want to be there. Take the pressure off both of you by setting realistic expectations. Save stroller running for days when you can do an easy run, and if possible, try to schedule your high intensity workouts on days when you someone else can watch your baby.
Running with a stroller can take a while to get used to. It does require using different muscles and even your new one-arm swinging style will take your body time to adjust to.
Hill running can become a challenge but enjoy the downhill! Stroller running definitely builds your muscles and stamina. You’ll be surprised how much easier running alone is, after you go for a solo pram-free run.