If you’re thinking about running with a jogging stroller, then you may be wondering how to do it effectively without it affecting your running flow and style.
Sales of jogging strollers have doubled in the last 24 months, with more parents opting to run with their children.
Whilst running with a jogging stroller takes practice and patience, you’ll soon find your feet with the actionable tips in this guide.
By exercising with your baby, you’re setting a positive example to your kids and you’re getting the benefits of a run outdoors.
After all, nothing beats a run in the great outdoors!
In this guide we’ll explore:
- When can you run with your baby in a jogging stroller?
- What to take with you when running with a jogging stroller
- Proper running form when running with a jogging stroller
- What are the benefits of running with a jogging stroller?
- Running with a jogging stroller Q&A
- 8 actionable tips for running with a jogging stroller
Let’s get started!
When can you run with your baby in a jogging stroller?
You may be wondering: “When can I run with my baby in a stroller?”
Most experts will tell you that running with your bay in a stroller is not recommended until they are at least 6 months old.
This is because between the ages of 6 to 8 months, babies will have the necessary neck and head control in the sitting position to deal with fast movements and sharp turns and avoid whiplash.
It is recommended you follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for your jogging stroller. Some manufacturers, for example, say that children should be at least a year old before you start using trails.
If in doubt, seek guidance from your healthcare professional before heading out the door, and make sure you have the necessary equipment with you – more on that below.
What to take with you when running with a jogging stroller
Before you head out for your run with your baby, you’ll need to check that you have everything you need for a successful and safe run.
What you pack will be specific to your needs and the weather at the time of your run, but here is a suggested packing list:
- Diaper/nappy bags
- Baby wipes
- A change of clothes (in case of any accidents)
- Breast milk and/or formula
- Sun hat and sunglasses
- Plenty of water
- Money and/or credit/debit card
- A fully charged mobile phone as a means of communication (in case of emergencies)
If you’re used to listening to music or podcasts on your run, then it’s recommended you run without your headphones when running with your baby so you can focus on your run and the environment around you.
Proper running form when running with a jogger stroller
Running with a stroller is very demanding physically and if you’re not used to doing it, it can feel alien at first.
After all, you’re essentially pushing the weight of your baby as well as the stroller.
Your running mechanics and running style will undoubtedly change because you’ll be running with a stroller whilst keeping an eye on your baby.
The most important tip when running with a stroller is to be flexible. Nothing ever goes perfectly on your first try, but with patience and practice you’ll get there.
Be flexible with your training when running with a stroller as you won’t be able to run as fast as you normally would solo.
Here are some running form tips when running with a stroller:
- Keep your running form as close to what it would be if you were running without a jogging stroller.
- Try holding the stroller with one hand at a time and switch hands every few minutes, much like if you’re carrying a water bottle.
- Keep your elbows soft and avoid over clenching the stroller as this can cause stress and tension in your arms and shoulders.
- Push the stroller from your core and legs as this will help you stay upright and support your lower back.
- Don’t lean too heavily on the stroller. Adjust your stroller’s handlebars so they sit at the right height so you are not stooping over.
- Some runners find it’s easier to run alongside the stroller instead of directly behind it. You will need to ensure the stroller has a fixed front wheel in order to do this.
- Run at a conversational pace – you should be able to comfortably hold a conversation when running without getting out of breath.
What are the benefits of running with a jogging stroller?
According to a 2005 study, running with a stroller affects measures of exercise intensity while running.
Heart rate, lactate concentration, ventilation and RPE were all significantly higher while running with a stroller after 30 minutes compared to running without it.
So you are guaranteed a tough workout compared to running solo.
Here are the benefits of running with a stroller:
#1 Running with a stroller burns more calories
New research from Seattle Pacific University suggests that running with a stroller burns more calories than running alone.
Crucially, it depends on how you push and grip the stroller. The research found that:
- Pushing a stroller with two hands increases the amount of calories burned by about 5%.
- Pushing with one hand increases the amount of calories burned by about 6%.
- The ‘push and chase’ method increases it by about 8%.
These findings suggest that individuals should consider implementing different pushing methods depending on fitness needs.
#2 Running with a stroller allows you to bond with your kids
Running with a stroller has benefits for you and your tiny passengers.
It’s a great opportunity for you and your children to spend quality time together outdoors in the fresh air.
You can make the deal all the more sweet for your kids by visiting a park at the end of the run, or packing some delicious snacks for the run.
#3 Running with a stroller allows you to fit a run into a busy schedule
If you’re a parent with young children and you’re struggling to find time in your day to go for a run, then running with a stroller gives you the opportunity to run with your little ones without the need to find childcare.
Many parents are now able to run Parkrun because they can run with a stroller instead of having to stay at home with the kids.
#4 Running with a stroller pushes you out of your comfort zone
If you’re used to running solo, running with a stroller involves a shift in your running style and can be great for strength training.
You are effectively pushing the weight of your child and the stroller, which makes the run all the more challenging and offers a great workout.
As with any form of exercise, make sure you have correct form and don’t take on too much too soon.
Running with a jogging stroller Q&A
Q: Do babies enjoy being pushed in a jogging stroller at speed?
A: Most babies enjoy the motion of being pushed in a jogging stroller and tend to fall asleep, much like they would do in a car journey.
If any point your baby starts to feel uncomfortable, stop the run and give your baby some attention until they start to feel happy again.
Q: How long should I run with my baby in the jogging stroller?
A: This will depend on the age of your child and their own individual personality. Some children love being in a jogging stroller for long periods of time, others get bored easily.
Remember to take snacks, drinks and things like colouring books on the run to entertain your child and keep them occupied for longer.
8 actionable tips for running with a jogging stroller
#1 Buy a stroller that’s designed for running
This is probably the most important tip because not all strollers can be used for running.
Look specifically for a specialist jogging stroller suitable for terrains that you will be running on.
There are lots on the market nowadays but you’ll need to find a stroller that has the the following features as a minimum.
- 16-inch wheels
- A five-point harness
- A hand operated brake
- A fixed front wheel
- A wrist loop
- Suspension and shock absorption
- A sunscreen (optional)
Stability and comfort are key so it’s a good idea to test drive strollers when you visit a store to make sure you are picking the right stroller for you and your baby.
Some jogging strollers are designed for off-road running and rough terrain, whilst others cater for smooth, flat surfaces – so think about where you live and research the best stroller for you.
#2 Get to know your jogging stroller
Once you have invested in a jogging stroller, a good first step is to get to know your jogging stroller inside out so you feel comfortable running with it.
As mentioned earlier, stability and comfort are key for you and your baby, so take it out for a test drive before running with your baby.
Check out the manufacturer’s guidelines and speak to other runners who use jogging strollers on a regular basis. They will probably have a wealth of tips they can share with you.
#3 Don’t do too much too soon
After the birth of your baby, there is pressure to get back into fitness as soon as possible.
As a new mum, you will need to give your body the adequate amount of time to recover, in particular your stomach and pelvic floor muscles.
Before you even head out for your first run, check in with yourself to understand if you’re actually ready.
As discussed earlier, it is recommended your baby is at least 6 months old before you start running with a stroller.
If in doubt, check with your healthcare professional before heading out for your first run.
#4 Be prepared
When running with your baby in a stroller, the key is to be prepared.
Aside from the packing list at the start of this guide, make sure you wear the right footwear on the run and warm up before your run.
Make sure you drink plenty of water before and after your run, especially if you’re still breastfeeding.
#5 Focus on staying relaxed and run naturally
As soon as you’re ready to start running with a stroller, try and focus on staying relaxed when running and run as naturally as possible.
This means running as you would do on a normal run.
Running with a stroller will decrease your running speed and stride, so be prepared for this shift in running style.
#6 Choose the right running route
When you first start running with a stroller, choose quiet roads where you think you’ll feel most comfortable.
Running along busy roads with lots of traffic and pedestrians won’t be fun for you or your baby.
#7 Reward your children
Plan your route so that you finish at a park or green space where your children can play as a reward for their good behaviour during the run.
It’s also a good idea to pack things like colouring books to keep your children entertained on the run.
#8 Make it fun
Above all, enjoy the quality time you get to spend with your children.
Instead of focusing on getting in a hardcore workout, use this time to bond with your children in the great outdoors.
After all, you’ll be doing something healthy that you love with your kids, and you’ll be setting a positive example with your kids.