Since having Finn I’ve done a lot more running. I haven’t had a gym membership so this has been my main go-to activity for exercise. I clicked up a fair few kilometres as I trained for my first half marathon when Finn was 8 months old. Running with a stroller and baby can be a nightmare, or, done right, it can be fun and a great way to reduce stress. I want to share with you ways you can experience the latter in your jogging expeditions, because no parent needs MORE stress in their lives; and let’s face it – getting out for a run can be hard at the best of times – let alone with a tiny person!
Find a running pram you love
Initially, I started running with the normal pram and quickly realised that to make this easier for me and more comfortable for Finn, I needed a stroller designed for running/jogging.
My choice: Bugaboo Runner
I was gifted the Bugaboo Runner and since then running with a stroller has been a much better experience! I feel Finn is more comfortable and safe in the Bugaboo Runner. This eases my concerns around doing longer runs and reduces the excuses I have not to run! Here’s a few things I love about it and I would recommend in a running stroller:
- Firstly, FINN LOVES IT! He is happy to be put in the stroller (He usually screams when put in the normal pram) and he is happy to stay in this stroller longer too. I think it is because the seat is sturdy and the design of the clips doesn’t require me to pull his arm through loops – SUCH A CLEVER DESIGN!
- I can also sit his seat very upright or lay it right down, which is great if he is sleeping (or I want to encourage him to sleep!).
- It’s super smooth and stable to run with due to the 3 large air-filled tyres and fixed front wheel.
- The seat is reversible, so Finn can face me whilst I jog or face forward and explore the world around him. You can also use this feature to reduce the sun in their eyes depending what time of the day it is.
- The hood is also great at blocking out the light.
- You can easily adjust the handle bar to 3 different heights which has made it easy to change mid-run when Reis and I swap.
- There’s a easy access hand brake to help control the speed downhill or stop with little effort. The main brake is a foot brake and easy to lock and unlock.
- There’s a large basket underneath the seat that allows you to strap down your goods. Perfect to put a nappy bag, phone, jumpers or light groceries (up to 5kg) in.
- It’s weight is evenly distributed so it isn’t hard work to slightly tip the stroller onto the back wheels in order to turn it.
- It’s easy to fold and unfold and quite compact when folded considering the large size it is when unfolded.
Adjust your expectations when running with a stroller
Running with a pram is a lot harder than running without one, so you need to adjust your expectations in regards to the distances and times you will be able to complete. You aren’t likely to be making new PB’s with a pram because your pushing extra weight! The impact running with a pram with have on your running time and distance will differ for everyone, but for me I found that running 5-7km with the pram was a comfortable distance. If I wanted to do more I would take my husband and we would take turns in who ran with the pram every 4-5km. In terms of time, each kilometre for me would be around 20-30 seconds slower than my without a pram time. This time would alter slightly depending on how hilly the route was and how much sleep I had the night before. Don’t forget that hills are now even more of a strength exercise and be careful not to lose control on the down hills (the Bugaboo Runner hand break is great in preventing this.
Find a route you like
Knowing where you’re going to run takes away the stress from it. If you find a track you enjoy, you’re also more likely to be keen to get out there and run. Use the early months of bub’s life to get out and walking, familiarising with your local area and the routes that would be suitable to run with a pram. Take note of how populated the pathway is, how wide it is and how many roads there are to cross in your preferred route. This is what I did for the first four months of Finn’s life because it took me a while to be fully recovered and ready for moderate exercise post birth.
If you are training for longer distances that you can’t scout out by walking (or else you would be there all day, which isn’t practical with a child!) you can use Google Maps to find local tracks that are designated for running and riding.
Run at a nice time of the day
Choose times of the day that you know will work well for you and bub. These will of course become more apparent the more you run with your baby, but here’s a few things to think about:
- Run when bub has a full tummy and clean nappy;
- Run if bub is struggling to fall asleep because often they will fall asleep on the run;
- Run when you or bub are bored and need a change of scenery;
- Run when you find yourself stressed and needing to get out of the house and into some fresh air;
- Run when it is warm/cool so you don’t have the excuse that it is too cold/hot for both you and bub to be out!
- Run when you have the least amount of time to convince yourself not to – for me this is first thing in the morning or straight after my husband gets home.
Bring a mini nappy bag
It’s always a good idea to have a mini nappy bag in case of emergencies, particularly on the longer runs.
Take entertainment and food
A toy and/or snack to keep your child amused is always good to have on hand.
Be flexible in your running training with a stroller
It’s great to have a running training plan, especially if you’re working towards a race. Although every runner knows that some days your runs don’t go to plan. Well when there’s a baby involved, double the amount of days that it doesn’t go to plan! Bub might not feel like being in the pram that long or you might have been up all night and be absolutely shattered as a result. This doesn’t mean don’t run at all, but you need to be prepared for perhaps shorter or slower runs some days.
Know your other motivations for running
To help with this, I recommend you have a wide range of motivations for running with your bub. These might include things like focusing on the way you feel afterwards, or perhaps just to help settle both you and bubby with new scenery and some fresh air. Keep these at the forefront of your mind, to remind yourself of the other things you might get out of doing a short or slower run. This helps you to enjoy the run no matter the pace or distance.
Be kind to yourself
Always be kind to yourself. As a parent you are taking on one of the biggest responsibilities in life – raising the next generation. With such a big responsibility comes and big work load so if the runs aren’t as frequent as you like right now – remember this is a season that will pass and you are doing a great job!
What other tips do you have for running with a stroller? Let me know in the comments below!