Jogging strollers are not the easiest things in the world to run with. No matter your skill level at running if you’ve never tried using a jogger for anything more than a trot down a shopping isle you will quickly find out that jogging with your little one will be very different than anything you’ve ever experienced previously.
Jogging with a baby in a stroller is not impossible however you do need to keep a few things in mind – you will have to curb your expectations a little.
- You will run with a different stride,
- a different speed,
- possibly a different gait,
- and you will likely become fatigued quicker than normal
In short, running with a baby in a jogging stroller will be more difficult and you need to ease into it.
First Things First: When Is It OK To Jog With A Baby?
One of the first things you should consider when planning to jog with a baby is the baby itself. Most joggers don’t recommend using their products for jogging with infants less than 6 months old.
There are some exceptions but on the whole younger babies have poor if not any control of their head should it get jostled around. For this reason manufacturers suggest you wait until six months or until you are sure your baby has control of their head in potentially bumpy conditions.
Some strollers may make it sound like babies can go for a jog with you because the baby is sitting in an infant seat however strollers with infant seats are rarely designed to be true jogging strollers. You may find some exceptions to this rule of thumb but you should consider each case very carefully on your own and use the best judgement possible.
This post covers the safety of running with newborns if you want more information on this subject.
Baby First You Second: Know Your Body
If you are confident that your baby is going to be safe in a jogging stroller you need to really take a good look at your physical well being next. Even fit women (or men for that matter) who have a history of jogging or distance running need to reassess what they are actually capable of after a baby enters your life.
Women in particular need to pay careful consideration for their own well being. Many women are still recovering from pregnancy and delivery months after birth. Women who go through particularly difficult births can be vulnerable to problems even up to six months later.
Some mothers who are breast feeding may also have unique difficulties with running with a jogging stroller due to low or depleted energy levels. Not all women experience this but many do and if you haven’t pushed yourself into a new (or resumed) jogging routine you need to reassess your health and ease into it slowly.
If you feel like your body is not ready for running you shouldn’t push yourself. After all, the baby is now first priority in your life. Your fitness is important too but not as important as the health of your child.
Not All Joggers Are Worth Their Packaging
This is where product knowledge finally comes into play. Just because a stroller is billed as a jogging stroller means it should be used for jogging.
Choose The Right Stroller For Jogging Or Just Stick To Walking
Just because someone you know jogs with a particularly good looking stroller doesn’t mean that that stroller is meant to be jogged with. As a consumer you need to do a little research and gather some information on what it is exactly that you need in a product.
This isn’t as easy as blindly buying something based on product packaging or casual recommendations it’s about actually learning what features are important and then finding a product that will work based on what you actually need.
True jogging strollers will have a few distinct features. Some strollers may be designed to look like a jogger but unless these features are satisfied the stroller should be used for routine jogging.
- need to have a fixed front wheel (or at least a single wheel up front that can be locked)
- need to have larger front wheels capable of rolling over debris or larger bumps in the road
- good suspension systems capable of absorbing shock
- should have air-filled tube-style tires which minimize bumps in the ride that can jostle you or your baby
- need to have plenty of leg clearance for your jogging stride. This is usually accomplished by a handlebar that projects behind your child rather than above your child and a cross bar that doesn’t get in the way of a typical person’s foot stride.
- should have a means of safely attaching a wrist strap to the handlebar so that you don’t accidentally let the stroller get away from you.
- should be preferably light so that you don’t fatigue too early during a run
Many strollers are made with the three wheel design but not all are particularly great for true jogging. Do your homework. Find out what your stride is while jogging and see how much clearance your stroller has. You don’t want to run with a stroller that forces bad running form. This could inhibit you and possible make injury more likely.
This post also discusses what to look for in a good jogging stroller if you want more on this topic.
Consider Quality Before Choosing The Stroller For You
Once you’ve narrowed your list of joggers down you should then think about quality and price. Sure the newest fancy jogger may be the best jogging stroller made but is it really right for you?
Are you an extreme runner going for both distance and speed? if so then by all means buy the best. Right now that is probably the Sub4 Jogger from Phil And Teds. In fact if you need the best just because you are that kind of person then dive right in. It will cost you around $900.
The average jogger however won’t be going to extremes. The average jogging mom will probably only head out with their baby every now and then. They will probably go slower and will probably not run extremely long distances either.
If you can realistically expect to use your jogger often then I wholeheartedly endorse buying a top quality, top of the line jogger. For the average person however I support getting the mid-range strollers which are made extremely well, should hold their value on the resale market, and are very likely to hold up over many months of routine jogs.
I rarely recommend getting the lesser quality products because I personally don’t feel they are worth it very often but that should be for you to decide. So long as the jogger you are looking to buy actually is a stroller appropriate for jogging or running you should be OK.
How To Record A Better Run With A Jogging Stroller In Tow
Using a jogging stroller will slow you down and will change the way you run. There is simply no way around this. As a novice or advanced jogger you need to expect to tire easier than ordinary and you need to pay careful attention to your running form. Joggers will inevitably cause you to take shorter strides, possibly change your gait or the motion of your stride and posture, and will likely take your mind off of good running form and breathing techniques.
Physical form downfalls typically are the result of the actual stroller in front of you. You have to push it and have to keep enough distance to not kick the stroller. You may have to bend a little to hold the handles and you may find it uncomfortable to use a wrist strap. Constant grabbing and releasing of a stroller can quickly take your form and degrade it.
Running with a stroller will often cause you to lose some of your positive breathing techniques. This is not because of the actual stroller in front of you however; it is likely due to your concentration on pushing the stroller and keeping your baby safe. When you run by yourself you can easily focus on your own self but when pushing a stroller many other things are on your mind taking concentration off of your form.
I find it’s best to practice using a jogging stroller in very safe places and for shorter distances at first. Find a jogging path or use a track and begin getting used to running with the stroller while maintaining the best physical form and breathing technique as possible. The more you do this the more natural it will feel and the easier it will be to take your baby out on road runs while maintaining safety at all times.
Even the best jogging strollers require some pushing so don’t expect to run as far as you usually do or as fast as you usually do. Eventually the stroller may even making you a stronger runner as it is basically a new form of resistance to running in addition to typical challenges like hills or elevation changes.
Jogging with your baby is a challenge that can easily be overcome. I myself am a relatively new runner and I’ve enjoyed this activity immensely since my son was born.
This website covers many of the things I’ve learned about running, stroller safety, and other workout tips for parents of small children but I also have a helpful email series too.
Would you like to:
- learn new ideas for staying in shape with a baby in the home?
- learn how to keep your baby safe while you workout?
- get more energy throughout the day despite those early morning feedings?
- be confident in the products you buy for baby?
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Thanks for reading, -Chris Mou