The New Parent’s Guide To Running With A Jog Stroller
The right technique and workouts can be good for your fitness.
If you are the proud recipient of a newborn bundle of joy and believe that your running will be compromised, don’t despair; there’s a jogging stroller out there with your name on it, and plenty of workouts and techniques that you can learn to keep you in decent running shape.
At first glance, the number of jogging strollers can be intimidating to a first-time parent. Before rushing out and buying a stroller, it’s important to learn the basics of how to run and train while pushing your baby.
Before heading out on your first run with your baby, check with your pediatrician and follow the stroller’s recommendations for proper usage. It’s also a good idea to check your stroller’s website for relevant product recalls. Most importantly, safety first—you shouldn’t begin running with your baby until he or she is at least six months old, as most babies can’t hold their head up until that age.
Once you and your child are ready to venture out onto the roads and trails, remember that jog-stroller training will be much different. The key difference in running with a jog stroller than without one is the weight you’re pushing—and that can be a good for your fitness.
Elite coach Brad Hudson of Boulder, Colo., who trains several jog-strolling runners, points out that every baby-jogger session should be treated as a resistance workout.
“It’s great for all your muscles—especially your core and your back,” he said. Hudson suggests working in moderate hills without the jog stroller for an added challenge once or twice a week and using the stroller on other days across flat terrain at a slow pace to aid in recovery. But Hudson tells all his new-parent runners to keep their expectations real. “Having a baby in your life is a huge adjustment, so you shouldn’t overdo any of your training at first. Go easy on yourself.”
One elite runner who can relate to this advice is American Olympian Kara Goucher. The proud mother admits strollers will definitely slow you down. “There is no way around that,” she admitted. “Then again, when you get to run a race without the stroller it will feel amazingly easy, so PRs are quite possible!”
But despite the challenges of a stroller, the benefits far outweigh the costs. Deena Kastor, the American record holder in the marathon, says the times she’s out with her daughter Piper can be the most rewarding. “It’s great to share your running passions with your children,” she said. “Getting out with them teaches them the value of an active lifestyle at a very early age.”
Similar to Goucher’s sentiments, Kastor’s husband Andrew, who pushes Piper most of the time—sometimes as long as two hours—thinks he has become a stronger runner. “He feels he has gained so much power and strength in the process,” Kastor said. “When running solo he feels light, efficient and has bettered his times in practice.