By: Pam Mazucca-Prebeg
Running is typically a solo sport. A chance to be alone with your thoughts, to decompress and disconnect. But once you have kids finding time to go to the bathroom alone, let alone head out for a run, becomes a challenge. And even when you can find the time, most parents are consumed with guilt over doing something for themselves. Solution – the jogging stroller – the greatest invention and investment you will make as a parent who enjoys running.
Stay Connected: Eliminating the need for a babysitter while increasing your bonding time with your kiddo out in the fresh air are obvious perks to running with a stroller. And don’t discredit the added storage of the stroller for when you need to peel off a layer or need a place to stash your keys, phone and water bottle. It’s also a great way to get your little one down for a nap and stay down…just don’t stop moving, which becomes added motivation for you to run, and possibly run longer.
Add Resistance: The added weight of the stroller plus your child adds significant resistance to your runs making it a great way to tone your arms and shoulders, increase your caloric expenditure and improve your race time. Not to mention, running with a stroller can help improve your running posture because it prevents over striding, forcing you to keep your feet under you.
Pace Yourself: As great as running with a jogging stroller can be, it can also be difficult. It requires extra planning, extra patience and it is hard. Your pace will be slower (a lot slower), you will need to pack the stroller with the essentials (see below for a list), and you will probably have to end your run at the park to reward your little one for their patience.
KEEP IN MIND: You will have to alter your running technique slightly. You need to stay upright, with your elbows bent and the wrist strap securely attached to you and two hands on the handlebar. On flat sections you might opt to hold on with just one hand, but if you do be sure to switch arms every five minutes or so to avoid bad habits. And keep the off roading and busy routes for your solo runs, as navigating those terrains with a stroller can be dangerous and frustrating.
NOTE: Babies need to be six to eight months before you start jogging with them, as they need to have a strong enough neck to support their head when you hit the inevitable bump in the road. Always double check with your paediatrician first.
GET READY TO RUN
Keep in mind these must-haves for your jogging stroller before you head out on the road with your little one.
- Three wheels – they are more stable, especially at high speeds
- Wrist strap – make sure you use it, especially when running downhill. It will keep the stroller from getting away from you as it picks up speed
- Back wheel brake – jogging strollers are smooth gliding and can roll away even on the slightest of inclines so use your brake whenever you take your hands off the handlebar
- Shock absorbers – makes the ride smoother for your little one