Dominating the Stroller Run.

This post is a long time coming. 

Last fall, I decided to master the art of stroller running. Sometimes the stroller/dog run which is even more of an art.

This picture was taken 10 miles into a 20 mile stroller run when Marshall was around 3.5 months old, 3 weeks before my first post baby marathon.

Listening to a little Johnny Cougar mid run



What this post isn’t:

  • How to safely run with a stroller:
    • Stroller maufacturers will tell you not to run with your child until they are 6 months of age. I clearly broke that rule but was careful about having him all nestled in and not on bumpy ground. I waited the full 6 weeks most doctors recommend to actually start running and waited until Marshall was around 8-9 weeks to stroller run him. I had a c-section though and don’t know that I would have been so diligent about the 6 weeks had I not. I was kind of terrified of my uterus being knocked around in there haha.
  • A Stroller Review:
    • This is not a stroller review. I have the BOB Revolution. I really like the BOB, but I’ve never ran with any other stroller- so nothing to compare it to! When we registered for a stroller I went with one that I heard a lot of good things about and it’s probably the most popular “nice” jogging stroller.


This post is more so about how to DOMINATE the stroller run. 

 

1. Keep your tires pumped.

  • I can’t stay I’m the best at making sure mine are fully pumped, but dang, when they are, it’s 10 times easier. I promise. Pump those puppies up.
2. Embrace it:
  • It’s pretty wonderful to be outdoors, enjoying two things that are high on the “what I love most in life list.” It’s especially sweet when said kid is still in his carseat and you get to admire the sweet little face the entire run.

3. Don’t be a wimp.

  • You have to get over the fact that it is harder to run with the stroller than running without and realize that it’s not that big of a deal. So stop being a wimp. That’s all.

4. You might not be running as fast, but you can still work just as hard and it still very much counts.

  • Sometimes I think others dismiss the stroller run as just an easy run or would never use it as a real deal run. I’m not sure on exact percentages of what the ratio is of how things compare time wise and I’m sure it’s very different from person to person, but running based on effort works. With or without the stroller. If you have a 10 mile run on tap at 8:15ish pace and your only option is the stroller- run 10 miles with the stroller at a pace that feels like 8:15. It might be 8:30, it might be 9:30, just do your 10 miles.

5. You CAN do tempo runs and even do speed work. Just don’t be a baby about it.

  • Tell me you don’t feel like a badass passing people while running with the stroller. Well you really will feel like one when you’re doing speed work with it. Obviously you need to make sure you are on safe, not super bumpy terrain when running super speedy, but it can be done and you think it hurts so good to finish a tempo run without the stroller. Do it with it and you feel even tougher. If you don’t have a kid and you want to test it out with my kid, he’s all yours. I did several tempo runs leading up to Shamrock with the stroller and it really boosted my confidence come race day knowing I could run XX miles at XX pace with a stroller.


6. The wind will come. Take Advantage of it.

  • Everyone has heard me yack it up about how difficult the wind was at Shamrock last year. It was pretty insane and I guarantee that pushing the stroller into a headwind frequently on the second half of my training runs (heading south on the monon, it happens a lot), made me strong. Physically. AND Mentally.  Every time the brutal section of between 54th-52nd and the monon hit- I PUSHED. Hard. Sometimes I just had to laugh it was so hard. And during my race I thought so many times about how much harder it would be if I had the stroller and used it to my advantage knowing it was just me. Use my arms, my core and march on solider. 
This is the last mile at Shamrock after many miles of terrible wind with NO stroller….

7. Form.

  • Figure out what works for you and just stick with it. Much like running without the stroller, people will give you all kinds of proper running form advice. My advice- if it feels right, doesn’t cause you pain, it’s probably right. Am I right?  When I first started stroller running, I found myself naturally running with my left hand pushing the stroller and my right hand free. There are times I intentionally push with my right hand to give myself a bit of a break, but 90% of the time, I’m a left hand pusher. I think it’s because I’m right handed and I like to have that hand free. If it gets really windy or I’m trucking up a hill, I’m all in with both hands and a determined head. I did get a massage one time after a 10 mile stroller run & she could tell I had stressed one side more than the other. It would be a big annoying mess though to try to evenly run with both arms, not to mention completely unnatural for me, so I’m ok with one side being more “stressed”- like other sports where you use a dominate side, who cares.

 

8. Be Prepared.
 
  • Don’t head out on a 3 mile + stroller run without the essentials. Diaper, wipes, food, drink, nursing blanket, pacifier, toys- whatever. That’s a rookie move. Have I done it? Yes. But, I don’t recommend. I never nursed mid run, but I was prepared to on that 20 miler when he was so young. Now that Marshall is older, (18 months), I’m armed with lot’s of other stuff. Apples, I never leave the house without an apple, even if it’s freezing out and his little hands will get cold, apples keep him happy, some kind of cracker type thing or cheerios, books, pacifier (yep still works and I’ve got not problem resorting to it), water or juice, toys, keys, and sometimes I just have to sing or something. Lately I can talk about what we see on the run and he responds, which is kind of amazing. You know your kid- bring anything and everything you think might work. I’ve never done iPads or phones with Marsh but if you do, I’m assuming that would be a good bet. Stay tuned though- I’m totally getting one of those leap frog things for him and have high hopes it will be my new saving grace.
 
9.  Turn up the music.
 
  • Not in your headphones. Put a little Spotify, iTunes, Pandora, whatever it is on your phone and put it on the stroller. I have to think the kids like it. I ALWAYS have the jams on when Marsh and I head out and whether it’s a little Mumford or a little Outkast- he likes the noise. I try to keep it clean promise.
10. Find a friend.
 
  • Find a friend who doesn’t have a stroller to push and make her share the duties. I usually try to keep myself in charge, but if Ashley offers, I don’t decline.
11.  Learn to appreciate your non stroller runs; even your treadmill runs. 
 
  • Bliss. Pure bliss when you get out the door totally alone. The pre run isn’t pure bliss necessarily, you still have the “I don’t want to leave the house” feeling sometimes. But once you start running with nothing but yourself in tow, it feels good. And yes even the treadmill. I very much enjoy putting my kindle on a large font and getting some reading in on the treadmill. No worries about a kid fussing. This is the only reason I’ve finished any books in the past year and a half.

12. VALUE your time with the stroller:


  • Every kid is different. At different ages, they’ll go through different phases. I’ve had my ups and downs with Marshall being a stroller kid or not. The hardest time was when he learned to walk/run and all he wanted to do was get out and run around too. Screw the sitting business woman I can run too. One day, I won’t have a stroller to push and my kids will be too old and I’ll miss it. So I chose to value the time.
Looks like one of Marshall’s last days in the car seat before he moved to sitting like a big kid facing forward.

Oh- and as for the stroller/dog run:

Like always, Your dog will think this run is all about him/her, and try to pull you around peeing every two seconds. I’ve found that keeping the dog pulled in close works best and much like if you’ve ever tried to ride your bike with your dog to give him/her some quick exercise- use your free hand for the leash. The dog will probably see a squirell or have some reason to chase something for no reason and if your hand with the leash is on the stroller, it could be bad news. It probably won’t totally tip your stroller over, unless you have a very large dog, but more than anything it will piss you off and might make your kid cry if it tips a bit. It will at the very least get your heart rate up and scared that you might have just tipped the stroller over and hurt your kid. It happened to me once on a bridge when Marsh was still really young and freaked me out. I didn’t talk to Cadence for a few days after that. I love you dog, but don’t mess with my kid.

Oh, I almost forgot- one of the best things about the stroller run, you get to haul all the crap- most of which you probably don’t need in the stroller. What’s another 2 lbs? 

Who’s got some good stroller running advice? 
 
What did I miss?
 
What stroller do you run with? 
 
Who wants to borrow my kid for a stroller run? Kidding. Kind of. 

Comments

  1. I’m at the stage of life where I just want to borrow the kid – stroller or no. Enjoy these days – they go faster than even you think they do.

  2. Love this!! Our 2 year old asks to go for runs (for the people who think”poor kid”)! Its pretty awesome. I, too, think of them as good training for the regular runs.

    1. Thanks! Lately Marshall has been crawling up in the stroller himself- no talking yet though!! 🙂

  3. I LOVE running with my stroller and have posted about it before, but I love your organized way of explaining it all – I totally agree! I’ll be sad when my youngest gets too big for the running stroller (I have a BOB too, the SUS).

    1. Thanks Cynthia! Appreciate your kind words- I’m hopeful I have many more years of stroller running as we only have one so far! 🙂

  4. I have stopped taking my dude out on stroller rides because he was getting too fussy too quick, but I think we may be back to a good age. You wanna know something really crazy though….I have taken Baby T on runs as long as 6.5 miles…..in a NON-JOGGING stroller. Hahaha. I didn’t have the carseat adapter for my Bob, so I just put him in the regular stroller and started running. I am sure that is why my stroller looks like complete horse shit now, but it worked. =) We are just now starting to use the Bob!

    And my first post-baby marathon would have been at the EXACT SAME time as yours….except the race was cancelled this weekend. Oh well!

  5. I don’t know if I would ever attempt 20 with a stroller, but who knows. Crazier things have happened…..like me running for 2 months with a NON-JOGGING stroller! I put hundreds of miles on that thing. We have a Bob, but I never got the carseat adapter, so I just went with the regular one. That is probably why it looks all beat up. =) But hey, mama needed to run!

    Too funny. My first post-baby marathon would have been at the precisely same time…except that my race was cancelled this weekend. Oh well. What can ya do?!

    1. Hi Crystal! BIG BUMMER on your marathon! Assuming you were doing Dallas or Memphis! I can’t believe you’ve ran so much with a non jogging stroller, that is crazy impressive! What’s your next plan? Are you signing up for another marathon? So frustrating to be all tapered up and then not be able to run it! Thanks for the nice words!

  6. I think you nailed it for the most part. No matter the workout, run by feel (the same thing I do on a treadmill, since calibration is never accurate). I’ve gone up to 2 hrs 10 min with the stroller (BoB Revolution), but that was back in the day when the little dude could nap for most of it. If he’s awake, I think interacting (talking, singing, pointing out anything and everything) is probably the best bet at 18 months. If you’re lucky you get a fire truck or something, because that will have a solid 5 minutes of lasting attention of noises! Haven’t tried playing music with the phone, so I’ll give that a shot next time. Never can stash too many toys/food in the stroller though. Just be prepared if they go airborne (ie any Leap type products) – some toys you can loop into the safety strap so even if he chucks it, it stays on board. We just got a new giant bundle sleeping sack thing for the stroller and Z loves to just climb into it. Hope it stays that way, as I’m sure we’ll have plenty of cold stroller miles to run this winter.

    I’m pretty solid on the dog/stroller runs too, but I have a running belt for the dog, so I am hands free with him. Generally, the dog stays on one side and the stroller keeps him there, as opposed to regular dog runs where he might be all over the place. Even with squirrels, he seems to be intimidated by the stroller’s presence, so doesn’t usually cross over. It’s a handful with both, but sometimes that’s what works. Always a solid workout no matter what!

    1. Thanks Adam!! It sounds like your dog is better behaved than our dog. Ugh, totally our fault, we were bad about obedience classes when she was a pup. I’ll for sure keep in mind the safety strap thing for the leap frog. I hope he likes it!

  7. Great tips, I love this post! We just got the Weathershield cover, thinking that it might help keep our guy warmer than just the Bundleme alone. And I love your point about the music – I often run to my Katy Perry Pandora station, which leads to some songs with some questionable. 😉

    1. Thanks Annie! I have almost pulled the trigger on buying a Weathershield a few times but have yet to do it. We have a trailer for the bike that is closed in and Marshall freaks out with it closed, so I’m kind of afraid we’ll buy it and it will be a waste! I supposed if he fell asleep though, I could sneak it closed! Katy Perry station- I’ll have to look in to that!! Thanks!

  8. Great post!! IMO, there’s not a better workout than a stroller run. I run every day with my Double Bob. I started out running with a Single Jeep Overland. Which I LOVED training with, because it does not have a swivel wheel. It gave me the best arms of my life one summer. Once I had my 2nd baby, was when I got the double bob. I’m obsessed. My 2nd baby has been riding in it from the day she was brought home from the hospital (with my husband obviously not me. And the infant adapter of course ). We have awful snow right now so I haven’t run in a couple weeks with the holidays, and my oldest daughter cried the other day when I went on a solo run sans stroller. She looks
    Forward every day to our run, the paths, the adventure of it all. At age 3 she got to the point where she wanted to keep going and going. Hopefully my 1 yr old will get to that point soon 🙂 My gym allows strollers on one of their two tracks, so when my youngest was too little for the gym daycare I would run on the track with her and the double bob. I get sad thinking about the day when I will no longer be pushing a stroller because I know I will miss it. And I’m so thankful my girls are use to riding along and have come to appreciate it 🙂

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  10. Catriona Bassett

    I run with a mountain buggy urban and love it!! I run with one hand also and am more dominant on one side but alternate every half km to keep myself even. THe buggy is so light that I barely notice the changeover. THank you for your tips about tempo runs. I shall be doing one tomorrow with baby and buggy! Great post!

  11. Scott

    One fun thing is to do Parkrun with a buggy and you can feel the pain of others trying to keep up as they dont want to be beaten by a buggy. Tip: always save a bit of pep for the sprint to the finish so you can last minute gas someone… a bit too competitive sorry… not sorry haha

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