Running with a stroller is a great way to keep fit for mummies, since you can start it right outside your front door, you don’t need any special skills and you can take your baby with you – all you need is a running stroller and a pair of trainers!
Whether you are an experienced runner, or a beginner, here are my top tips for running easily and safely with your baby in a stroller…
1. Make sure your baby is over 6 months
This is the usual recommendation from doctors and also the age manufacturers will state on most running strollers. Babies need to be able to hold their heads up confidently and withstand the odd bouncing around from riding whilst you are running. If in doubt check with your pediatrician first, as every baby is different. You should also check the manufacturer’s age recommendation on your running stroller.
In the meantime you can get started by walking with baby in the running stroller. I started walking with the running stroller when Little M was 4 months and running when he was nearly 6 months – but only along smooth surfaces and with our doctor’s go ahead.
2. Use a fixed wheel running stroller
Running strollers/buggies have lots of features that make them much safer to run with than an ordinary stroller. In particular they have large wheels, with either a fixed front wheel, or the ability to fix the front wheel. This ensures that the stroller moves along smoothly and will not suddenly jerk away in an unexpected direction if you hit a bump during your run. This means a safer and smoother ride for you and baby.
You can read my post ‘What to Look for in a Running Stroller’ for more detailed tips on features to look for in a running stroller.
3. Run at the best time for baby
Your run is going to be much more successful if you run when baby is rested, fed and ready to face the world! I made the mistake of attempting morning runs when I first started running with Little M, as I thought it would be a great way to start off the day. But we nearly always ran into his nap time, which was a disaster, as he got cranky! Fit your run in with a time that fits in with baby’s schedule best. Generally this means avoiding nap time and feeding/meal times. But if your baby is one of those that sleeps well on the go – then go for it! (Little M wasn’t!)
You might also consider breaking up a run with a stop at a playground or park to incorporate some play time for your child too. This works especially well with older babies or toddlers who don’t like to be sat down for too long.
4. Take supplies with you!
I always find with babies and small children – it’s best to be prepared! Don’t go crazy, but just pack anything that you might realistically need during your run – I have listed a few suggestions below, but this will of course vary depending on the length of your run, age of your baby, how long you are going to be out of the house etc…
You might like to take some of these:
- Water bottle – for yourself
- Water/milk for baby
- Snacks – for baby or you
- Couple of toys
With a toddler you may find you don’t need to take anything at all – especially for a short run. I only run for 30 minutes with Little M now (about the limit that he enjoys it for!) and he usually just picks a small toy car for the ride.
5. Be kind to yourself
It’s really important to start slowly, especially if this is your first high level exercise after having baby. Try to not have too high expectations of yourself to begin with. Start by walking and build up to short, slow jogs on smooth surfaces, until you feel comfortable to build up your speed and milage.
Even if you are an experienced runner and have already got back into the swing of running post-baby (well done you!) then it’s still important to start slowly. Running with a stroller is easy when you get used to it, but it’s harder than running solo (because you are pushing baby in a stroller!)
6. Watch your posture
When running with a stroller it can be easy to slouch your body forward whilst pushing, which can result in strains. Keep your body close to the stroller, look forwards (to where you are going!) and be careful to maintain a natural upright position – as you would when running alone. You can choose to run with one hand or both hands on the stroller (I prefer one hand.) Experiment with what feels best. If you use one hand make sure to alternate hands every so often.
7. Enjoy it!
Enjoy yourself and the opportunity to get out for some fresh air and exercise – an instant pick me up – all without having to get a babysitter! Your baby will also enjoy all the sights and sounds along the way.
As a stay at home mummy, who was a bit of a gym bunny pre-baby – the running stroller symbolised a sort of freedom for me, to be able to get out and feel ‘myself’ again, whilst also looking after my baby. Little M loved whizzing along as a baby and still loves it now! I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
Do you run with a stroller? Do you have any more tips to add?