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Can a Jogging Stroller Be a Training Advantage?

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We’ve all seen them out on the sidewalks and running trails. The jogging stroller. Why the word jogging is the term used is lost on me. Most people actually running any measurable distance with a jogging stroller are runners. The thoughts crossing people’s minds when they see a fellow runner with one depends on stage of life.  Anyone who didn’t have the option of a jogging stroller thinks one of two things: “Glad I didn’t have one of those when my kids were little, or I would never get some peace!” or “No jogging stroller means no run.”

Anyone who’s ever used one has a love/hate relationship with their own stroller depending on their method of incorporation. And any runner who sees kids in the near or even far distant future are intrigued, curious and a bit trepidatious.

U.S. Air Force photo/ Heide Couch

The opinions are split entirely down the middle on the like or dislike but there is no question that pushing a tot on a regular basis can add speed and strength.  Misconceptions and incorrect ways to incorporate the stroller into running ruin the benefit for some. It can be a great training and recovery tool if used appropriately.

Realistic Expectations

The expectations you need to set should take into consideration your current position.  If you are the daddy and didn’t give birth but are working on little sleep, your base begins at any entirely different place from the mommy who had a cesarean birth.  Running your normal pace will not happen out of the gate and might not ever happen, unless you are exert a considerable amount more effort. For most 30-45 seconds slower than a non-stroller mile is the norm and is expected. The stroller weighs anywhere from 20-27 pounds, plus the weight of an infant carrier for babies or the weight of an older baby/child that has transitioned to sitting in the stroller alone.  While it’s not the same as physically placing that weight on your body, your body is affected.  You no longer have both arms to propel you. Your legs are going to be getting a heavier workout.

And like many situations, a kid can throw a wrench in anything and that includes a fun stroller run you are planning on taking them on. If possible, have a backup plan. Run later when someone can watch your bundle of joy should things head south.  And never take a child on a run that is an absolute must.

Stroll From Day One

For some moms, this is the day once you are released by your doctor after you gave birth and you are eager to go for a run. For others the first day is when you feel like you can actually get all your ducks in a row to go on a run.

For those thinking it’s a good idea to push the stroller around for a while without the kid there is no point.  The weight and feel of a sleeping angel or a wiggle worm cannot be duplicated. Starting when your child is young will allow you and your child to get used to the stroller.  Also for moms are returning to running after giving birth and are seeking their former glory, a stroller will help prevent you from pushing to hard and forces you to build up again slowly.


New strollers are so well designed they almost glide and can be moved with a finger.  But just remember: You control the stroller. The stroller does not control you. Running in your natural form will allow your power to come from your legs.

A common mistake it to hold on with both hands. That would be like running on a treadmill hanging on with both hands.   Alternating a light hand on the handles bars will suffice (unless going downhill, then slow down and use both hands) while maintaining a comfortable form. Do not compromise your form because the stroller is in front of you. You’ll only get injured. Focusing on natural form and a light upper body is going to build strength in your quadricep muscles like no lunge ever will.

Safety for All

There are safe ways and unsafe ways to use any jogging stroller. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Always, always, always secure your child in as the stroller or infant carrier manufacturer recommends.  Be sure that the infant carrier is used with the brand specific stroller adapter.
  • Carry your phone. Sounds like common sense. But being 5 miles from home when a storm pops up and you are by yourself is one thing.  But when you have a tot? It’s a minor crisis. As runners flat tires are not something that cross our minds on runs, which is another reason to make sure you have a fully charged phone with you.
  • Carry water for yourself and your mini.  Both of you need water on any run lasting longer than 25 minutes.
  • Take into account the tempature and weather. You’ll be moving but your tot won’t which means they will be cooler on a cold day and young ones have trouble regulating their temperature.  With that in mind, really hot days need to skipped. Also, take advantage of the shade on warmer days while ensuring proper ventilation.

Once a mom is cleared, running with the stroller is safe and a fantastic way to accelerate the road to recovery. For both parents, nannies or other regular caretaker pushing a stroller can make runs without the stroller better, faster and easier than before.  The added weight resistant and focus on form cannot be duplicated. You might even find yourself still pushing one after your favorite tot outgrows it.

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