Jogging strollers: Tips for running with small kids

There are few life events that can disrupt your normal training more profoundly than the addition of a baby to a family.

One of the first discoveries a new parent makes is that the exercise you once took for granted can be a major challenge to fit into your day. Jogging strollers those big-wheeled contraptions you see flying down the road holding a sublime, often sleeping baby, and a temporarily liberated parent running behind are the answer for many parents who wouldnt consider giving up their cherished run.

Here are some tips for those interested in jogging strollers.

1. Purchase a high-quality stroller. Do not sacrifice budget for stability. Your stroller should not tip at all on turns. Look for a seat that holds your baby deep down in its hammock-like seat with a sturdy seat belt. Two-seaters are also available.

Safety features you need include a locking brake, grip material that wont turn slippery when your hands are sweaty, and a wrist strap to prevent a runaway stroller.

2. Its a very good idea, although you may feel a bit silly, to take a test drive without your baby. You need to get used to the new mechanics of running behind your stroller.

Think of your route in terms of its effect on your babys ride. Never use the stroller at night it just isnt safe. Stick to familiar routes and think about unexpected obstacles, like car doors, bicycles, potholes, and dogs.

3. Never take your hands off the stroller. The jogging stroller is designed to roll with as little resistance as possible, making it very easy for it to get away from you.

4. When your baby is young (under 1 year) choose smooth surfaces to keep shaking to a minimum. It makes a lot of sense to use a bicycle helmet for your baby your jogging stroller is not the same as a baby carriage. Head injuries can occur at running speeds, just like they occur at biking speeds.

5. Dont forget to consider your babys exposure to the elements. Use sunscreen and hats to block the sun (even in non-summer months). Use extra clothes in cold and damp weather. Remember, your baby isnt generating any extra body heat and he has the wind created by your speed to deal with.

6. Remember to be considerate of other runners. Give a wide berth when approaching or passing other runners. Check the rules before you enter a race most races wont allow strollers.

7. Dont let your guard down on safety. Although the jogging stroller provides a convenient way for you to get out the door and run, the advantages dont come without risks to your infant. Stay vigilant and your exercise can be satisfying and safe for both you and your new companion.

(The Physician and Sportsmedicine, 1998, Vol. 26, No. 11, pp. 75-76)
Copyright, The American Running Association.

Search Active and register online for an event in your area!

Get fit with top coaches! Check out Training Bible

Discuss This Article