parent running with stroller in park

Running with a Stroller: Tips for Parents on the Move

Running with a stroller might seem daunting at first, but with the right tips and preparation, it can be a rewarding experience for both you and your child. Not only does it allow you to get back into your fitness routine, but it also provides a wonderful opportunity to bond with your little one while enjoying the outdoors. This article will guide you through essential tips and strategies to make stroller running a safe and enjoyable activity.

Key Takeaways

  • Choose the right jogging stroller with essential features such as good suspension and a lockable front wheel.
  • Always perform a pre-run safety check to ensure both your child and the stroller are secure.
  • Start with short runs and gradually build up your distance to allow your body to adapt.
  • Maintain proper running form, paying attention to your posture, stride, and hand positioning.
  • Plan your route to include stroller-friendly paths and avoid high-traffic areas for a safer run.

Choosing the Perfect Jogging Stroller

Features to Look For

When choosing a jogging stroller, it's important to look for features that ensure a smooth and safe ride for both you and your baby. A locking front wheel is essential for stability during your run. Additionally, consider a stroller with a suspension system to absorb shocks and provide a comfortable ride for your child. Don't forget to check for a bar between the wheels to prevent tripping.

Top Brands to Consider

There are several top brands that parents swear by when it comes to jogging strollers. Some of the most popular options include:

  • Thule Urban Glide 3 Stroller
  • UPPAbaby RIDGE Jogging Stroller
  • Thule Urban Glide 3 Double Stroller

These brands are known for their durability, ease of use, and overall performance.

Budget-Friendly Options

Jogging strollers can be quite pricey, often starting at around $300. However, there are budget-friendly options available that still offer great features. Keep an eye out for sales or consider buying a gently used stroller to save some money. Remember, the key is to find a stroller that fits your lifestyle and meets your running needs.

Safety First: Pre-Run Checklist

Securing Your Child

Before you head out, make sure your child is securely strapped in. Double-check the harness to ensure it's snug but comfortable. Check on their head position and neck support. Once you're moving, peek through the sun canopy window to keep an eye on them.

Inspecting the Stroller

  • Check the tires. Make sure they're full of air to avoid veering sideways or a flat tire that could lead to a collision.
  • Tighten the screws. Over time, screws on the wheels can loosen, making the stroller unsafe.
  • Bring a mini diaper bag. Always have wipes, diapers, and other essentials in the stroller's storage.

Weather Considerations

Stock up on essentials like sunscreen, extra layers, and a change of clothes for your baby. Even if you're using the sunshade, both you and your baby will need sunscreen. Don't forget to bring water and snacks for yourself to stay hydrated and energized.

Getting Started: Easing Into Stroller Running

Starting with Short Runs

When you're new to stroller running, it's crucial to start with shorter runs. This allows your body to adapt to the new biomechanics involved in pushing a stroller. Aim for a couple of days per week initially, and gradually increase the duration and frequency as you become more comfortable.

Building Up Gradually

Think of stroller running like any new training plan. Gradually build up your stamina and strength. This approach helps reduce the risk of injury and ensures that both you and your child enjoy the experience. Remember, it's not about speed; it's about getting used to the new routine.

Listening to Your Body

Your body will give you signals about how it's coping with the new activity. Pay attention to these cues. If you feel any discomfort or pain, take a break and assess what might be causing it. Listening to your body is key to a sustainable and enjoyable stroller running routine.

Perfecting Your Running Form

Posture Tips

When running with a stroller, maintaining proper posture is crucial. Find the right fit by adjusting the stroller handle to the appropriate height so you don't have to hunch over. Keep your core tight and engaged by squeezing your abdominals, which helps avoid an uneven stride that can strain your hips and lower back.

Stride Adjustments

Your stride will naturally change when pushing a stroller. To reduce the chance of injury, go slowly and let your body adapt to the new form. You won't be swinging your arms as much, so focus on shorter, quicker steps to maintain balance and control.

Hand Positioning

Hand positioning is key for comfort and efficiency. Alternate between one-handed and two-handed pushing to give your arms a break. When using one hand, let the other arm swing naturally to help maintain your running rhythm. Remember, it's all about finding a balance that works for you.

Planning Your Route

Finding Stroller-Friendly Paths

When planning your route, it's best to stick with flat surfaces as much as possible. Uneven surfaces, like hills, present added challenges, such as pushing the stroller against gravity. Consider running on paths, sidewalks, or in parks that are closed to vehicular traffic. This will ensure a safer and more enjoyable run for both you and your child.

Avoiding High Traffic Areas

Traffic can be a major concern when jogging with a stroller. Try to limit the number of intersections or street crossings you have to navigate on your run. Opt for routes that are less crowded and have fewer cars. This not only keeps you and your child safe but also makes for a more pleasant running experience.

Incorporating Scenic Routes

Running doesn't have to be all about exercise; it can also be a time to enjoy the outdoors. Incorporate scenic routes into your runs to make them more enjoyable. Parks, waterfronts, and nature trails can provide beautiful backdrops and make the run feel less like a workout and more like an adventure. Scenic routes can also be more stimulating for your little one, keeping them entertained throughout the run.

Staying Motivated

Setting Realistic Goals

Setting achievable goals is crucial for staying motivated. Start with small, manageable targets and gradually increase them as you get more comfortable. Remember, it's not about speed; it's about consistency. Celebrate your milestones, no matter how small they may seem.

Tracking Your Progress

Keeping track of your runs can be a great motivator. Use a running app or a simple journal to log your distances and times. Seeing your progress over time can be incredibly rewarding and can help you stay committed to your routine.

Joining a Running Group

Running with others can provide a much-needed boost of motivation. Look for local running groups or online communities of parents who run with strollers. Sharing your experiences and challenges with others can make the journey more enjoyable and less isolating.

Entertaining Your Little One

Toys and Snacks

While I know some parents shy away from too much screen time for their little ones, I love running and I want to make this an enjoyable experience for my son. As we head out, he starts off looking at the scenery and taking in the surroundings of mommy pushing him in the stroller. Inevitably, though, he will get bored. The toys I pack are able to distract him from the boredom and avoid complaints too soon into the run.

We know to pack the basics: diapers and wipes (you usually can’t avoid a potty trip), pacifier (depending on age), snacks (keeping liquids in a closable cup/bottle and food), and a light jacket (in case of a weather change). Additionally, you’ll need toys, electronic devices/games and/or books that you know will keep your child busy. I allow my son to read a book that’s little and light while running or we take the iPad along for him to watch Youtube Kids.

Interactive Games

One of the most successful things I have tried is variations of the game “I spy.” They can play with me or each other. No matter where you are running, there is so much to see, and nothing is more magical than the innocent wonder children have for the world. So tune into that, and use your runs to start showing them the magical things just in view from their stroller seat.

Music and Audiobooks

Check in with the child frequently. Check in on the child to make sure they're comfortable as you run. After all, the child is sitting rather than working up a sweat (and they don't get the benefit of exercise-induced endorphins, either). Make it fun by talking, singing and pointing out the various things you see around you. While you may be used to sprinting through a run, make sure to keep it enjoyable for your little one by incorporating music and audiobooks they love.

Handling Different Terrains

Running on Pavement

Running on pavement is the most common terrain for stroller running. It's generally smooth and predictable, making it easier to maintain a steady pace. Make sure your stroller has good suspension to absorb the impact and keep your child comfortable. Always be mindful of cracks and uneven surfaces to avoid any mishaps.

Tackling Trails

Trail running can be a thrilling experience, but it comes with its own set of challenges. All-terrain strollers are specifically designed with features like wide, high-traction tires to tolerate stones, roots, and other natural debris. Start with well-known, stroller-friendly trails and gradually move to more challenging paths as you gain confidence.

Beach and Sand Running

Running on the beach can be a great workout, but it's also one of the most challenging terrains. The loose sand requires more effort to push the stroller, and you may need to deflate the tires slightly for better traction. Consider running closer to the water where the sand is firmer, but be cautious of waves and wet conditions. Always rinse off your stroller afterward to remove any sand and salt.

Post-Run Recovery

Stretching Exercises

After a run, it's crucial to stretch your muscles to prevent stiffness and soreness. Focus on your legs, back, and shoulders. Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds to get the full benefit. Don't forget to breathe deeply and relax into each stretch.

Hydration Tips

Staying hydrated is key to a good recovery. Drink water or a sports drink within 30 minutes of finishing your run. If you're breastfeeding, you might need extra fluids. Listen to your body and drink when you're thirsty.

Caring for Sore Muscles

If you feel any imbalances or new pains, address them immediately. Use ice packs or take a warm bath to soothe sore muscles. A foam roller can also be a great tool for massaging tight areas. Trust me, it's better to be proactive with your recovery than to push through the pain and risk injury.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Overloading the Stroller

It's tempting to bring everything you might need, but overloading the stroller can make it harder to maneuver and even unsafe. Stick to the essentials: a mini diaper bag, some snacks, and a few toys. Remember, less is more!

Ignoring Maintenance

Just like your running shoes, your stroller needs regular maintenance. Check the tires, brakes, and harnesses frequently. A well-maintained stroller ensures a smoother and safer run for both you and your child.

Pushing Too Hard Too Soon

It's easy to get excited and want to hit your usual pace right away, but pushing too hard too soon can lead to burnout or injury. Start slow and build up your stamina gradually. Listen to your body and take breaks when needed. Your long-term success depends on it.

Balancing Fitness and Family Time

Involving Your Partner

Running doesn't have to be a solo activity. Involve your partner by scheduling runs together. This not only helps you both stay fit but also strengthens your relationship. You can take turns pushing the stroller, giving each other a break and making the run more enjoyable. Teamwork makes the dream work!

Scheduling Runs

Finding the right time to run can be tricky, especially with a busy family schedule. Try to plan your runs around your child's nap times or early in the morning before the day gets hectic. Consistency is key, so make a weekly schedule and stick to it. Flexibility is important, but having a routine helps everyone know what to expect.

Making It Fun for Everyone

Running with a stroller can be a fun family activity. Bring along toys or snacks to keep your little one entertained. You can even turn your run into a mini-adventure by exploring new routes or parks. The goal is to make the experience enjoyable for everyone, so don't be afraid to mix things up and keep it exciting.


Running with a stroller can be a game-changer for parents who want to stay active while spending quality time with their little ones. Sure, it might seem challenging at first, but with the right gear, a bit of planning, and some patience, you'll find your stride in no time. Remember to ease into it, stay alert, and most importantly, enjoy the journey. Whether you're a seasoned runner or just starting out, these tips can help make your stroller runs safer and more enjoyable. So, lace up those running shoes, buckle up your kiddo, and hit the pavement. Happy running!

Frequently Asked Questions

When can I start running with my baby in a stroller?

It's generally recommended to wait until your baby is at least 6-8 months old and has strong neck control before running with them in a stroller.

What features should I look for in a jogging stroller?

Look for features like a fixed front wheel, good suspension, a hand brake, and a five-point harness for safety.

How do I keep my child entertained during the run?

Bring along toys, snacks, and even play music or audiobooks to keep your child engaged and entertained.

Is it safe to run with a stroller in all weather conditions?

It's best to avoid extreme weather conditions. Always check the weather forecast and dress your child appropriately for the temperature.

How can I ensure my child’s safety while running?

Make sure your child is securely strapped in with a five-point harness, and always use the wrist strap to prevent the stroller from getting away from you.

What should I do if I encounter rough terrain?

Slow down and be cautious. If the terrain is too rough, it might be best to walk instead of run to ensure both your safety and your child’s comfort.

How do I maintain my jogging stroller?

Regularly check the tires, brakes, and harness. Clean the stroller periodically and store it in a dry place to prevent rust and wear.

Can running with a stroller help me get back in shape post-pregnancy?

Yes, running with a stroller can be a great way to get back in shape, but start slowly and listen to your body to avoid overexertion.

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