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Running with Strollers: Tips for Beginners

By YWCA Minneapolis Women's Triathlon
May 18, 2018
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Keeping up with your regular running routine can be a challenge if you have little ones. For new moms and dads out there, we talked with Nicole Hessels, Vice President of Health and Wellness (and mom of two boys under the age of five), for tips on how to choose a running stroller, how to keep children entertained while running, using correct posture and more.

How do you pick a running stroller? What features are useful?

I have run with three different strollers: City Mini, Phil and Teds and Bob. In my experience, the best stroller is the Bob – it is ergonomically correct and provides a smooth ride for both the runner and rider. I also love all of the storage to hold water, snacks and extra clothes. Unfortunately, it is also the most expensive. However, the City Mini and Phil and Teds models are cheaper and easier to travel with. These are great if you are on vacation and need to get in a quick two or three miles.

What gear do you need? Do the children need windproof or waterproof gear?

I always have an extra pair of clothes and layers if the children get cold. All the strollers mentioned above have a sun and wind shade. If you are someone who will run in all weather conditions I would encourage packing a rain cover to keep the children dry. The great thing about jogging strollers is all the extra space for storage.

How do you keep a child entertained while you run?

Some people recommend scheduling your runs during nap time, but I disagree. This has always been a time for adventure and make-believe for the boys and me. I have noticed that if I make running about all of us, they are more excited to come along. We look for wild animals like deer, squirrels or birds. We also play pretend, imagining we are in the rainforest looking for monkeys high up in the trees or running from pirates back to our ship with our buried treasure. The boys yell, “Faster Mommy!” for some extra motivation.

Is it good resistance training to run with a stroller? Will pushing a heavy stroller make you a faster runner?

Running with the jogging stroller is the hardest workout of the week. Running without your arms, while pushing a sled on wheels, which weighs 60 pounds is a butt-kicker! I have noticed improvements in speed and hamstring glute strength.

Is it ok to run up and down hills?

After a while, yes, but probably take some time to work up to it. Your stroller and child can be quite heavy altogether, making it a serious challenge to push uphill. Start with short or low hills to build up your strength and keep your steps short. On a steep downhill, your stroller can easily pull away from you. Stay in control and keep the stroller tight to your body on a descent.

What else should I do to stay safe while jogging with a stroller?

Stay on sidewalks if it is a busy street. Wear reflective gear and a flashing light at dusk or dawn. Use a safety strap or always keep one hand on the handlebar.

How do you make time to go for a run while juggling parenthood, work and a social life?

I always try to remember that when I exercise and take care of myself, I am a better mom. When I include my kids in my exercise routine, it takes on new meaning. Sharing adventures together like running to the park, a friend’s house or even to the grocery store are easy ways to burn calories and spend time together. We sing, play pretend, laugh and enjoy the outdoors.

Any other tips for getting started with a jogging stroller?

Take it slow. Don’t be too hard on yourself. I found that I run three minutes slower per mile with the jogging stroller. I also never run up hills. It pushes me too quickly, and then I am out of steam for the remainder of the workout.

    • Keep good posture.
    • Chest up and allow oxygen in.
    • Keep your toes pointed forward.
    • Relax your shoulders and push with your whole body, not your arms.
    • If something starts to hurt, slow down and focus on posture.