I’ve gotten several questions regarding stroller jogging, so instead of repeating myself over and over, I decided I would give some insight into my experience with the jogging stroller in one nice, concise post. Please keep in mind that this is my experience and what worked for me + my baby might not work for your + yours.
I’m kind of embarrassed to say this but I did absolutely NO research when I decided on a jogging stroller. Last April, my cousin had a baby shower and she received a really nice looking jogging stroller. The carseat and carseat base came with the stroller, there was a ton of storage space, and there was an iPod adapter. It seemed absolutely perfect and after reading reviews + debating the price, I decided it was the right stroller for us.
So no, I am probably the only competitive runner on the planet who doesn’t own a BOB jogging stroller. Instead, I have a Baby Trend Expedition ELX. While I didn’t take it for a “test drive”, I love this stroller. The ride is smooth, it’s easy to turn, and it folds up easily to fit in the trunk of my little Toyota Corolla. The only problem I have had with it in 7 months is the tire coming off the frame (which I think was my fault after not hitting a curb quite right).
Yes, I chose purple because it’s my favorite color. And yes, I will use the same carseat + stroller if I ever have a boy…
My stroller costs right around $325. Yes, it’s expensive, but you’re not going to get a good jogging stroller that’s not expensive. But, what really sold me on it was the all-in-one aspect. For $325, not only did I get a really nice jogging stroller, but I got MacKenna’s carseat for the first year of life along with the base for the car. I didn’t have to buy a carseat converter so I could take her for a jog before she was able to sit up on her own. (The carseat just snaps right into the stroller, no need to buy an adapter.) I understand the draw to a BOB jogging stroller, but for me, it was too expensive. Now, if I happen to find a hand-me-down that’s relatively inexpensive, you better believe I’ll be all over that!
The first time I took MacKenna out in the stroller (with the carseat attachment) for an actual run was when she was about 5 weeks old. And it was probably one of the hardest runs in my entire running career. Pushing a jogging stroller with an 8 pound baby and a 15 pound carseat is no joke. It’s hard! But, I was determined to make it work because (1) I needed it to work for times when I didn’t have someone to watch her and (2) I really wanted that bonding experience running with her.
Luckily, at the time, I was still getting back into running and recovering from my C-section so I wasn’t going too fast or too far and taking lots of walking breaks. I really think that helped “break me in”. Just like starting off running, I needed that gradual buildup before it became “natural” (it’s still not natural, but lack of a better word).
One Hand or Two?
I think figuring out how to push the stroller is just as hard as the act of pushing it. I struggled at first to make this feel normal. When you’re used to running independently, it’s hard to get used to not having your arms propelling you forward. Plus, like I said, pushing the stroller is just plain hard, so at first I was pushing with both hands on the stroller. While it makes it easier to push and control the stroller, for me, it felt kind of awkward. I didn’t really start trying to push with just one hand until my 10 mile stroller run. After that, it’s been one hand all the way!
I mostly run with my left hand pushing, my right arm swinging. I put my hand toward the middle of the handle bar (is there a better name for that? I’m brain dead right now…) and steer that way. My hand gets super sweaty, which I hate, but I feel like having one hand free makes me run more naturally (key phrase of the day). Again, it’s really what feels comfortable for you. If you need 2 hands on at all times, then go for it!
No More Carseat
The question I get asked most about stroller running is when I started running with her in the stroller. Like I stated earlier, I started running with her in the carseat when she was 5 weeks old. Of course, I still tried to avoid big bumps as much as possible and made sure the seat was laying as far back as possible. But, now that she is able to sit up on her own (for the most part), I moved her into the regular part of the stroller.
There is much debate about when it’s OK to run with a baby in the jogging stroller. I have heard 6 months and 8 months. My theory: if your baby is able to sit up on her own, then they are ready to be in the big girl (or boy) stroller (just like baby-led weaning – BTW, Madeline wrote a great post about BLW yesterday)! However, you should ALWAYS check with your pediatrician before running with a baby in the jogging stroller, whether they are in the carseat or not.
I have to admit, it is MUCH easier to push the stroller without the carseat. Those 15 added pounds were a killer, and in fact, I had never had to put the front tire in the fixed position until after we took away the carseat. It just put enough pressure on the front tire to keep it from skidding out. Yeah, that was fun the first time without it. I’m glad I figured out how to fix that problem!
Dressing Baby for Running
One of the hardest things I’m still trying to figure out is how to dress MacKenna on a run. Most of the runs I do with the stroller are in the afternoon, which have been incredibly hot lately. In hot weather, I put her in the same kind of clothes that I wore during the day (NOT the same as what I’m wearing to go running – sometimes it’s the same, but not always, since I spend most of my day outside teaching), slather on sunscreen, and put a hat on her to shade her eyes. Unfortunately, she’s facing into the sun for half of the run with pretty much no shade, but she usually falls asleep.
As for cold weather, I’ve pretty much avoided it. On chilly Saturday mornings, I’ll keep her in her sleeper and cover her with a blanket. But, once we get back into colder fall + winter weather, I’m not sure if I’ll even take her out. It’s hard to tell what works when she can’t communicate if she’s too hot or too cold. My rule of thumb is to always dress her like I would dress for the weather and add a blanket that matches the weather (unless it’s 90 degrees or over out – then we usually hit the gym instead).
I hope I covered all my bases, but if you have any other questions regarding stroller running, I’d be more than happy to help! Again, I’m definitely not an expert – I’ve only been doing this for 6 months and still am learning as I go. I think we have a pretty good system going and I can’t wait to be doing almost all my runs with her in the stroller this summer!
Are you a stroller running mom? Any advice to give other moms or moms-to-be? What stroller do you use and would you recommend it?