When I started jogging again after having my son, I got so bored of pushing a stroller day in and day out. Somehow it seemed that pushing a stroller made running feel even more mundane than it did before! (I didn’t know that was possible…) So, my husband and I decided to get creative and come up with some unique stroller workouts to mix things up! They’ve helped us enjoy running with a stroller again and hopefully they do the same for you!
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Benefits of Jogging with a Baby
Jogging while pushing a stroller may not sound very beneficial, but it will actually tone your body faster than running on your own without one! Running while pushing a stroller tones and strengthens both your core and your upper body, while regular running doesn’t! You will also burn a few extra calories to help get rid of any remaining baby weight you might have. Jogging with your baby is a great way to get both of you outside and get some fresh air!
When to Start Jogging with a Baby
Experts recommend that you not put your baby in a jogging stroller with the harness until they are six months old. This recommendation is based on the average age children are when they can begin to support their head and neck safely, since you may hit a bump every once in a while. If you want to begin running as soon as your doctor clears you for exercise, you will need to purchase a travel system jogging stroller. A travel system jogger will allow you to lock in your child’s car seat rear facing to help provide them with adequate head and neck support. However, since every child is different, I recommend that you talk with your doctor to make sure you choose the best option for you and your child.
Do You Really Need a Jogging Stroller?
The short answer is yes, you definitely need to purchase a jogging stroller if you plan to go jogging with your baby. Jogging strollers have a suspension system and shocks built for higher level impact that keep your baby safe and comfortable. These aspects are missing in standard strollers, making them dangerous and jolting for babies.
What to Look for in a Jogging Stroller
- 5-point harness– This is important to keep your baby secured in the stroller for any possible bumps in the road.
- Travel system– If you plan to run with your baby before they are six months old, make sure to purchase a jogger travel system that can attach a car seat. We own and love the Graco Fast Action Fold System! You can check out a review and my full thoughts on this stroller at the end of this article!
- Weight/height limits– Every jogging stroller has a different weight and height limit. Make sure to check this beforehand to make sure that you are getting as much use from your stroller as possible.
- Stroller’s weight & size– Make sure to look into the weight of the stroller itself, especially if you plan to use it as your day to day stroller. Many jogging strollers can be very bulky and heavy! The weight and size should both be listed on the box if you are looking in store and on the listing if you are looking online. Make sure that whatever stroller you choose will be an adequate weight for your runs and an adequate size for wherever you plan to store it.
- Braking- Check that the stroller has a parking brake for when the stroller is not in motion. Some strollers also have an additional braking system for when you are going down hills. If you live somewhere that is very hilly, this is definitely something to consider.
- Handlebar Height– Consider the height of everyone that will be using the stroller and the height of the handlebar. Some jogging strollers have adjustable handles too.
- Storage Space– This is especially important if you plan to go on long runs or use your stroller on a daily basis. You’ll need space for toys, sippy cups, pacifiers, etc.
- Tether– Some jogging strollers come with a tether strap to make sure that you don’t lose control of the child while you are running. I personally like to switch hands and don’t live in a very hilly area, so I chose a stroller without one. However, if you like the idea of a tether and the stroller you like doesn’t have one, you can always purchase a tether to add to your stroller.
- Fixed vs. Swivel Front Wheel– A fixed wheel provides stability at higher speeds while a swivel wheel could turn too much and cause the stroller to fall over. Many jogging strollers will allow you to lock the front wheel straight or leave it as a swivel wheel. Whether or not you want a swivel wheel or fixed wheel will depend on where you will be running and if your jogging stroller will be your every day stroller.
- Child Seat Positioning– Since movement equals sleep for many kids, it’s extremely helpful to have an adjustable child seat in your jogger. A seat that reclines is perfect for naps.
Jogging with a Baby in Hot/Cold Weather
When you’re running on your own, you can brave almost any type of weather, but with little ones you’ll need to take some extra precautions depending on the type of weather. Here are a few ways we’ve managed to run during every season with a little one.
If it is raining, only go out if your baby can be fully covered and kept dry. Many travel systems with infant car seats will allow you to fully cover your baby in the rain. Also be sure that there is no thunder or lightning, since you are in fact pushing a giant hunk of metal. Make sure to head home if you ever see any lightning or hear thunder on your run.
If it is hot out, make sure to bring along a stroller fan to keep your baby cool. You should avoid going out with your baby if the temperature exceeds 90 degrees. If your baby cannot be fully shaded in your stroller, also be sure to purchase them a sun hat and a baby safe sunscreen to protect their extra sensitive skin.
Believe it or not, it is possible to continue running with a baby in the winter time. However, if it dips below freezing or there are severe winds, you should avoid going out running with them that day. On the other days that it is warm enough, I recommend putting your child in layers with a one piece warm suit that has feet, fold over mittens, and a hood on top. Having a warm one piece on top keeps the wind away from skin. In addition to a one piece fleece suit, a footmuff (essentially a sleeping bag for the stroller) is an awesome way to keep your baby warm and not have the blanket constantly falling out of the stroller.
4 Unique Partner Stroller Workouts
Please note that these workouts do require you to have a running partner. I run with my husband, but if your husband doesn’t like to run, find a friend to run with or make a new running friend. Many areas have stroller running clubs for moms too!
Each of these workouts also requires that you find a loop near your home that is around .25 to a .5 mile. A track works well, but you can also just use a loop around your neighborhood! Doing a loop around the neighborhood is also beneficial in case your baby has a meltdown!
1. Stroller Relay
A stroller relay may not sound like much but it is actually a very challenging, yet fun partner workout. Each time you return back to the stroller, you get spurred on by your partner and pushed to go even harder the next run!
- Find a relatively flat quarter mile to half mile loop.
- Put one person in control of the stroller and designate the other as the first runner.
- Next, pick your turn around points. My husband and I use either intersections or stop signs as our turn around points. Depending on where you are running you may be able to use something else such as trees. That is totally up to you. If you choose to do this exercise on a track you could also use the corners of the track as your turn arounds.
- You will both begin at the same time. The person with the stroller will begin walking at a medium walking pace (about 20 minute mile pace). The person without the stroller, the designated runner, will start running in the same direction as the person walking.
- Let’s say you chose stop signs as your turn around points. So, the runner will go to the first stop sign they see and then quickly turn around and run back towards the stroller. They will run until they reach the stroller and then once again run back to the stop sign. They will run back and forth until the person pushing the stroller reaches that stop sign. They will then move onto the next turn around point (a stop sign in this case) and do the same thing as they did on the first.
- The runner will do this for the whole loop that you chose until you reach the point where you started. Then, you will switch roles. The walker becomes the runner and the runner becomes the walker.
- You can choose to complete this exercise as many times as you feel is right for you and your fitness level.
2. Stroller Tug of War
Stroller tug of war is a really fun way to get out jogging with a baby and still have fun. It’s competitive and super motivating to get you out there running again!
- Find a relatively flat quarter mile to half mile loop.
- Put one person in charge of the stroller. They will begin as the walker, walking at an average 20 minute mile pace. The other person will start as the runner, without the stroller, running at whatever pace is comfortable for them.
- Determine how many rounds of this exercise you will do before beginning (make sure to read everything first). We usually do 3-5 rounds. The number of rounds will also depend on how large a loop you choose to run.
- Note where you start on the loop before you begin running.
- Both will begin at the same time. The walker will begin walking in one direction on the loop while the runner runs in the other direction.
- Once the runner reaches the stroller on the loop, switch places. Make sure that you continue going the same direction you went before. (You will have to turn the stroller around if you were previously the runner becoming the walker.)
- Both proceed in those directions until you meet again on the loop. Then switch again.
- Continue switching places until you have done this exercise for the chosen amount of times.
- Look around again at the end and note where you’re at. See who gained the most ground. For those of us who are competitive, we like to call this person the winner of this workout.
3. Stroller Indian Runs
This one is easiest to do on a track if you have access to one. If you are looking for a challenge, this one is it. It’s also extremely motivating because the faster you run, the less distance you have to cover!
- Find a relatively flat quarter mile or half mile loop, a track is ideal.
- Put one person in charge of the stroller. They will begin as the walker, walking at an average 20 minute mile pace. The other person will start as the runner, without the stroller.
- Choose how many rounds each person will complete. The runner will likely complete about one and half times the distance of the loop chosen with each round. For example, if you choose a half mile loop, the runner will probably have to run three quarters of a mile to catch back up to the walker with the stroller.
- At the same time and going in the same direction, the walker will begin walking with the stroller and the runner will begin running. Both will follow the path of the designated loop.
- The runner will slowly gain ground on the walker and will gain ground more quickly the faster they run. Once the runner completes the loop and catches back up to the stroller, the runner begins walking with the stroller and the walker runs out in front to begin their lap.
- Alternate until you complete the amount of rounds you decided on.
- Be super proud of yourself cause this one is hard!
4. Stroller Sharing
Running two, three, four or however many miles while pushing a stroller by yourself can get very boring and is also very difficult! Sharing a stroller run with somebody else makes it feel far more doable for both people!
- Decide how many miles you want to run. This distance will be completely straight through without breaks, so choose a distance that is appropriate for your fitness level.
- Choose what distance you want to run before switching who has the stroller. My husband and I usually do either a quarter mile or a half mile. If it is a very hilly area, I suggest a quarter mile! However, if you don’t have a running watch that will track your distance, you can just as easily do this with time intervals!
- Begin running together, one with the stroller and one without. Whoever has the stroller gets to pick where you go and set the pace.
- After you’ve reached the quarter or half mile (whatever you decided on in step two) the stroller is handed off to the other person. They now get to choose where to turn and what pace to run at.
- Continue alternating at these intervals until you reach the amount of miles you wanted to run.
My Honest Review of the Graco Fast Action Fold Jogger Travel System
The Graco Fast Action Fold Jogger Travel System is a great option for a quality jogging travel system at an affordable price! I have been very pleased with it overall! However, it does have some cons if you plant o use it as a day to day stroller. I’ve outlined all my favorite parts and my non-so favorite parts of this stroller below!
- The five point harness gives me peace of mind that my child is safe while I’m running.
- Has a lockable front wheel (can either swivel or be locked straight)
- The reclining seat makes nap time during runs a whole lot easier
- It folds super easily with one hand and the kick stand makes it super convenient.
- The storage pocket below fits quite a bit of stuff.
- Even though I’m 5’5″ and my husband is 6′ we both feel the handlebar is at a comfortable height. (however it is not adjustable)
- Having the infant car seat snap in makes it possible to use this stroller with both newborns and toddlers!
- It has an excellent suspension system!
- I love the infant car seat that it comes with! It even comes with the base to get it in and out of the car quickly!
- It was one of the most affordable travel systems I found in all my research.
- Graco has REALLY good customer service. I called them because my wheel got bent and they sent me an entirely new stroller for free!
- It’s on the smaller side for a jogging stroller, but the bigger side for the day to day stroller. It sometimes got frustrating to have it take up most of my car’s trunk.
- There is a holder near the handle that is supposed to hold your phone, but it does not fit either of our phones. It probably would only fit something as small as an Iphone 4…hopefully they update this soon.
- The cupholders are a little bit small. They really only fit a standard size plastic water bottle. However, if you have a leak proof water bottle, it can always be thrown in the bottom storage of the stroller.
- I also use this stroller as my day to day stroller. While it isn’t too large for stores, the front wheel can be hard to maneuver in stores. It often gets twisted if you try to back up at all without the wheel locked. I usually have to pop the stroller up on the back two wheels to maneuver it around stores.
Jogging with a baby can feel unmanageable and frustrating at first, but it really doesn’t have to be! I hope these different stroller workouts allow you to enjoy jogging with your baby again!