Welcome back to Workout Wednesday!
Q: What about stroller running?
A:Well, lots about stroller running. First of all, you should know where I’m coming from, as far as my experience with this topic.
I run with the BOB Revolution. When I was pregnant with Sweet Pea, I asked around and found that every running parent I talked to preferred the BOB over any other jogging stroller, despite the high price tag. I confess, I chose our carseat in large part because it was compatible with the BOB stroller.
From the time Sweet Pea was about 2 months old until I got pregnant with Lady Bug (about a year and a half), I ran with the BOB about once a week, usually no more than four miles. Once in a while I would run 6 miles with Sweet Pea in the BOB, but that was my max. With Lady Bug, I take it for a run about once a week, using the infant seat adapter.
I love the way this stroller handles and I love the cargo space it offers for when I combine a walk or a run with with an errand. However, my love for the stroller itself can never outweigh my love for running unencumbered. I didn’t give much thought to the purchase of a double running stroller when I was pregnant, and since Lady Bug was born, I have not once wished I had one. Granted, it’s only been eleven weeks, but I just don’t want to push two kids in a stroller. I would much rather get up very early to go by myself or use the treadmill while they are sleeping.
1) By taking a kid with me in the stroller, I can get my run in without having to negotiate with Dan. This is the ONLY time when my running actually makes Dan’s life easier. For anyone in a relationship with their baby daddy (or baby mama) this is awesome!
2) I get to do something for myself while spending time with my kid. For anyone who struggles with guilt about taking time for herself (Yes, ladies, I’m talking to you. I don’t think dudes deal with this. Dudes? Correct me if I’m wrong, please).
3) A chance for your kiddo to understand the value you place on fitness, taking care of yourself, and enjoying the outdoors. Just because your little one is yelling for Goldfish doesn’t mean he or she is isn’t absorbing some important life lessons. At least that’s what I tell myself.
4) Your kid gives you an excuse to be silly while you run. If I’m running with the baby, she’s in the infant seat facing me, and I can make silly faces at her to try to get her to smile while I’m running. If I’m running with Sweet Pea, who sits in the regular seat, I can tap the shade or reach down and tap her on the back of her head to get her to giggle.
5) The stroller is a great place to store cast off layers, layers you might possibly need later, a pair of gloves you were debating, and a water bottle for when you get thirsty. It’s like running with your very own mobile storage locker.
5) You could stop at the store and pick up a few essentials. The stroller has space for eggs, milk, bread, and a bottle of wine or two. Talk about multi-tasking- Exercise, time with your kid, and grocery shopping all in one. BOOM.
6) It’s a really challenging workout that engages your upper body, too. Pushing a stroller up a hill will really make you feel like a beast. Also, you will feel light on your feet and so energized when you run sans stroller.
7) If you want to run with someone whose pace is grossly different from your own, have the faster person run with the stroller. Voila, instant handicap!
1) Taking your kid on a run means, by definition, your run cannot give you time to yourself. You’re probably going to be re-tucking the blanket, retrieving snacks, and picking stray socks off the sidewalk if you bring a child on your run. Sweet Pea once kicked her brand new shoe off during a night run. It was dark, the shoe had a velcro closure, and I never saw it again.
2) Stroller running is really hard. Of course, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing… hard work builds character, it can boost your fitness , improve your confidence, blah blah blah. Try and remember that when you are pushing a stroller plus 20 pounds of kid up a hill! You know those runs, where your feet are light and you feel you could run forever? Those don’t happen so much when you’re pushing a stroller.
3) Taking a stroller can limit your options as far as your route. I am lucky to live in a neighborhood that is adjacent to a bike path and a long-ish, quiet country road with decent pavement, both of which are great for stroller running. I avoid running on sidewalks with the BOB, as they can be narrow, they might be obstructed by bushes sticking out of peoples’ landscaping, or have uneven pavement. I also avoid running on trails with the BOB, because parts can be too narrow for the BOB. One of my trail routes has a foot bridge that is basically a 6 inch wide piece of plywood. I would hate to have to maneuver the stroller over that.
Stroller running interferes with your gait, especially your arm swing. This can have ill effects ranging from annoying, to inefficient, to injury-inducing. While some people have no problem logging lots of miles with a running stroller, most of us mortals will struggle to remain injury-free with a routine that includes lots of stroller running. My advice would be to ramp up the stroller running very gradually, so you can back off at the first sign of any issues, thereby minimizing the risk of injury.
What has been your experience with stroller running? Is there anything I failed to mention?