You have a brilliant new stroller and are excited to run with your little one.
You take a look at your training plan and see paces, but you find yourself wondering how to adjust for the days you’re pushing a stroller. Is there an exact formula that can tell you what you are capable of that day?
The short answer—and the long answer—is NO, there is no formula. There are too many variables to come up with an accurate, across-the-board pace conversion for stroller running, but don’t let that stop you from doing it!
Here are some of the factors to consider when looking at your pace:
Weight of the child: A baby who weighs 20 pounds is going to be easier to push than a 40-pound toddler.
Height of the child as related to how much they weigh: Pushing a 50-pound 5-year-old will likely be harder than pushing 50-pound 7-year-old who is taller. It’s about weight distribution. Both of my sons weigh the same, yet when I pick up my soon to be 8-year-old, he feels light as a feather; the same cannot be said for my 5-year-old, who feels like I’m attempting to pick up a linebacker.
Number of children: I found that pushing two children in the double was much harder than one child. Before you say, “Okay, well duh,” I found that pushing my three children in my triple stroller was easier than pushing two of them in the double. The effort on the run was also related to where they sat in the stroller. I found it is easiest when the lightest child is in the middle and the two heavier ones are on the outside, anchoring the stroller down.
The stroller: Do you have a running stroller designed specifically for running or did you purchase a stroller that’s primary focus is for strolling around, with an occasional easy run thrown in? Strollers specifically designed for only running typically have larger and skinnier tires, making these strollers easier to push for longer distances. Easier typically equals faster paces.
Terrain: Running uphill is hard. Running uphill while pushing a human? Even harder. Running downhill while pushing a stroller will be faster than your pace running uphill, but as any parent who has run with a stroller downhill can tell you, you are still pushing and it’s not as fast as running downhill sans stroller.
All this being said, you can get a really great workout pushing your child in a stroller, while also spending time with them! Many runners who run with a stroller look at stroller running as interval training or speed work. Instead of focusing on an actual pace that you want to hit on the runs, I suggest learning to run by effort.
Stroller running is hard—very hard—but very rewarding if you push through. Focus on something other than pace or only compare your stroller running pace to other stroller runs you have gone on.
I thought my stroller running days were long gone, so much so that I even wrote about them ending. Thanks to the new 2016 BOB Revolution Pro running stroller that has an extended weight capacity of 75 pounds, I’m back pushing Colton some days—and I couldn’t be happier. I’m glad I don’t have to rely on the stroller like I once did, but I’m happy I have the option of bringing him along and spending time with him again.