Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
Running has played many roles in Robin Arzón’s life–a pressure relief valve while working through trauma, an avenue of personal growth and achievement, a path to her second career as a fitness instructor and author. Most recently, the Peloton VP and head instructor entered a new stage as a runner: nap time hustler.
As a new mom, Arzón called training for her first postpartum marathon “freeing” in a phone call with Women’s Running. “There were many, many moments that I had to pivot where I had an illusion of a 45, 60, or 90 minute run, and I had to break that up over like two or three runs in a day,” she says. And as a mom, she has been “liberating myself from an from any direct, perceived notions of what is a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ run.”
And, hey, getting the added resistance training of running with her daughter Athena in a jogging stroller hasn’t been a bad trade-off either. “I felt really strong, surprisingly strong,” says Arzón of crossing the finish line of the New York City Marathon last fall.
With all the stroller training under her belt, Arzón shares with us what she has learned about training with baby in tow.
6 Tips for Stroller Jogging as a New Mom
As a pre- and post-natal training specialist and someone who has logged a myriad of stroller miles, Robin Arzón knows what it takes to make running with her daughter a joyful experience. And here’s how you can, too.
Pick a stroller that fits your needs.
For Arzón, her jogging stroller is also her every day use stroller. Living in an NYC apartment, she knew she needed something that could do double-duty. “You want to look at how are you going to be using this product. How is it going to fit into your home?” she says. And she was willing to sacrifice space in her home to make room for something larger like her Baby Jogger that she says has great maneuverability over a smaller travel stroller.
A stroller is no small purchase, so consider doing as Arzón did and ask fellow mother runners what models have worked well for them and their lifestyles. Here are 6 running strollers that we love.
Forget about pace.
Now that you’ve got the stroller, it’s time to start running. But before you step out for that first glorious “mommy and me” run, Arzón cautions that you put away any preconceived notions you have about pace. Not just for the fact that returning to running postpartum is a challenge on the body, but also just because strollers are inherently heavy and will add resistance to your stride.
“When I first started running with Athena, it felt very similar to being a new runner,” says Arzón.
Instead of focusing on pace, she would focus on intervals and breaking up the run in a way that was fun for her. “I would just be like, ‘I’m going to go out for 15 minutes and just have fun with it.’ And I like to do intervals. So I’ll take something–almost like a Fartlek run–in the distance and be like, I’m gonna run at a pretty good clip, tempo pace maybe, or with whatever the equivalent would be of a tempo pace for me with the stroller. And then, maybe I’ll walk or maybe I’ll jog and that breaks it up for me visually.”
These kind of running ‘games’ can make it easier to focus on how you feel than looking down at your watch.
Give extra focus to your form.
With the added weight of your child and the stroller, Arzón points to the importance of proper running form.
“Your core engagement is super important,” she says. You still want to maintain an upright form, rather than hunched over the stroller, with an efficient stride.
“And you don’t want a death grip on the stroller bar,” she says. “You’ve got the safety strap, so you know the stroller’s not going anywhere. You don’t have to have a death grip. Just [hold it] enough to feel connected to the stroller.”
Pack light, if you can.
Resist the urge to fill the abundance of pockets and storage space that strollers tend to have, and stick to the essentials. Otherwise, you run the risk of weighing down your run even more.
“I try to keep it light,” says Arzón. “I’ll pack some wipes, diapers, water for her, water for me, and maybe a snack.” And that’s it.
Unless you have plans to be out for the whole day or have concerns about the weather shifting and need to bring extra layers, keep it simple.
Teach your kiddo that this is a fun activity for them, too.
Running is not a chore for Arzón. And she wouldn’t want her daughter to think of it that way either. “Kids often to pick up on our energy and I made the commitment to myself, to my family, to my husband, that we were going to show [Athena] that movement is a value system in this house,” says Arzón.
She says that Athena now picks up on that excitement and gets excited as well when she laces up her running shoes and pulls out the stroller.
Along with the energy you’re bringing to your running, consider other ways you can help your child associate time in the jogging stroller with playtime. For example, when time permits, Arzón will end her runs at a place where Athena can get out and play. “On Saturday, I went for a longer run. My husband met us at the carousel on the West Side Highway. So at the end of the run, she kind of had her little playtime moment.”
Leave the stroller at home if you need to.
For many women, running is a valuable activity because it is a time they get to spend by themselves and focused solely on themselves. And while in the younger years of your child’s life you might be running with the stroller more often than not, it’s important to speak up and ask for that alone time if you need it.
“If you have the luxury, the privilege of having someone in the household be able to watch the baby for periods of time, ask for the help that you need,” says Arzón. Though she knows that’s easier said than done.
“Self care is a preventive strategy. It shouldn’t be something that we turn to when we’re redlining. So how can we incorporate these moments throughout our day? Throughout our week? So we always have that little bit of a safety valve before we’re feeling completely overwhelmed.”