Pack the snacks
I over-pack the snacks actually. One thing I love about running with a stroller is the pockets. I can stuff snacks in pockets and baskets and pull them out throughout the run. I never give the whole snack bag to the kid at the beginning—they either drop it on the ground or eat it all at the beginning of the run, so pace the snacks. When my kids were younger, I would time the run with their bottle of milk or snack time—so they could lean back in the stroller, relax and feed themselves.
Bribery is legit
Snacks, toys, a little treat—we are not above bribery to get through a stroller run with a happy kid! There’s nothing worse than heading out to enjoy a happy run with your child and being stuck with a fussy, cranky kid. I’ve used the trick of having a toy that is only for running with the stroller—so they look forward to the run so they can play with that toy. They know it lives in the stroller and it keeps them entertained since it’s not a “usual” toy.
Time the nap
When my kids were napping age, I would time the stroller run to coincide with nap time. They’d fall asleep and I’d have a peaceful, enjoyable run. A win-win for all.
Safety starts before the run. I took the recommendations on when to start running with a stroller seriously, and didn’t run too early with the little babies. I always buckle them in, and I use the wrist strap to make sure the stroller doesn’t roll away from me down a hill if my hands get sweaty and slippery. I try to alternate which hand holds the strap throughout the run.
Check your gear
Pump up the tires, check the brakes and make sure everything is A-OK before you go. I always run with my cell phone in the stroller console in case of emergency so make sure it’s charged up. I had an incident where I was grabbed/groped while running with the stroller and was glad to have my phone in the console. And I always bring this little guy’s Epipen.
Think of THEIR weather
I get really warm when I run, but my kids do not! They’re just sitting there, catching a breeze. I try to stuff layers in the bottom basket, but remember to dress them in a layer more than I would want. A blanket can be tricky—I’ve had blankets come loose and get tangled in the wheel so I only use it if I can tuck it around the baby/child.
Also, remember sunscreen and a hat for the child on sunny days.
Good form is key
I used to noticed that when I ran solo after a lot of stroller running, I was hunched over, especially going up hills. Uh oh! This is not ideal. Try to maintain good running form when you’re running with the stroller—stay upright, keep a light touch on the handlebars (no death grips!) and remember to hit the ground the same way you run without a stroller.
Use your core
One great thing about running with a stroller is that you get a total body workout—your legs, your cardio, your upper body, and—if you do it right—your core. Using your core can prevent injury, help you maintain that good running form, help you push the stroller up hills effectively and help you keep control going down hills.
Don’t try to go all-out on a stroller run. You’re working extra muscles, your core and often interacting with a child while running—basically you’re exerting yourself more than on a typical solo run. Adjust your expectations for pace, and try not to kill yourself for this one run.
Savor these moments
It may be hard to imagine when you’re pushing a heavy stroller while a kid asks you 3,457 questions about Star Wars, or the baby is crying, but believe me—this time will pass by quickly. Eventually my oldest was too big for the stroller, then my middle, and sometime soon I’ll have to retire the running stroller for good. I have 10 years of happy memories pushing three different kids through many areas and we’ve had some great bonding moments and conversations along the way! Smile and just enjoy—you won’t regret this time together!
One extra suggestion I have that isn’t really a “tip,” but was a useful tool to getting in my run: