The arrival of a baby is marked by several momentous changes to your household and lifestyle, and one change new mothers will find most relatable is the excessive levels of planning and prep you’ll be undertaking to leave the house, for anything from a visit to your parents’ to a quick stop at the department store down the street.
This, of course, also applies to any outdoor exercise you’re used to or interested in taking part in – at least for the first couple of months after your little one comes into the world.
However, after your baby is about six months old, you don’t have to put off your morning (or any other time of the day) runs because there’s no one to look after your baby while you’re gone – you can simply take them with you. It’s not only a great workout to help you get back into shape and stay fit, but it’s always reassuring to have your baby with you, serving as great quality time with your little one as well. All you’ll need is the right jogging stroller, and these tips and tricks to make your jogging stroller experience that much more stress-free and enjoyable.
Be realistic about your goals
Start off smart – with the extra 30 to 50 pounds you’re going to be pushing along with you, along with months of inactivity if you’ve not been working out as strenuously and are just setting out jogging after a considerable lag, you’re not going to be able to cover the ground or run up to the pace you’d manage when going solo. Don’t be disheartened by this, though – focus on keeping your form correct, making sure your feet are aligned, shoulders, spine and limbs not taking on any unnecessary stress from unnatural posture. Keep track of your pace when out with your baby, and gradually work to improve on it. We don’t recommend planning to go too far when you start off the very first time with your jogging stroller – you might find yourself struggling come the third mile. This is fine, and to be expected, even – give yourself a couple of days and pace yourself to gradually improve the distance you’re able to cover and the pace at which you get there.
Sidewalks are great for solo runs, but not so great when you’re wheeling along a jogging stroller which may snag again and again in cracks, dips and dents in the pavement. Rather can continuously being jarred to a stop – which is disruptive both to your running pace and posture as well as to your child, who’ll probably not appreciate being jerked awake or otherwise disturbed when feeding or playing. Instead, plan ahead, picking routes around typically empty roads you can run along instead. This goes without saying, but avoid busy roads and roads where drivers can take on higher speeds – even during times of the day where traffic is low, it’s not a risk worth taking.
If you’re looking to go jogging in different environments, though, for example along the beach, or a stretch of gravel, you’re going to want to look at strollers with features like handbrakes and rugged tires to brave those terrains safely.
Never go hands-free
You might find using both your hands to push the stroller along restrictive, and if the handlebars are not height adjustable your posture might be affected by it. While you can go one-handed, and free yourself up enough to get into a more comfortable running stance, never let go of the stroller – even when you’re going slow, there’s no telling when you misjudge the momentum, or when you might come across a bump in the road that might destabilise the stroller. You can use one hand to briskly push your stroller along, and two to turn corners and steer.
Avoid uphill routes
Uphill treks are hard enough solo – pushing 50 extra pounds against the forces of gravity is going to be plain torture, and not something we’d recommend you try. Make sure to pick routes that are as horizontal as possible to make your plus one jogging sessions less of a Herculean uphill struggle (pun intended) and more of a productive workout. A slight downhill slope is also great when you’d want to pick up a little more speed, but anything too steep might be difficult for you to maintain a steady pace and keep a grip on your stroller.
You don’t want to start off on your run only for your baby to start sniffling and growing cranky because he or she is hungry – keep bottles handy to appease them, as well as snacks, toys and picture books for older kids who may not simply fall asleep from the easy pace of your running sessions and are prone to stay awake longer. Keep them entertained – or, alternately, time your run sessions around their regular nap times – and they’ll be keep calm and even learn to enjoy and look forward to your run sessions as special moments in the day.
Another crucial item for the survival kit – enough diapers and a diaper bag to last you the mileage you’re planning to cover there and back. You’ll have to anticipate that you’ll be stopping quite frequently, be it to check up on your baby (we strongly recommend against trying to do this while you’re still moving, since even if you’re going slow it heightens the likelihood of accidents), feed them, console them or change their diapers. But the frequent stoppages don’t have to put a damper on your progress, so long as you have on hand everything that you need, and won’t have to result in you having to return home halfway through your outing because your baby needs a diaper change or a fresh bottle.
Keep a checklist of things to tick off before you head off for your run – the first of which is whether your baby has his or her safety buckle on. Secure this buckle around any blankets you may want to swaddle your little one in so they don’t slip out and tangle up with the wheels. A good option ideally features a reliable 5-point harness system, one of the most important features to look for when considering the right stroller. Ensure all the wheels are running smoothly and have not jammed or otherwise started malfunctioning – better to know about a defect that might potentially disrupt your pace and risk accidents before you leave the house than when you’re already on the road. If the front wheel of your stroller has a swivel feature, make sure it’s locked in the fixed position before you go jogging to prevent it from abruptly turning and destabilizing the stroller.