Running With a Stroller: 14 Tips + Safety Guide For Parents

We help you make sure your littlest training partner is safe and comfortable mile after mile.

Last Updated:

If you’re a runner and a first-time parent (or repeat offender), the idea of booking some miles with your kiddos and running with a stroller is usually pretty appealing.

You get to do your running workout while spending time with baby – awesome!

But preparing for stroller runs, and adjusting your workouts to account for the stroller, is an art form in itself.

For this article, we sat down with doctors, running coaches, and other parents and caregivers to put together a complete guide to running with a stroller.

Running with a stroller

When Is It Safe to Start Running with a Stroller?

Even though it’s normally safe for new mothers to return to regular exercise about six to eight weeks postpartum, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) doesn’t recommend running with a stroller until your baby is at least six months old and can control their head and neck independently.

This is for two reasons:

  • Your baby should be sat upright when you’re running with it, in order to be comfortable and safe. Babies under six months don’t have the neck or head strength to be in this position comfortably.
  • Running with baby is a quite a bit bumpier than going for a gentle walk, and tiny babies much prefer smooth journeys – not cross-country escapades!

As a new parent, you’re probably desperate to get out and start logging some miles – and doing it with baby-in-tow is a win-win since you’re both childminding and working out.

But don’t forget these three prerequisites before dashing out the door with your little one:

1. Mom needs to have been given the all-clear to do exercise by their doctor or gynecologist and/or pelvic floor physical therapist before resuming regular running, let alone running with the extra weight and challenge of running pushing a stroller.

2. Baby should be 6 months old, and comfortable sitting in the upright position. It is a good idea to check with your baby’s pediatrician before you take your little one on a stroller run.

3. Important: Use an actual running stroller, not just your regular walking stroller.

Walking strollers tend to be top-heavy, and surprisingly unstable if you try to run with them.

Good jogging strollers are designed specifically for going at a faster speed, and are extremely stable (check out our recommendations for the best jogging strollers at the end of this article).

Jogging strollers are also specifically designed to provide a more comfortable ride for your baby, with pneumatic tires and shocks, and are ergonomic so you can run faster without as much difficulty pushing the extra weight.

Although a second stroller is definitely an additional expense, treat it as an investment in your health – and think of the money you might save on babysitting fees since you are taking baby with you!

The 14 Dos and Don’ts of Stroller Running

Running with a stroller

Running with a jogging stroller for the first time can present several new and unexpected challenges.

A lot comes with running with a baby. Not only is the physical aspect more strenuous, but you also have a lot more to think about and plan so that you and your baby are safe and comfortable. 

Your runs, much like your life, will never be the same.

But take heart! These running tips for running with a stroller will help to better prepare you for running with your new little companion. 

1. Don’t Overexert Yourself

Working out post-baby is already a big adjustment on your body.

On top of it, you have to learn how runs will go, with the added weight of your jogging stroller. It’s important to go slow at first, so your body and your baby can adjust. 

On average, you can expect your pace to be about one minute slower per mile. 

Remember not to let a slower pace discourage you.

Here’s why: the jogging stroller provides some resistance training and helps you burn more calories. Also, just like with anything else, the more you run with your stroller, the easier it will be.

Instead of using training plans that focus on your pace, consider heart rate training or dial into your Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE). Either of these alternatives better account for the extra effort of hauling the stroller everywhere!

Related: 8 Strategies to Beat Overtraining

2. Pack Appropriately

Once your baby is old enough to go on a stroller jog safely, you will have a good understanding of what things you should pack – that are specific to your needs. 

Of course, it’s always important to pack what your baby needs, but you also don’t want to overload your stroller with unnecessary items. 

Dr. Alison Marie Helms, Certified Personal Trainer, Running Coach, and Pregnancy and Postpartum Corrective Exercise Specialist, suggests always having snacks on hand. 

She says, “This is more appropriate when your kids are a bit older, but snacks will keep your little one occupied and happy while you get your miles in!” Other things to consider packing are:

Packing For Baby

  • Snacks
  • A change of clothes
  • Diapers and wipes
  • Breast milk or formula (or other drinks in a water bottle if you are running with a one-year-old or older toddler)
  • Pacifier
  • Sun hat / sunglasses / suncream as the weather dictates.

Packing For Mommy or Daddy

When you lace up your running shoes and go out for a run with your little one, you’re probably going to be more cautious than when you go solo.

Here are some things you want to remember:

  • Water bottle with plenty of water. Hydration is key; especially if you are breastfeeding.
  • Energy snacks
  • Money
  • A phone with a full battery

You should probably leave the headphones at home – unless you’re listening to a quiet podcast in one ear, it’s likely that listening to anything while running with a stroller might distract you, cause you to tune out of your environment, or not hear your baby when it needs some attention!

3. Keep the Tires Inflated! 

Dr. Helms says it’s a simple tip, but it’s so important! 

Unlike regular strollers, your running stroller usually has bicycle-style tires that you want to keep inflated to the manufacturer’s recommended level. This is usually easy to do using a cheap bicycle pump.

If you have under-inflated tires, it’s going to feel like you’re pushing your baby up a mountain the whole way round!

Running with a stroller

4. Don’t Switch Up Your Running Form

Dr. Helms states, Recent biomechanical studies1Alcantara, R. S., & Wall-Scheffler, C. M. (2017). Stroller running: Energetic and kinematic changes across pushing methods. PLOS ONE12(7), e0180575. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0180575 showed that holding on with both hands actually most closely mimics the natural stride.”

Although she recommends holding on with both hands, there’s still nothing wrong with occasionally only using one hand.

But she does advise, “If you do decide to stick with the one-handed hold, be sure to switch often.”

5. Lock the Front Wheel

One of the things to look at when you’re buying your jogging stroller is the front wheel.

Some have a fixed front wheel, while others have a switch that lets you lock and unlock the front wheel so that it swivels. 

If your jogging stroller has the wheel lock option, you’ll always want to make sure it’s locked before beginning your run.

Doing so will keep your stroller from unexpectedly turning with the swivel wheel, and make it easier to run with.

Going for a gentle stroll? Feel free to unlock the wheel for better maneuverability.

Related: 13 Tips To Balance Being a Runner and Having Kids

10. Get Off the Sidewalk

Running with a stroller

One of the great benefits of a good running stroller is that they tend to be pretty versatile: they’re well-suited to a variety of terrain*.

*as long as it’s not too bumpy!

If you’ve got some gentle and forgiving trails or quiet backroads around, you might be able to go trail running with a good running stroller, but rugged trails with technical terrain are not safe and your child will not have a comfortable ride.

The same goes for urban parks and outdoor tracks – a decent running stroller can be used in any safe, not-too-bumpy terrain!

11. Protect Baby from the Weather

In cooler weather, always remember to keep your baby bundled up.

Depending on where you live, you may even want to consider buying a weather shield for your stroller to protect your baby from cold and windy conditions. 

Always put sunscreen on your baby even on cloudy days and a sun hat is a good idea.

Most importantly, if there are extreme weather conditions, you will want to keep your run short to keep your baby safe and healthy.

Related: Cold Weather Running Guide, and Running In The Heat

12. Beware Hilly Areas

Getting used to pushing your running stroller is going to take some time.

So it’s worthwhile to go easy on yourself and stay on flatter routes.

Once you are acclimated to running with a stroller you can try a hill workout. Just remember to start small and always engage your core.

13. Reward Yourself + Plan Breaks

Running with a stroller is hard.

Remember to enjoy this time and be patient with yourself and your baby. 

Whitney Heins, running coach and founder of The Mother Runners (and fellow writer at Marathon Handbook!), advises to be patient and understand there may be frequent stops.

There will be plenty of time to train, but this time with your baby is short. 

Heins recommends ending somewhere fun like the park or an ice cream shop. “This gives older kids (toddlers) an incentive to go the distance. We would also make fun stops along the way and play lots of games.”

Running with a stroller

14. Follow Up with Extra Trunk Rotation and Strides

Dr. Helms comments on research done by Sullivan et al.2O’Sullivan, R., Kiernan, D., & Malone, A. (2016). Run kinematics with and without a jogging stroller. Gait & Posture43, 220–224. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gaitpost.2015.10.001

“The two main differences between running biomechanics with and without the stroller were a decrease in trunk rotation and hip extension.

It’s no surprise that running with a stroller decreases the counter-rotation through the shoulders. Interestingly, this showed no effect on the pelvis rotation.

However, the authors suggested that over time a decrease in the overall rotation could occur. Therefore, adding extra rotation to your training could be beneficial.

There was also a decrease in hip extension due to an overall greater forward lean at the hips. Take extra care to not hunch forward over your stroller too!

I give my athletes that run with a stroller regularly extra drills/strides before or after they run to practice that nice forward lean of the whole body.

The simplest way is to part the stroller and run a handful of strides forward and back past your baby. 

Get them started early on being your cheerleader!”

Running With a Stroller: Extra Safety Tips

Running with a stroller

THE biggest concern for any new parent is the safety of their child.

Here are some tips to keep you and your baby as safe as possible:

  • Perform routine maintenancePerforming routine maintenance on your stroller will help you spot potential hazards.
  • Make sure your child is always strapped correctly into their safety harness.
  • Only jog with strollers meant for running.
  • Always use the wrist straps so that the stroller can’t get away from you.

Our Top 3 Running Stroller Recommendations

1. Thule Urban Glide 2 Running Stroller

Running With a Stroller: 14 Tips + Safety Guide For Parents 1

The Thule Urban Glide 2 is the go-to higher-end running stroller for parents who want to book some miles with their kids.

Marathon Handbook founder Thomas Watson weighs in:

‘I’ve been running consistently with the Urban Glide 2 since our son was 6 months old, and love it! We regularly take it over the trails near our house, and it’s held its own in snow and ice too.

The smooth ride of the Urban Glide 2 makes it super-fun to run with, and the features such as the twist-brake and adjustable handlebar – as well as the pocket placement – have clearly been designed with running parents in mind.

Check out our full review of the Thule Urban Glide 2, or our video review below!

2. BOB Gear Revo Flex 3.0 Jogging Stroller

Running with a stroller

BOB strollers are an established brand, and they’re loved by many because of their durability, suspension system, and extra features.

The Revo Flex 3.0 has an adjustable handlebar, and mountain bike suspension system, and is extremely lightweight. 

It’s also compatible with a number of different car seats and has plenty of room in its undercarriage storage compartment.

3. Baby Jogger Summit X3 Jogging Stroller

Running with a stroller

The Baby Jogger Summit X3 is great for those looking for a hybrid stroller. It has all-terrain stability. Its neatest features are a handbrake which controls the rear brake and a handlebar control to easily lock and unlock the front wheel. It’s also extremely popular for its UV 50+ weather canopy.

Getting back into a regular routine after having a baby is challenging.

As a runner, training yourself to properly run with a jogging stroller can be even more challenging. 

But, with the tips above you should be able to hit the ground running, and keep training for your best performance!  

Related: Tips for Running After Childbirth

Running with a stroller

References

Photo of author
Mia Kercher is a hiker, cyclist, and runner. After finishing her first marathon in 2013, she continued the sport but found a new passion in trail running. She now explores the glorious mountains in Portland, Oregon.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.