If you are a new or expecting mom, and you like to run, you may be thinking about running with a jogging stroller. Running with a stroller has many benefits but takes some planning and preparation. Some of these steps can be taken well before you even start running with a stroller. Make sure to follow these 10 important steps to start stroller running as you prepare to use a jogging stroller as a postpartum mom!
1. Choose a stroller
There are many jogging strollers available, so it’s important to find one that is comfortable for you and within your budget! I am putting this first because some parents like to add a jogging stroller to their baby registry, so you may want to pick out a stroller well before your baby is even born. If possible, try to test some out before choosing. The most popular are the Thule and Bob jogging strollers. If you can’t test them out, do some research to find out which one will work best for your family.
We use the Thule Urban Glide 2
2. Get cleared by your doctor for exercise
Most doctors will want to see you about 6 weeks after you deliver your baby, and you are not supposed to do any high impact exercise before then. If you have a c-section your recovery will take longer, but you will probably be able to go for short walks a few days after delivering.
Many women find that they go in for their 6 week check-up, get the “all-clear” to exercise, and are kind of left on their own from there. In order to have a smooth return to running consider working with a pelvic floor PT. They can evaluate you to see if you are actually ready to return to running and help you rebuild strength to prevent injuries or set backs.
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3. Start walking before you try stroller running
During the time after you deliver until you start running, walking is a great way to exercise and prepare for running. I’ve found that this also helps the baby get used to being in the stroller! Not only that, but you can also get into a routine of getting outside and using the stroller so it will be easier to do once you are running.
4. Rebuild your core
Pregnancy causes a lot of changes in the body, and it’s important to rebuild your entire core before getting back to running. There are very simple things you can start doing even just a couple of weeks after delivery, such as diaphramatic breathing and kegels. You will also want to focus on making sure you can activate your transverse abdominis (TVA). Again, working with a pelvic floor PT can really help with this process.
Start slow, but also make sure to work up to doing strength work again (with your doctor’s approval). There are programs you can follow online if you don’t work with someone in person, such as Recore or Expecting and Empowered.
5. Get approval from your baby’s doctor for stroller running
While it’s important to make sure that you are ready to run, it’s also important to make sure that your baby is ready! Check with your pediatrician to find out when it is safe to take your baby running in a stroller. Most will say around 6-7 months, because they need to be able to sit in the stroller on their own. Note: Many jogging strollers come with carseat adaptors, but these are recommended for walking only, not running.
6. Plan and prepare
Before you head out for your first run, it’s important to plan ahead and be prepared! You want to set yourself up for success for your first run. Some things to think about are feeding your baby before you start, bringing diapers/change of clothes, and any entertainment they may need. For older babies you may want to bring some snacks for the run. Also make sure to keep in mind what the weather will be like, and dress your baby accordingly.
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7. Find a good route for stroller running
Now that you are prepared for your run, you need to think about where you will run! Does your neighborhood have sidewalks you can run on with the stroller? Or is there a nearby path you can drive to? Sometimes parks have good places to run with a stroller, and you can finish your run with some time on the playground. (As your baby gets older, be careful about running past a playground if you’re not ready to stop. They may get upset and want to play!)
At first you probably want to avoid hills as you adjust to stroller running. You also want to try to find a smooth surface to run on if possible. And be sure to keep safety in mind, not running on a busy road with cars.
8. Purchase accessories as needed
While you really just need a jogging stroller to run with your baby, there are some accessories that you may want to look into. For example, many of the strollers have wind or rain covers that can be purchased for bad weather. There are also stroller trays and cup holders that can be attached to the stroller. Here are some of the items that I used with our Thule Urban Glide:
(these are affiliate links)
9. Start short and slow
Once you start running with the stroller, don’t expect to go out and run your pre-pregnancy pace for 10 miles. Both you and your baby will need some time to adjust. Start with short runs to get used to it and try to ignore your pace. Consider running by time rather than by distance. It feels much harder to run with a stroller so you will likely slow down significantly. If your baby gets upset, try to soothe them but don’t force it. You can try again another day!
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10. Give yourself (and your baby) grace!
Remember that this is new for both of you! As a postpartum mom you are getting back to running after time off and significant changes to your body. Your baby is also adjusting to facing forward and moving in a stroller, and it may take them some time to get used to it. Be proud of what you can accomplish, and don’t give up if it doesn’t go well the first few times!
You may also like:
Best Tips for Stroller Running With Toddlers from Real Mother Runners
How to Run with Proper Form When Using a Jogging Stroller
What Makes Stroller Running So Challenging? (Besides Pushing Extra Weight!)
If you ever ran with a stroller, what tips would you add?
If you had kids, how was your return to running postpartum?