It’s expected that in becoming a parent, there are some things from your previous life you may have to sacrifice. Fortunately running doesn’t have to be one of them. It’s easier said than done finding time for a solo run, but there is a way you can take your little one with you. While you’re certainly not going to break any speed records running with a stroller, it’s a great way to get back into running for new mums, or dads for that matter, and it actually burns more calories which is great news if you want to reclaim your pre-baby body. But before you speed off, take a few minutes to familiarise yourself with our ‘things you should know’.
The general consensus is that it’s safe for babies to tag along in a running stroller from 6 months old. By this age they’ve developed the neck strength needed to support their head as they’re travelling along and navigating some potentially bumpy terrain. And if you’re a new mum, you’ll need time to build up strength and tone in your muscles so you can cope with the strain and prevent injuries.
Timing is everything
If you want an uninterrupted run and a contented baby, it’s wise to schedule your jaunt around feeding and nap times. It also pays to carry a few extra snacks in case of any mid-course tantrums from your wee passenger.
It’s amazing how much harder running is without the use of your arms. Don’t expect to be able to run at your normal pace with a stroller, especially if your route includes the odd incline here and there. Set yourself realistic goals and celebrate the small wins.
Plan a baby-friendly route
Traffic, crowds and uneven footpaths are not your friend. It’s much harder to weave in and out with a stroller and the slightest bump can make for a very unpleasant ride for your little tot. Choose a route where you’ll have plenty of space and preferably one that’s not too hilly. Parks and bike lanes are usually a good shout.
Now that you’re running with a side-kick you’ll need to consider their safety as well as your own. Avoid wearing headphones as it’s important you can listen for traffic, pedestrians and bikes. While it’s tempting to run hands-free with just the occasional push as you go along, there’s a danger you could lose control of the stroller. Make use of the wrist-straps, hand brakes and wheel locks featured on most running strollers. And before you go, double check your wee passenger is securely strapped in.
Choosing your buggy
Not all running buggies are created equal, which is why it’s important to try before your buy. Things like handle height, wheel size, shock absorption, swivel wheels and sun visors are all features to take into consideration when finding the perfect stroller for you. They vary in price from £150 for a basic no frills model, up to £600 for all the bells and whistles. It’s worth checking out sites like PriceSpy if you’re looking to find a bargain, or consider second hand if your budget won’t stretch to brand new.
Photos provided by the wonderful Virtual Runner community members showing them in action!