Stroller Running Tips for a COVID-19 World
Every day, mother runners are waking up to more closures and things we cannot do due to COVID-19–like run together in groups or exercise at gyms, among MANY other things. But, for now, we can still exercise outside. Thus, this is a great time for stroller running. Stroller running is good for you and your kids’ minds, bodies, and souls. Exercise promotes feel-good endorphins. Being outside does the same. This time can serve as a great distraction to all the uncertainty and fear swirling around us.
Genius Stroller Running Tips:
Here are some stroller running tips from mother runners who have mastered making stroller running fun for all!:
Pack Lots of Snacks.
Moms know better than to go anywhere without a plethora of snacks for kids. Bring chips, pouches, crackers, cheese sticks, granola bars, apple slices, oranges, and sippy cups. Be prepared to rotate them as you run.
Have Special Stroller-only Toys.
Novelty is the name of the game when it comes to stroller running. So have toys that only make their appearance during stroller running time. You can also bring a tablet for stroller-only screen time if you need extra help getting some miles in. But Erica Hopper, mom of two, warns, “make sure it has a protective case if it happens to get dropped or thrown out.”
Put Safety First.
Keep safety top of mind when jogging with your child: Make sure your jogging stroller has a safety wrist strap that attaches to the handlebar (or, if it doesn’t, buy one) and always use it. Another safety tip: Some running strollers allow you to lock the front wheel to keep it from turning suddenly during a run. Once you’ve gotten on your route, do this.
Dress for the Weather.
During this time, it’s not smart to run in very cold (below freezing) or wet weather as that can run down immune systems. If you do go out in unpleasant weather, remember that while you may stay toasty warm from all that running, your kid may get cold. Consider buying a protective shield from Amazon if it’s going to be windy or rainy. On hot days, overheating can be a problem, so don’t overdress your kids, apply sunscreen and use a stroller visor or sunshield to keep them shaded.
Take the Road Less Traveled.
Avoid roads with lots of traffic. A truck driver once tried to run me off the road while shouting obscenities. I learned my lesson that it’s safer to be on roads with fewer cars and trucks.
Make It Fun.
Count squirrels with your kid, look for dogs and cats, play “I spy” or try to wave to as many people as possible. “I run my kids past entertaining spots like construction sites,” says mom of two Lindsay Adams. Also, listen to music like Disney soundtracks and don’t be afraid to sing loudly with your kids.
Tell your kids you are going to end at a park and let them run around. Some mother runners let their kids run the last half mile with them. I have a route that I run with my kids that includes several spots that they can get out and explore before we keep going. We used to stop at playgrounds but we are not during the coronavirus time. If you do, be sure to use lots of hand sanitizer and discourage kids from touching their faces!
Watch Your Form.
Running with a stroller is hard work and some people tend to hunch over. Instead, aim to run upright to avoid low back and hamstring injuries and switch arms every 15 minutes to balance the body.
Run For Time.
Several studies have found that running with a stroller is harder than running without one. So don’t stress about your pace or distance. Instead, shoot to run for time. If you want to get a particular workout in, use your heart rate as your guide. You can get more info on heart rate training with a stroller here and training for a race running with a stroller here.
Manage Your Expectations.
“You may head out the door planning on a 5-mile run,” says Katie Taylor, mom of one. “Your kid may have other plans. That’s okay!” The days of you being in control of your mileage will come back. For now, be flexible.
Enjoy This Time.
For many people, running is a chance to have peace and quiet. That’s probably not going to be the case when you’re running with your kids. Instead of looking at it as a disruption of “me time,” view it as a special time with you and your loves. They won’t be this little forever.
“Yes, it’s hard. Yes, they are heavy. Yes, they bicker and ask for more snacks than you could possibly imagine but it’s still worth it,” says Sarah Merrick, mom of twins. “Because I get to share my time and my sport with my little ones and show them what strong looks like.”
For more tips on stroller running, especially with a baby, check out my article on SheKnows.com. For great stroller brands, check out this guide. Finally, take care of yourselves, mama. Stroller running will help you have peace of mind and keep your body in shape for when it’s race season again.