Snack prep. Play and pretend time. Frantic hollering. Picking up toys. Cleaning up messes. Banging on pots and pans. Finding and putting on shoes.
Parenting is a challenging but rewarding job under the most predictable circumstances.
But with daily household rhythms thrown off kilter to reflect quarantine necessities, family togetherness is the new normal for any given activity.
That’s why parents at all experience levels are looking into new methods of healthy, productive exercise – including stroller running.
Before you get started, you’ll want to know what to expect. After all, you wouldn’t want to get off on the wrong foot and end up with a bunch of new gear gathering dust in the garage.
HOKA shares a few helpful tips to ease your approach to running with your baby.
Find a Running Stroller You Can Trust
When you’re going anywhere or doing anything with precious cargo, safety is always the top consideration. But price is another important one.
Running strollers can be pricey, with some top-of-the-line models going in the $600-$700 range. There are less expensive options as well, but these can carry a few compromises. Construction quality is the one compromise not worth making. Read customer reviews thoroughly to get an idea of the overall trust level, as you would for any baby-safe product.
As you research running stroller model production quality, you’ll find a range of options and price points that may suit your needs. Keep in mind that some additional features may increase the initial price of a stroller, but save money and hassle in the long run.
Consider the following:
Before you spend, ask yourself how long you plan on running with your baby, and over what terrain. This can help you narrow your stroller options to the right model for your budget.
Just be prepared to adjust this initial plan once you get out on the road. Your child will always have their own opinion.
Adjust Your Expectations
Running with a stroller is almost a completely different sport than when you’re on your own. The added weight and pushing action will make some changes necessary – and that’s if your kid stays asleep the whole time.
Remember, they’re along too. And that means you’ll be multitasking between parenting and running. As a parent, you already know that flexibility is necessary – anything can happen at any time. But runners are creatures of habit, so adjusting your running routine to incorporate kid chaos can be a challenge.
Adjust your expectations, and give yourself wiggle room for multiple definitions of a “successful” run.
Consider the following:
Setting out with the right equipment and the right mindset are both very important. But what happens when you get out there?
Change Your Running Approach
Running with a stroller and a baby will cause a few necessary tweaks to your usual approach.
The most important of these is the need for increased attentiveness. Take extra heed of your surroundings. Safety is priority one, but making sure you don’t leave a cherished binky in your dust can be a fairly close second.
Additional changes include the following:
Now that you’re fully prepared, let’s prepare your little one.
Get Your Child Involved
Going for a super-fast stroller ride seems like it’d be a pretty fun activity. But it doesn’t always pay to make assumptions, especially when you’re dealing with a toddler.
If your child is old enough to communicate their opinion, ask for it before strapping them in. This goes beyond careful phrasing that gives them some control over the situation, although “Want to go for a run with me?” is a good standby.
You can also ask where they want to go, what they like to see, what they noticed and what was their favorite part. You can plan a stop at a playground, or set up a reward system. You can even get them involved in your workout by letting them choose a “fast part.”
How exactly you handle it is of course up to you, but anything you do to make your runs feel like “our” runs will make the entire process much more enjoyable for all involved.
Also, a routine can help your child adjust their expectations as well. For example, if you’re lucky enough to have a daycare option within running distance, setting the expectation that a stroller run is the preferred commute method can make it just as enjoyable for your tot as it is for you.
Parenting can wear you out just as surely as regular exercise can increase your energy level. Combining them seems like an ideal solution, and it can certainly be both rewarding and convenient.
Just make sure you go about it with the right blend of caution and preparation.
Good luck and happy running. It’s Time to Fly™.
Routine comes with a downside. Too much of the same thing can bring complacency, plateau your development, and make running feel more like a chore than a source of genuine joy.
If you’re running in a rut, a few small tweaks can refresh your outlook. HOKA recommends a few ways to re-evaluate your habits and shake things up.