Kids are a lot of work. They’re demanding, selfish, and entirely insensitive to your training objectives, PR goals, or Strava ranking. Little kids especially! Sticking to a rigid training plan as a new mom or dad is just about impossible – even for a dad who runs his own indoor cycling studio! Still, there are modifications that can be made and compromises hammered out to carve out that precious bit of me-training time.
With the objective of maximizing that time in mind, I bought an old, somewhat rickety Trek running stroller from a nice mom on Kijiji this summer. I paid $75. It was worth it.
Running with a stroller is not without its challenges, but here are 6 reasons why all moms and dads ought to get one as soon as their progeny is strong enough to sit up.
1. Extra weight
You’ll sometimes see a crossfitter or an OCR athlete hauling ass up a steep incline while wearing a weighted vest. Running with extra weight – especially running up hill (with the proviso of healthy ankles and knees!) – can make for very good training. Swap that vest for a 35lb toddler nestled in a 20lb stroller and you get that training effect PLUS doing something useful with your time.
2. Run commute squared
Those of you who read my IronDad blog from 2015, know that I’m a big fan of run commutes. Love them! Well, when you run with a stroller, you’re commuting for two – or three, if you have one of those double deals. That’s a win-win-win.
3. Imbalanced load
David Tilbury-Davis recently turned me onto a running drill meant to identify and correct excess side-to-side or rotational motion. It’s one where a runner places both hands on their head for brief periods. It’s super awkward at first, but entirely worth doing.
Running with both hands on a stroller is similar. Not having that natural balancing action of arms pumping accentuates imbalances in your stride. It’s all too easy to lean into the stroller and use it for support. Try avoiding that to really challenge stability.
4. Extra quality time
Hanging out with your bundle of joy AND training? Sounds amazing right? It is. It’s great. My 2 year-old loves his running stroller. So much so that I have to be careful when I mention it. Saying those two words but not delivering on an outing equals tears!
5. Share your passion / indoctrinate
Admit it. If you have kids you want them to do what you do. If you run, you want them to run too. I cannot think of a better way to share your passion than to encourage them to come along. So while their little legs and lugs develop, stick ‘em in a running stroller and take them along. Kids are far more receptive than non-running adults in your life to that stream of consciousness about how amazing you feel when you run too. That’s instant gratification!
6. Look like a superstar parent
Not only are you parenting, you’re training too! You are winning at life so hard that everyone wants to be like you. Even when other moms and dads give you veiled dirty looks, you love it. I do.
Happy (stroller) running!