Running can be a great way to stay in shape and relieve stress, and for runners with kids, the routine can continue with the help of a jogging stroller. Especially for parents of infants, it’s so important to find ways to take care of yourself while still being available around the clock for baby. With the right jogging stroller, you can continue to train for that half marathon or do your daily jog around the neighborhood, all while taking baby along for the ride.
Jogging Stroller Front Wheel: Locked or Stationary?
While there are so many types of jogging strollers available, deciding what to buy isn’t as overwhelming as it looks. Let’s start with steering.
A favorite feature of runners and joggers, including Calum Neff, who set the half marathon stroller world record on Feb. 6, 2016, is having a front wheel that can be locked in place or unlocked as needed. “I think one of the most important features — other then the comfort and safety of your child — is a stroller that tracks straight,” says Neff. “The front wheel is locked in position, and the stroller tracks straight as an arrow. This allows for less control input, meaning better running form and effort.”
For running, a stable front wheel is key to a smooth ride. For moments when you’re not running, the wheel can be unlocked to swivel, much like a regular four-wheel stroller. By investing in a jogging stroller that gives you the option of both, you get a two-for-one package. However, if you already have your regular stroller and just need a separate stroller for working out, a stationary front wheel is the way to go.
Other important features to look out for are:
- Light Weight — Strollers made of alloy instead of steel are lighter options and help with long-distance running and managing inclines and turns. Keep in mind you will be adding a child and any necessities, so the weight you’re actually pushing will increase regardless.
- Stability — When using a fixed-wheel stroller, you’ll want to be sure the stroller will go straight and doesn’t drift. The back wheels should also be wide enough that the stroller won’t tip over during turns.
- Tire Size — When buying a new stroller, be sure the tires are inflated, like bike tires. Know what surface you’ll be running on and what distance as that will help you choose a tire size. The 16-inch wheels are good for outdoor joggers on smooth surfaces, while the 20-inch wheels are better for long-distances and uneven surfaces.
Jogging Stroller Storage
Of course, any parent knows you can’t just walk out of the house with baby and not bring a thing or two (or 20) along the way. Especially if you go for long-distance runs, anything can happen once you leave the house, so it’s a good rule of thumb to have the necessities with you.
- Convenient Compartments — It’s best to know ahead of time just what you’ll need to bring with you on runs so you’ll have an idea on the storage size you’ll want for your jogging stroller. Enclosed compartments work best so you don’t lose anything along the way.
- Light Weight — Like the stroller itself, you’ll want the storage areas to be light so as not to add any unnecessary weight to your run. Some models come with plastic storage containers, while others are made of fabric. They should be in a low, central location to maintain balance and still allow room for your running stride.
- Accessories — Before you buy your stroller, check to see if there are any additional accessories that come with it or that you may want to buy separately. Two cup holders can come in handy since you’ll need to bring a drink for you and for baby.
- Easy Fold and Go — Another key feature is to see how easily your jogging stroller folds up. When not in use you’ll have to store it or may need to fit it in your car.
Jogging Stroller Comfort and Safety
Lastly, we’re going to look at comfort and safety, both for you and your little passenger. You could have all the right features, but it makes you or baby uncomfortable or unsafe, neither one of you will enjoy the experience.
- Plush and Secure Seat — Don’t buy a jogging stroller unless it has passed some type of safety certification. The seat should be secure with a five-point harness, yet soft enough and with proper support to be comfortable during those long runs.
- Adjustable Handle Bars — If you plan on sharing your jogging stroller with someone taller or shorter than you, this is a great feature that ensures everyone is comfortable when pushing.
- Retractable Canopy — This will block the sunlight, especially if you run when the sun is rising or setting and can easily be in baby’s eyes. Here, bigger is better.
- Suspension System — If your jogging path is generally bumpy, this will be a feature that will help smooth the ride for your child and make for a more enjoyable experience. When baby is happy, you’re happy.
Finding the right jogging stroller for you will depend on where you run, the distance and your own personal preferences. Overall, you’re looking for something that will give you a smooth, straight ride while ensuring safety and comfort. There are options for every budget, so don’t think that because you have a young child your workout routine has to change.
“Other than finding a stroller suitable for your needs, I recommend that when you get out for a run, choose a destination both for yourself and your kid,” adds Neff. “It can be fun to run to a new park or a different view point. Bringing a drink and some snacks as well as some music can help get a few extra miles out of both your kids and you.”
So invest in a good jogging stroller, strap the little one in and lace up those sneakers.
Have any tips on how to pick a jogging stroller? Tell us in the comments!