Whether you’re training for your first 5K ever, your first 5K postpartum, or your hundredth 5K, including your baby as your training partner can make for a rewarding experience.
Running has been an important part of my life for more than a decade. I even met my husband in a running group! When I became pregnant, I looked forward to the day I would get to run with a jogging stroller. In fact, it was the first baby item I purchased.
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I love that running with my baby enables me to get in a good workout while spending time with him.
Here’s what I’ve learned in our hundreds of miles together about training for a 5K with your baby.
Invest in a Good Jogging Stroller
I love my Thule Urban Glide 2, which is also a favorite of one of my mother runner heroines, Olympian Shalane Flanagan. It’s pricey, but usually included in the Nordstrom anniversary sale and versatile enough to also use as an everyday stroller.
Another popular choice with runners is the BOB Gear Rambler. (Facebook Marketplace and Nextdoor are popular places to search for used strollers if you’re not able to buy brand new. Getting new tires will go a long way!)
What makes a stroller “good” for running? Jogging strollers have three wheels instead of four for better maneuverability. Beyond the basic structure, look for a locking front wheel, hand brake, wrist strap, large tires, and smooth suspension. You want a stroller than can handle varying terrain while also giving your baby a safe ride.
Find a Group of Like-Minded Mothers
Our favorite runs are with other mothers and babies. They usually result in playtime or grabbing coffee together after the run. We trained for a 5K this spring with Fit4Mom White Rock and finished the training season in the fall.
Any runner will tell you the conversations and bonds developed while running together are extra special. The solidarity of motherhood amplifies those benefits.
Plus, running with a gang of other mothers and their strollers is seriously intimidating and inspiring to others! It also made getting to the 5K finish line extra fun because we were running with friends.
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Pack Whatever You’d Need for an Afternoon in the Park
Stroller storage is one of the major advantages of running with your baby versus running solo. I really enjoy having room for my water bottle and a place to throw my jacket after I’ve warmed up during the run. I’m also prepared for a mid-run diaper change and my baby’s sympathy hunger (watching Mami run really wears him out). Bringing plenty of snacks keeps him occupied for the times the rock of the stroller doesn’t lull him to sleep.
Make It a Memorable Time with Your Baby
Taking your baby out in the jogging stroller is a great excuse to explore Dallas’ many trails. I like to talk to my son about what we see along our runs.
Most recently, we’ve been fortunate to spot bald eagles flying overhead at White Rock Lake. I’m always open to stopping mid-run for an active flock of ducks or to check out something cool he spots along the trail.
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Give Yourself Grace
Seriously, you are pushing 50 to 100 pounds more than anyone running without a stroller. And you are showing your baby the value of exercise in the fresh air. If you were a fast runner before baby, don’t expect to match your times, even when running without the stroller.
Running with a stroller is also great strength training to make you faster if you plan to race without the stroller. It may take some time for your baby to get used to riding in the stroller, but stay positive. Experiment with the stroller seat recline, running at different times of day, and carrying different snacks or toys. I always keep a small teether clipped to the stroller strap.
Soon, we may graduate to running side-by-side, or at least with the help of a scooter or bicycle. In the meantime, I’m enjoying the time with our stroller and the extra arm workout I get from pushing my son.
Have you trained for a 5K with your baby? Share your experiences with me in the comments.