There’s no reason to let your running schedule go downhill once a little one comes along. With all the running strollers out there, there’s no shortage of ways to buckle the kid in and get running. Just like runners are uniquely passionate about speed, distance, race day and miles logged, that obsession seems to transfer over once there’s a baby in the mix. Talk to a group of running parents about what stroller they recommend and you’re bound to get a heated discussion, but three strollers are mentioned repeatedly.
What to Look For
Calum Neff holds the marathon world record pushing a stroller (2:31:21) and shared his knowledge and experience with us. “I always look for a stroller that is comfortable for my kid and me — when we both enjoy it, we are likely to get out more,” he says. “The stroller also needs to fit our lifestyle and cover all the demands and terrains: fast for running and agile for the store.” In addition, make sure to look for recalls on strollers before you buy.
A few safety features to look for include a wrist strap (similar to an ankle strap on a surfboard), a five-point harness system and enough suspension to handle the child and the road.
How to Use A Stroller While Running
Running with a stroller can take some adjustment. In runs pre-kid, you weren’t pushing an object in front of you that’s moving as fast as you are, if not faster. The weight of the stroller is something to take into account as you get used to it — you’re almost doing sled pushes, just with wheels.
“Start introducing the stroller into your shorter runs to give both you and your kid a feel for [the stroller]. Just like mileage and intensity, doing too much too soon could lead to injury, burnout or blowout — be sure to pack diapers,” Neff says. If you’re training for a race, integrate the stroller into your practices and workouts. “Expect the pace to be a little slower and maybe a few more stops than normal, but otherwise there is no reason not to continue to do what you would normally do. Efforts can be adjusted by following heart rate rather than pace, and time rather than distance.” To track heart rate we recommend the Garmin Forerunner 645.
As for physically running with it, “relax the grip!” Neff quips. “Too often we see parents with a double-handed death grip on the stroller. This is rarely needed unless you’re on a hill. Alternate hands and feel free to be dynamic on the bar — move laterally, not solely directly behind the stroller at all times.”
Thule Urban Glide 2
The Thule Glide is the stroller Neff set his world record while pushing, and it’s the stroller of choice for Pete Kostelnick, a Hoka One One athlete and holder of the fastest known time on the transcontinental run. “For serious running, the Thule Glide series seems to be the most durable and easiest to push. It comes easy to assemble and easy to stow in a car,” Kostelnick says. “It has three large inflatable tires that move with ease in a straight line, and can hop over cracks and rough surfaces better than other strollers.”
Caitlin Landesberg, the founder of Sufferfest Beer, is also a fan. “I can steer with one hand and have the other arm to help stay on pace/form,” she says. “I’ve found the shock absorbers are impressive too; my daughter can nap through my Presidio runs over rocks and tree roots. It’s 8 pounds lighter than the BOB, but its other qualities have surprisingly delighted me — how it packs in a trunk, good storage and sleek design.”
BOB Revolution Pro
The Revolution Pro is the top stroller within BOB’s offerings. While the brand does offer heavy duty strollers — there’s one called the Ironman — the BOB Revolution Pro has adjustable suspension and can hold up to a 75-pound child. “The latest BOB added the adjustable handlebar, making an otherwise good machine, great. Ample basket underneath for multiple balls, a foam roller and a full change of clothes,” Denis Cranstoun says, a former collegiate runner at South Carolina who runs with his 2-year-old daughter.
With four wheels, the Thule Cougar is an aerodynamic beauty that works for a variety of sports. When Jason Antin, a climber and runner sponsored by Merrell, takes his 19-month-old with him to hike the Colorado trail and through Rocky Mountain National Park, his pick is the Cougar. “We use the Cougar to bike and backcountry ski very frequently as well,” he says.
“[It’s] an awesome stroller. I ran with the double and have, on occasion, tossed three kids in it. Really sturdy and lightweight. It has great wheels and accessories (bike hook up is amazing, and there is also a hiking harness and cross country ski harness). Probably not a great city stroller because it isn’t small, but it is light and durable. I had it for a decade before passing it along to another family,” Joellen Valentine, a mom of three based in Boston, says.