Having kids should not be an excuse for why you stop running. True, children make sticking to a regular running routine more difficult, but there is no reason they should deter you from running altogether.
Shortly after we found out we were pregnant with our first child, I started researching baby joggers / jogging stroller. I wanted to make our son part of my workout, not something I just had to work around. My excitement for running with him the day he was born was palpable. To my dismay, my wife informed me that, “the recommended age to run with an infant is six months…”
Three days after I completed the Twin Cities Marathon, my son turned six months. Still recovering, but determined to run together, we christened the Baby Jogger City Elite with an easy 3 mile run around Minneapolis. It was heaven!
I have now spent 4 months running with him, and realized some of the things I have adapted to while running with the Baby Jogger. Three things in particular have made me a stronger overall runner.
I Am More Aware
As an urban runner, I hate stopping for cars. They break my physical and mental flow. Unless there is a car directly in front of me, I sprint across intersections regardless of the light.
You cannot do that with a baby jogger.
When I have my son in the Baby Jogger, I am naturally more protective, cautious and aware of my surroundings. I wait for lights, and plan “our” workouts in areas with as little traffic as possible. This is good practice when I am not running with the Baby Jogger. Not only do I wait at yellow lights and stay away from cars now, but I pay closer attention to my own body and what other runners are doing around me.
I Get a Better Workout
Pushing 40 extra pounds is not easy. Even on flat ground, every run with the Baby Jogger feels like a hill workout. Pushing him up, (and then down) an actual hill is 10 times as hard. I love it though, because I know I’m developing leg muscles in ways they have not been developed before. The added resistance training helps me feel faster when I run without him.
Running downhill is even more challenging because it is so taxing on your quads. If you are not running controlled, you have to forcibly slow yourself down to avoid a wipe out. This wastes precious energy and could cause an injury.
With the Baby Jogger, I am learning how to stay in control at all times. This is making me more efficient and helping me control my body in ways that I have not had to before.
I Have Gained Better Form
Holding the bar is by far the hardest thing about running with a Baby Jogger. To compensate, I have founds ways to make sure the rest of my body is in perfect alignment. At first I would hunch over, keeping both hands on the cross-bar. Now, I run one-handed, the other pumping freely in perfect plane with my body.
It becomes obvious really quick when your form is out of whack with a Baby Jogger. I have been able to use this to my advantage, employing the same techniques when I run alone. Stand tall, bent slightly forward at the waist, feet landing directly below and arms pumping parallel to my body create a more efficient, faster, stronger run.
Get a Baby Jogger!
If you can, I HIGHLY encourage you to get a baby jogger. It will enable you to continue to run while spending quality time with your child. You won’t be disappointed!