Our stroller advice is not conventional wisdom; in fact it is the inside scoop. We give you all those invaluable little details that people never point out until after you are committed. This is especially true when children are involved.
In this section, we provide you with tips and tricks so you will know what to expect before that first run. We learned this the hard way: from the direct experience of The Crew and our extended stroller family.
Maneuverability & Turning
Fixed wheel strollers cannot make sharp, sudden turns. Simple as that. To turn suddenly, you need to push down on the handlebar to lift the front wheel off the ground and turn on the back wheels. Although you will get better with practice, you cannot do this immediately.
When rolling over loose pebbles or gravel, it sometimes helps to lift the front wheel up (especially if they are swivel wheels). If you get stuck, try tracking the stroller back and forth until you get some traction. Wet grassy surfaces can also be a pain especially with double strollers.
If there is unequal weight (i.e. toddler on one side, infant on the other), some strollers tend to veer to one side. Try loading up the under-seat basket on the lighter side to balance out the weight. Equal weight on both sides of the jogging stroller really helps the maneuverability.
If you have a stroller with dual swivel wheels, make sure both are pointing in the same direction (and the right direction) before you attempt to go through a doorway or tight space.
Running with a jogging stroller is not the same as regular running. Pushing the stroller affects your stride and you will need to make some adjustments. To make matters worse, the parking brake bar across the rear axle affects your stride and you have to be careful not to step on it as you run.
Stretching is good stroller advice: before and after your runs. (I have pulled a muscle once or twice when forgetting to do this).
Pushing 50+ lbs of stroller and child up an incline is tough sledding. Some good advice is choose your routine carefully, especially if you are looking to regain your fitness level. Start slowly.
However, if you can manage, it will provide an excellent workout and tone your upper body muscles as well.
Trails & Off Road
Running on rough trails (with all terrain strollers) can be bouncy for baby, no matter what the manufacturers say about their shocks and suspension systems. Good stroller advice: start off by power walking as opposed to running.
Check out baby through the moon roof and see how sh is handling it. The condition of the trail and baby’s comfort should limit your speed. (Sounds obvious but you would be surprised at the nonsense that some Dads will attempt, and yes, it’s almost always the men).
Remember – start slowly, proceed carefully. Of course toddlers can handle a great deal more, and plus they let you know if things are getting rough.
One, Two or Three?
Truth be told, you will probably end up with more than one stroller: A true jogging stroller that you can actually run with, and a cheaper alternative to store up at grandma or in the trunk for emergencies. You do not need to overspend on the second one, but don not go too cheap either.
During the Ride
As your child grows out of infancy, good stroller advice is to find ways to entertain them during the run. Parenting becomes easier if you are prepared.
Our top choices are toys, music, and interactive games. For younger infants, small toys attached to the safety bar are useful. But they must attach, if not you will end up playing fetch as they get hurled in every direction.
In addition, you can even get speaker devices (e.g. Stroll-A-Tune which attach to i-Pods and walkmans. They fit onto the handlebar and pipe music into the stroller. For older ones, you point out interesting things to watch or play I spy, or other games which are a great bonding experience.
An outing in a jogging stroller usually works magic on infants. It calms them down and is a great stress and tension reliever for you. However, it ain’t necessarily so!
Some babies have little tolerance for strollers, and will scream until they are unbuckled. That is why a test-drive is good stroller advice, and so important.
You need to find out how baby will react before you buy, so you do not end up carrying her around during your run. Others fall asleep right away. Others are in between and have limited tolerance (so you will have to co-ordinate your runs with their nap time)
Also, when your toddler reaches a certain age, they will quickly figure out that there are more fun things to do outside the stroller than inside it! By the way, any older toddler worth his/her salt will soon figure out how to unbuckle the harness and escape. When you reach this point, your jogging stroller days (with him anyway) are over.
As soon as children learn that they can hurt each other, they will. Sounds harsh but it is true. In double strollers with side-by-side format, this translates into hair pulling, face smacking, rib poking, and teasing, you name it, our little guys have done it!
Expect this around the 13 to 15 month mark. You will just have to weather it as best you can.
Choosing an inline stroller helps somewhat, but those in the back will still reach forward to grab. (And with in-lines, there is always the squabbling around who gets the front seat.) There is no good stroller advice for this one except patience – welcome to parenting!
Why the heck will anyone not mention this? We are amazed! Strollers with air-filled tires require maintenance. Screws need to be tightened periodically, tires pumped, flats changed, seat inserts washed etc… Good stroller advice requires you to keep your stroller in a good state of repair. Learn to get handy with a screwdriver and wrench and keep them handy