Many competitive runners prefer to run without the encumbrance of a stroller. “It messes with my form,” they say. “I can’t run fast with it,” they say. “My running is my me-time,” they say. And, well, they have a point. Running with a stroller is not all sunshine and rainbows.
There’s the inevitable sprint-to-the-car-with-the-screaming-hungry-infant-stroller run.
And the run-an-extra-two-miles-searching-for-the-priceless-hand-knit-hat-that-the-kid-chucked-out-of-the-stroller run.
Or the OMG-when-did-this-route-go-all-uphill stroller runner.
Even so, I love stroller running (most of the time). Here’s why:
1. It means I have more opportunities to run! If I’m running with the stroller that means I get to run during daylight hours. If it’s my only run of the day that means sleeping in! But it also gives me a lot of flexibility. I can do a run in the early morning and maybe a shake-out with the stroller later in the day. If I have time to kill, say waiting for a car repair or a big kid to be done with an activity, bring the stroller and run around until it’s done.
2. It’s fun. Want to feel like a kid again? Run with one. I love talking about birdy tweets and looking for cool-to-toddler sites along our routes. Normally I would judge the people with bizarre lawn ornaments, but with my 2-year-old these are what we live for; we love the random elephant in the weird guy’s yard! And never ever have I been so excited to see a squirrel, or stop to pet horses or explaining the ins and outs of chickadees than when pushing my kids on a run. Who doesn’t need a little more joy in her life?
3. It can be less stressful and more bad ass than running alone. I find a run with the stroller means that I don’t have to rush back to rescue a stressed out husband or stop a babysitter’s meter from ticking. We can run at whatever pace I feel like running and take our time. I can get in an extra mile or some post-run exercises without worrying about my me-time running out. And passing people with it? Priceless!
4. It’s outside and easy to schedule. With kids my choices for getting a non-stroller run in are waking up in the middle of the night to get it in before everyone wakes up, cashing in precious watch-the-kids-after-a-long-day-of-work chips with my husband, forking over $$ if I can even scrounge up a babysitter, or the treadmill. While the non-treadmill options are more plentiful, they are also much higher in degrees of difficulty to execute. So, often, the treadmill wins. But with the stroller, I rarely have to use the treadmill for non-weather related purposes. No wheeling, dealing or no-sleeping required to get outside!
5. It’s an important lesson for my kids. When my kids come with me to run, they learn it is important to me to stay fit and healthy, to pursue excellence for myself, to stick with a plan (a training plan), to chase my dreams and to have some fun. It’s a lesson in values: health; fitness; excellence; nature (we usually run at one of the wonderful nature-y parks around); family. Perhaps more importantly, they learn that I have needs, desires and dreams and that they are as important as my children’s happiness. So when my kids grow up they will respect other people’s needs, desires and dreams and feel like it’s normal to pursue their own.
Not bad for $375 and worth the occasional judgy looks from strangers who think you’re torturing the tantrumming child you’ve restrained and forced to go along with you as you selfishly exercise.
How do you feel about stroller running?