Anyone asking is running with a stroller harder has most likely not run with a stroller. Yes. Absolutely. Running with a stroller is harder than running without one. Most people know this, but there are some definite benefits to be had as well.
Let’s ask another question… is exercise supposed to be easy? Think about it. We break down 7 reason’s it’s harder and how you can mitigate those to still make it an enjoyable experience.
The Hard Truth
There are positive points to a joint workout with you and baby. For starters, you can get your workout while taking care of your child at the same time. That’s a definite plus. But make no mistake, running while pushing a stroller is hard work.
Why Is Running with a Stroller Harder?
Strollers are extra weight, distraction, and affect your stride length and pace which causes overall less calorie burn over the same distance. Not to mention the baby and the extra stress that may cause in your workout.
Let’s break these down 1 by 1 and find out exactly why running with a stroller is harder than not.
1/ You’re pushing extra weight – stroller + baby!
When you’ve got a stroller and baby in tow, you’re pushing not just your own weight, but also the weight of the stroller and your child. This can make running harder and cause you to tire more quickly. While you can’t beat gravity and physics, there are a few ways to offset this extra weight.
First, make sure that you’re using a lightweight stroller. I can’t stress this enough. Specifically designed running strollers are much better than the old stroller your grandma handed down to you. We have a list of several options in our article on the best double jogging strollers.
Find a good one and use it.
2/ You can’t just blast your music and zone out… because, like, the baby
When you’re running with a baby, you can’t just listen to your music and zone out. You need to be aware of what’s going on around you.
This can be a good thing because it can help you stay more alert and focused. But it can also be a distraction, which can make running harder.
Some ways to offset this distraction are to choose routes that are interesting to you and to bring along toys or books for your child. If you’re able to, run with a friend so you can chat and take your mind off of the fact that you’re running with a stroller.
3/ You’re constantly adjusting your speed and stride to accommodate the stroller
Another reason it is harder is because it can affect your stride length and pace. The stroller can make it difficult to maintain a consistent stride, and you may find yourself slowing down when you should be pushing harder.
Keep both hands on the stroller and try to focus on your pace. This can be challenging, but at least it will give you the best shot at maintaing a pace you are use to sans-child.
4/ You have to be extra careful to avoid obstacles and potholes
When you’re running with a stroller, you need to be extra careful to avoid obstacles and potholes. This can be difficult, especially if you’re running in an urban area.
Try to choose routes that are well-maintained and have minimal obstacles. If you’re running in an urban area, be extra vigilant and try to avoid potholes and other obstacles.
5/ Running with a stroller can be stressful
Another reason running with a stroller is harder is because it can be stressful. This is especially true if you’re running with a young child.
Try to relax and take deep breaths. Remember that you’re doing this for yourself and your child and that it’s okay if things don’t go perfectly.
6/ You may not be able to run as fast or as far as you want
Finally, it can be difficult to run as fast or as far as you want. This is because you need to take the stroller into account, along with the naturally slowed gait. This may be an ego hit or simply a data point on your journey. Let it be the latter.
Try to find a balance between running for time and running for distance. If you’re able to run for a longer period, you may be able to make up for the fact that you’re not able to run as fast.
7/ You need to be prepared before you head out
No more just throwing on the stretch pants and hitting the trail. It’s time to plan! Will the stroller fit, can I get it there, are there stairs? Several things need to be thought out and planned out when going for a leisurely stroll with the stroller.
Try to find a few good routes and stick to them. While diversity is the spice of life, that isn’t necessarily the case when running as a new parent. Stick to the basics and you won’t regret it.
How Much Harder Is Running With a Stroller Than Without?
According to research, pushing a stroller significantly increases your VO2 levels after 30 minutes when compared to running without one.
Want more science? Here and here. Those two talk in more depth about the V02 levels and stride length.
Spoiler alert – they aren’t favorable.
All of this being said, successfully toting a stroller when you head out for your run is possible. But it’s important to be prepared before you head out.
Takeaways: Make sure you have a good stroller, that your child is comfortable, and that you know the route you’re taking. And remember to take things at your own pace.
So yes, running with a stroller is harder than running without one. But it’s also an incredibly rewarding experience that is highly recommended.
It can be hard to get into a rhythm, but once you find your groove it’s a very rewarding experience.
Other Common Questions: FAQ
Here are a few other common questions related to running with a stroller.
Do You Burn More Calories Running with a Stroller?
No. You burn fewer calories due to a decreased pace driven by the fact that it’s harder to run and take a wide stride when pushing a stroller.
Is A Jogging Stroller Worth It?
Yes. They are so much better than regular strollers when doing any sort of serious running. I would argue they are worth it to even use as regular strollers. And for the price, double-duty sounds great!
Check out some great jogging strollers here.
Is It Harder to Walk With a Stroller?
Surprisingly, yes. One study found that between 18%-20% more calories were burned while walking with a stroller than walking alone.
Are Stroller Walks Good for Babies?
Research has found that outdoor activities are great for babies and children alike. Playing outside helps foster creativity, increases coordination, and improves their ability to concentrate. Also, children love being outside.