For the past eight months, I have not been able to run as consistently as I would like. It’s hard to find the time to get a workout in with a young baby in the house. There are so many obstacles that make it difficult and few opportunities for free time.
For instance, we have a treadmill in the basement, but it is a consumer level treadmill that is pretty loud when Running at a worthwhile pace. It would definitely wake the baby up if I tried to use it while he was sleeping (his room is directly above the treadmill). It is also too loud to use and feel comfortable with him being in the same room.
Workout videos are hard to use too. We are trying to avoid screen time for the baby so exercising while he is in the same room doesn’t work. And his room is not far from the living room so I haven’t wanted to risk waking him while working out since there can be a lot of movement and jumping around in some of them. The only way, until now my wife and I have been able to work out is if both of us are home and we take shifts. But this hasn’t been very easy either.
A half-hour workout is much longer than a half hour when you account for stretching, snacking and showering after finishing up and all those activities are necessary. If both of us wanted to work out it is basically a two-hour commitment minimum so we can get everything in comfortably. Finding the right timing with the baby feeding and napping has been tough. Plus we have also had to manipulate the timing so my wife and I could eat and workout without starving ourselves first.
The Running Stroller
Finally, two days ago, things changed for the better. The weather cooperated enough to do something we both have been looking forward to since the summer, though I got the first chance. I took the baby out for a run with me by pushing him around in the running Stroller.
We have a Chicco Activ3 Running Stroller and we finally had the right combination of elements in place to put it to use. Living in New England we have had to wait for the weather to be warm enough and we had to wait for our son to be old enough for it to be safe.
It was a sunny day approaching fifty degrees with a little bit of wind. I was dressed in shorts and a t-shirt with a running jacket over the top. My son was bundled in a nice fleece suit over the top of his clothes. We drove from our house down the road a bit to a beach parking lot that is very near a semi-private section of road. A few minutes later we were running (and riding) along the 2.75 mile long out and back from the beach parking lot to a lighthouse. Needless to say, it was a beautiful run. It was shorter than my normal runs but a perfect distance and setting to try out the stroller and see how my son liked the ride.
It turned out to be a really fun run. I stopped to check on my son a few times along the way to see how he was doing. Each time he seemed to be enjoying himself. He had an arm resting on the side and was looking around, smiling occasionally. Not crying.
As for the stroller, I was surprised by how smooth it rode over the pavement. There were several speed bumps along the route, at which I slowed when I approached, but they didn’t affect the rhythm we had going very much. At around 27 pounds and my son near 20 pounds, I was pushing close to 50 extra pounds in front of me while I was running. It was definitely more effort but it wasn’t that bad. I averaged a pace of around 7:45 per mile which I was very pleased with. I had expected a bigger drop from my usual casual pace for shorter runs but it wasn’t too bad. I am definitely looking forward to trying a 5k while pushing the stroller. There is one on Father’s Day in a neighboring town that I am definitely hoping to sign up for. Looking at last year’s finish times, my son and I could easily be top 20 and probably the first stroller to finish.
I was also pleased that, aside from not pumping my arms, my form did not seem to suffer.
Some other notes about the stroller:
There is definitely a little learning curve but as I mentioned before it is still fairly easy. The biggest thing I noticed was a tendency for the stroller to drift a little side to side as I pushed. I don’t know if it was because I was off-center or if I have a stronger push with one leg versus the other or if there was a slight slope in the road. Regardless of the reason, I felt I was able to adapt to it over the first half of the run.
I find that I really appreciate the versatility of the Activ3.
When we bought the stroller we did so because we wanted a runner stroller and it was compatible with the Chicco system which was what he had decided on for a car seat. We didn’t look specifically for the best running stroller. Despite not taking the time to do that, I think we ended up with a good one. It is adaptable in that it is compatible with the car seat for a rear facing option or the baby can be strapped in the forward facing section.
It also has a wheel lock for the front wheel. This allows the wheel to swivel when walking casually, but be locked in straight while running where sudden turns can be dangerous with a swiveling wheel. The rear wheel lock (parking brake) is also conveniently located on the handle. This gives you the freedom to run without fear of accidentally stepping on the brake.
As I finish this post, I wonder if there are places to try out running strollers? They are a bigger investment than running shoes which you can usually try on and see how they fit. With running strollers, you really have to rely on reviews from other users unless you know someone who will let you push theirs around for a little while. I am not looking to replace our stroller anytime soon, in fact with my limited knowledge, I would recommend it. But for people who care more about the running stroller than the compatibility with other accessories someplace like that would be helpful.