Whether you’re carefully guiding your six-week-old infant around every bump in the sidewalk or looking to entertain your toddlers with a little fresh air, choosing a route to take with the stroller is a little different than running on your own. Read on for what you need to know when you have baby on board.
What Makes a Route Stroller-Friendly
So what do you need to look for, when planning a running route with a stroller? Remember to consider both the situation and the terrain:
Save the gritty route through the graffiti tunnels for when you’re running on your own – or better yet, with other adults. Same thing goes for active construction zones, bear territory, and that hill the Zoobombers fly down on their fixies. If nothing else, a baby is a wonderful distraction and you’re gonna need your wits about you to out-run the angry ostrich in that one field.
A few dips in the path are fine, but big hills become a huge challenge when you’re pushing a stroller! Going up can be more of a load than your body is conditioned to handle, and coming down can be dangerous for both you and the baby, as a stroller can be hard to control when it’s gaining speed fast.
This one can narrow down your choices, especially if you like to trail run. Obviously, the craggy rocky rough primitive trails you love to climb when you’re hiking are going to be off-limits to any stroller. But also consider the surface, especially if you want to move at a higher speed. Paved and packed dirt trails are usually smooth enough, but those with bark chips or gravel tend to be great for walking but too bouncy for running.
Wide enough path
Are you rocking the side-by-side double BOB? Then maybe the narrow sidewalk is not for you. Every time you make someone step into the gutter to get out of your way, an angel loses its wings.
If you’re running on the sidewalk next to a road, look for routes with fewer cars, moving at slower speeds, and where you don’t have to cross big intersections. Check out routes that pass through a school zone; the speed limit is lower and there’s often more attention paid to crosswalks than your average road.
No running in the road
Look, I know a lot of people are totally fine with running on the shoulder when there are no sidewalks. But consider this: More people are driving distracted than ever before. All it takes is a momentary distraction behind the wheel for someone to veer over the white line. Do you really want zero physical barrier between your kid and their car? Please don’t take the stroller on that route.
Tools you can use to map your route:
Most free running apps (MapMyRun, RunKeeper, Garmin Connect, Strava, etc.) have a mapping tool made especially for planning running routes. I like to open MapMyRun and turn on the setting to show Bicycle Paths. If a section of my route has no green line for bicycles, I turn on Satellite view and zoom in to that section. No sidewalks? We’re probably not going that way.
By far, your best tools to scope out a stroller-friendly running route are your own two eyes. Ideally, I like to drive the whole route beforehand to scope it out in person. If that’s not an option, proceed with caution.
Do you have any tips for stroller-friendly running? Leave a comment!