Thursday, April 23, 2009

Finally: Jogging Strollers

Here are the questions I think you need to answer before dropping any serious change down on a jogging stroller:
  • Do you really need one? If you aren’t planning on logging serious hours on it, it may not be worth it. You can get usually get away with using one of those hybrid-type strollers. A lot of people also have a jogging stroller gathering dust in their basement—maybe you can borrow?

  • Will it ever be folded up? How small? This turned out to be the clincher for us; the only stroller that folded FLAT was the Dreamer Design, and since we have to haul our stroller up very narrow basement stairs every single time it’s used, that was our only option. I’m not sure if any other brand folds like that yet—we got ours five years ago. If you’re NEVER going to fold it, you will be able to spend less, since that’s the most expensive part of a stroller mechanism.

  • How far do you run? The farther you go, the more a slightly out-of-true stroller will bother you, and you might want a really good one. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter that much.

  • Where do you run? If it’s not over boulders or cobblestones, don’t worry about any fancy or extra shocks. They add weight and cost, and babies/kids usually enjoy the ride more if they’re jounced around a bit anyway.
Just about every jogging stroller comes with the same basic setup, but there are a couple of extra things that I couldn’t do without:
  • A truly adjustable sunshade—with the fixed ones, you inevitably end up needing some kind of complicated blanket-draping setup.

  • Enough room for clothes/snacks/drinks—unless you have the mellowest kid on the planet, you’ll need that stuff.
And finally, a piece of advice with older kids: Unless it’s an emergency, don’t ever get them out of the stroller until the end of the run, no matter how bad they get. Once they know it’s an option, it’s all over.

The floor is open for recommendations.

13 comments:

Julie said...

Thank you for this! I'm especially interested in recommendations for strollers that will withstand trail running — I run in a park that has a bark path, but there are plenty of tree roots, small stones, etc. to negotiate.

EJW said...

I ran a marathon when my kid was 10 months old and I found the jogger to be worth every penny. But that's a lot easier to say since I got a $400 jogger on Craig's List for $150, with tags still on it.

These are the #1 piece of unused baby equipment, so don't buy new. I guarantee there's a great one for sale in your neighborhood, right now, no matter where you live.

The other nice thing we like about it is that we live in Wisconsin and taking walks in the winter was a lot easier with all-terrain tires. Mountains of snow? No problem! Icy sidewalks? No problem!

We have a BOB with a fixed wheel, so it's a true jogger, not a hybrid, but I use it all the time and love it.

And yes, my son loves the mesh cup holders.

Zombie Mom said...

I run trails - rocky, steep mountainous- so I love the BOB- but I bought it used on Craigslist...

It allowed me to train and lets me hike on rugged turf...

Its not very foldable- its still pretty big... but given that my shortest runs are 3-5 miles its worth the hassle..

L. said...

I mentioned in an earlier comment that I had just decided on a BOB double stroller (have a 2-yo, expecting a second in May). A $75 old-model single Baby Jogger has served us very well over the past couple years. I'm a very slow runner who doesn't go far, but decided to upgrade for several reasons: 1) we live in a very small city where the BOB can double as an about-town stroller, especially in the winter; 2) we didn't have a lot of other big expenses this time around; 3) a double is unwieldy enough as it is, so I cared more about how easy it was to push and use.

I gotta say--my parents gave us a single Phil & Ted's when the first child came along, and I've barely used it. If I had only known how spectacular the BOB was back then, I would have invested in one and loved it.

The Duallies are not easy to find on the local Craiglist; in fact, all I found were posts by people looking for them. I did find one for 20% off (check out the Baby Bargains forums for posts about deals) and hope this one will hold a good value for resale.

You are so right about the sun shades. The one on the Baby Jogger sucks and I hate doing that blanket thing.

Denise said...

I would highly recommend borrowing someone's stroller for a month or two while you decide if you and your child are compatible co-joggers. My older boy would only last about a mile in the jogging stroller. The younger one just screamed the whole time. I used the stroller quite a bit for walks through town (not sure why they liked that better--improved scenery?) but I only ran with them when I was desperate for a run and had no other options.

r3 said...

And one more suggestion that clearly won't be an option for some--consider leaving the baby and kids at home for that 30 minutes to an hour you run. That's with someone watching them, of course. I jogged with my son (with a cheap stroller that worked fine) but found that it really inhibited me. I like being able to swing my arms. So I eventually just said to my husband, "do you mind? I really need to go for a jog."

DoctorMama said...

r3 -- ooooohhhh, yeah. I only use mine when I HAVE to. It's better than not running, but ...

E. said...

There's a mom in our neighborhood who carts a kid who looks to be at least five, or maybe a really big four, all over in her jogging stroller. He's definitely too big to always be in a stroller. (I swear I've never seen them both walking - he's always folded into that stroller.) I've wondered whether there's some weird control thing going on, or whether walking is her only exercise or release, so she insists on being able to walk at an adult pace. But now I wonder if she's just trying to get her money's worth...

Joy said...

E -- often bigger kids with disabilities that don't allow them to walk independently will use strollers for as long as they can fit rather than switching to a wheelchair right away, as it's cheaper, lighter, easier to manouever, etc.

Annika said...

Dear DoctorMama,
Just wanted to send you a note to tell you that as of today I have been running for over 3 months, THANKS TO YOU! I started in January and I was slow! Now I can run 3.5 miles without stopping (and I consider that a total victory). The most surprising part: I really like it.

I have worked myself up to a 12 minute mile and now I want to know if I should add speed or distance.

Also, what is your take on heart rate monitors? I am tempted to get one but only because I want to know how many calories I am burning. Do you use one? Any advice?

Thanks,
Maggot-Annika

Baby Jogging Strollers said...

Would like to take your baby with you while exercising, then Baby Jogging Strollers are a must have baby accessory for the family.

Anonymous said...

I am looking for one for my sis who is diabled....under 4 feet tall and about94 pounds.....any suggestions as to one to look into for her?

Muntaha said...

I've got a travel system but i've now decided it's too big and bulky. I've narrowed it down to a petite star zia or baby jogger mini as they both fit in my mini and lie flat. Which would you recommend. The zia fits in the mini perfect but feels a little flimsy, the jogger fits without the parcel shelf but feels sturdier and is so easy to collapse? Any suggestions.Thanks!