- A front fixed wheel. Some strollers had the ability to be free (best for walks and steering) or locked into a fixed position. Committed joggers said the permanently fixed wheel was firmer and safer for running.
- Lightweight. A light stroller was much easier to push for all terrains and inclines and rolled much more smoothly. This was also desirable for lifting it into cars etc.
- Suspension. This was mandatory for joggers going off road (and there were a few runners who took their stroller literally cross country) but also desirable for urban pram joggers.
- Collapsibility. A stroller that was easy to fold up and open was highly regarded. A model that could be opened and closed with one hand was a great feature for parents with small babies that needed to be held as the stroller was opened and closed.
- Even weight distribution and comfort of child. A baby that is comfortable and relaxed in the stroller is going to be happy to be onboard and the evenness of weight distribution in the stroller is going to be more comfortable for the pusher as well. Checking the harness, ease of release etc is also important.
- Adjustable handlebar height. A jogging mum with height of 160cm is going to have a different handlebar requirement from a dad of 190cm and a handlebar that adjusts will enable all users, whatever their preference to be comfortable.
- Adjustable back seat. Many babies (particularly sleeping ones) and newborns need a more recumbent seat than a bub who is looking about and enjoying the scenery. The ability to adjust the seat to suit the passenger addresses this.
- Handbrake. A handbrake for sudden stops and controlling descents was a great safety feature.
- Wrist strap. The addition of a wrist strap enabled joggers to push the stroller ahead but still retain control if they needed to make a sudden stop or detour. Pushing ahead is a feature of pram jogging and the wrist strap was a very popular request.
- Mountain bike wheels. Generally speaking these tyres will be a smoother ride and give better suspension. Allied to this is making sure that the tyres are fully inflated.
There are many different makes and models of jog strollers on the market, and each have their merit. The Mountain Buggy Terrain (or Urban) received many ticks, as did the BOB Ironman. Kate from our run group had high praise for the Baby Jogger City Elite. One of the features she particularly liked was the magnet fastening system, rather than Velcro which could wake up baby. Most stroller owners had purchased their pram online, some opting for second hand.
When to take baby out for a jog? Two factors are at play here: firstly when the mother feels ready (and this varies from woman to woman) and secondly when the parent feel s comfortable taking baby out into the environment. Immunization, weather and support for a newborn are some of the factors at play here. Some babies take their first outing at 3 weeks, for others it is 6 months.
A great article we found when preparing this story is from Total Running Performance and Fitness. Click here to read the article “Running with Baby: Is Baby Ready for the Front of the Stroller?
One thing’s for sure, when parent and baby are comfortable with their jog stroller the world is there to explore and maybe even take part in a few running events if they like!
This post was a feature story on The Partnerunning Show. Click here and listen to the Ask Sue segment (20 minutes and 55 seconds into the show).