When I was pregnant, I really did not think I would buy a jogging stroller. I didnâ€™t check â€˜em out at the store; I didnâ€™t compare pricing; I didnâ€™t talk to my running mom friends for feedback. The idea of a jogging stroller was not very appealing to me because running has always been me time. I thought, â€œHow can I have my alone time if baby is with me? I donâ€™t want to worry about pushing a stroller â€“ I just want to RUN!â€
Side note: Since Iâ€™ve been talking up our horrible front lawn a lot lately, I want to assure you that is not our yard. That yard is beautiful. And green. Thus, not my yard.
Anyway, so I thought I didnâ€™t want a running jogging, and then Henry arrived. I promptly realized that it is very, very difficult to find exercise â€˜me timeâ€™ four times a week and find that time during daylight hours. So I decided to get a running stroller.
Actually, DadHTP offered to buy me a stroller for my Christmas present. This was very nice and extremely generous. I buy many baby things used; it was so exciting to get open a brand new stroller box. After much debate, I decided on the BOB Ironman stroller, which is designed for long-distance running on streets and sidewalks (FYI â€“ I linked to the BOB website, but all BOB strollers are much cheaper on Amazon.com!).
Let me start off by saying there are â€˜jogging strollersâ€™ and running strollers. My City Mini (our beloved everyday stroller) is made by Baby Jogger but it is not a running stroller. Additionally, there are lots of three-wheeled strollers that are not running strollers. The main difference is that true running strollers have a hydraulic system so that when you hit a bump, baby is not thrown wildly about.
There are running strollers for trails and running strollers for streets, but one of the biggest dividers is the front wheel â€“ is it fixed or not? The BOB Ironman has a fixed wheel; the BOB Revolution, for example, does not. What does this mean? Basically, a fixed wheel makes the stroller more stable â€“ it canâ€™t hit a pot hole and veer to the side suddenly. A fixed wheel also makes the stroller much more difficult to turn. Running strollers without a front fixed wheels drive like a regular stroller â€“ you can turn in tight spaces and turn quickly.
Lots of people warned me not to go with the Ironman because of the fixed wheel. However, I thought long and hard about it and decided that the fixed wheel was the way to go for me. I am SO glad that I got a fixed wheel running stroller. Yes â€“ it is much harder to turn. To turn, you have to either smack the side of the handlebar or lift the entire stroller by slightly tipping it back. Turning with a fixed wheel is a skill that takes time to develop, but now, I donâ€™t even think about it. I really value the Ironmanâ€™s stability. I love just being able to push the handlebar and know that the stroller isnâ€™t going anywhere but straight. Although turning requires extra effort, I think the fixed wheel makes the overall run a lot easier.
Speaking of the handlebar, the Ironman has two additional features that I love: first, there is a hand break, which is very useful for running down hills.
There is also a hand strap. This prevents the stroller from accidentally getting away from you.
Another great thing about the Ironman: STORAGE! There is a basket underneath the stroller that easily holds my jacket and more; there is also a mesh pouch on the back of the stroller that can hold a water bottle. Kristien gave me an additional water bottle attachment (you can see it in the hand break photo) that holds two large water bottles and has a zippered pouch for keys.
Other odds and ends: The stroller collapses really easily â€“ you grab two special bars and press down, and then you flip it shut using a pull on the seat. It is not very compact when folded, but considering the size of the wheels, thatâ€™s expected. The Ironman comes in two colors â€“ yellow and blue â€“ but I opted for yellow because I wanted to be as visible as possible to motorists. Henry seems really comfy in the seat, too. He generally hates being strapped into seats but doesnâ€™t seem to mind the Ironman as much.
My one and only complaint about the Ironman is the sun shade. While I like the two large plastic windows (so you can peek at baby), the shade doesnâ€™t come down far enough so Henry often gets blasted in the face by the sun. Other Amazon.com reviewers say the same thing; itâ€™s definitely a fault in the strollerâ€™s design. However, I also have the additional rain cover attachment (which I keep in the bottom basket just in case it starts to drizzle); this provides a little extra shade.
So â€“ whatâ€™s it like to run with a stroller?
Well, for one, itâ€™s really hard. The stroller weighs 23 pounds, and Henry was 16.5 pounds when I began to run with him. Pushing almost 40 pounds up Charlotteâ€™s hills makes 3 miles feel like 6. My arms are often sore after running with Henry. The longest weâ€™ve run together is 6 miles; once I did a 6 miler, dropped him off with Kristien, and did another 2 for a total of 8. I thought I was going to pass out by the end! That being said, training for my half marathon with the stroller was GENIUS because I ended up being much stronger and faster on race day than I felt throughout training.
Secondly, from an emotional standpoint, I love running with Henry. When I was pregnant, I just didnâ€™t understand that I would almost always want to be with Henryâ€¦ even when Iâ€™m running! It is so fun to take Henry out in the stroller and do our miles together. He has started babbling more and more, and I like to listen to him talk while I run. I just canâ€™t wait until Henry knows how to say things like, â€œFaster, momma! Faster!â€ when I push him up a hill. <3
I know Iâ€™m super biased, but how cute is Henry?! Soooo cute.
I often say that I would go crazy without my running stroller. Itâ€™s true. The Ironman is the best gift that I ever received; I use it all the time, it gives me so much flexibility in my schedule, and it allows me to continue my passion for fitness even though Iâ€™m a mom.
Do you have a running stroller? What do you love and dislike about your stroller?