Stroller Running is My Altitude

A year ago, I was living the high life (literally) by sleeping at altitude. Due to the change in the nature of my husband’s career, altitude is no longer in my existence, in that which I am truly grateful. Besides I don’t need altitude to improve my fitness.  I have the luxury of substituting another similar experience – the stress of the running stroller! I say stress because that’s what altitude is people – not a magic bullet- but a stress you must overcome to succeed. The stroller has always been here during the past few years throughout the resurgence of my running career, but only now the stroller weighs twice as much (thank you powerful HGH surging through Joanie’s body). Yet it could be worse – I am not pushing four to ten times as much weight as the original poundage I started with (such as those moms of 2 or 3 who have the double and triple jog strollers). Yes, my friend and fellow Van 1 Hood to Coaster Dorothy Beal, mom of 3, is a triple jog stroller pusher. Congratulations, I am a weany compared to you.

However, not to play it down, the single stroller is no joke. I challenge my fellow competitors to find a mom friend of theirs and willfully push that caboose keeping a normal cadence on their recovery days. It’s an art to make it successfully happen. Recover that is and push it. However, I don’t feel sorry for myself, and instead I have shifted my attitude to an appreciation for finding another tool to putting an edge on the competition. It’s hard work and creates the ability of feeling like you could fly on the days when you can ditch it. I have yet to successfully complete a race with one, but that could be on my list of future endeavors, as I have quite the confidence that I could hold my own against runner moms around the world.


Who needs to do another interval workout after their race? Coach Marcus didn’t hunt me down to get me back on the track after my recent steeple. I had my mini interval machine to tote on the cool down.

 For me, I can usually find 4 occasions during the week to escape the stroller run. When husband goes out of town, my non-stroller endeavors lower to a dismal 2-3 runs, in which 2 of those runs include a gut churning interval session, which can at times make me long for the stroller slug fest. Then again, it can work in reverse when I cringe thinking about pushing a stroller and learn to love each interval as it comes.


Thoughts of appreciation for less resistance as I accomplish some mile repeats with my ladies

Here are the perks:

It’s free babysitting. That’s a savings of at least $10 an hour or up to $1.25 per mile, not including drive time, showering, any stretching or strengthening.


Jojo helping mommy stretch after a nice run on the trails

The worst case scenario, when she is at her most stroller resistant state, you can usually trick her with sugar or a 10 minute show on your iPhone. The stroller is especially useful when your kid isn’t gonna make it til the usual nap time, going nutso when you try to put them back in bed and is way too tired to handle the next 4 hours without driving you insane.

It’s a running storage cart on wheels. There’s no needs for fuel belts as this puppy has 2 large size cup holders. It’s not a concern you’ll forget to pick up your jacket you tossed in the woods or any regrets if you ditched some warm clothes early in the run and end up freezing from an unexpected blast of rain. The clothes are safe in the friendly storage compartment and ready to be put back on.  If you’re not sure you had enough breakfast, you got water and some form of carbohydrate stashed in the bottom. No need for headphones because you got Pandora blasting in the visor deck. If for some reason you strain your hamstring in the middle of the woods, there’s no need to worry. You have a communication device and your wallet minus looking like a weirdo with some sort of runner fanny pack.

 Weather is not an excuse It is the perfect place for a kid to be when its pouring rain. How may that be? It comes equipped with this custom fit rain cover, which keeps your kid and your iPhone playing Pandora dry. This is a guaranteed way to entertain a toddler. I actually wish I was this toddler. I would love zooming around the Hollister trail at speeds up to 8 miles per hour with mud splashing beneath me and the sounds of pouring rain just over my head til I pass out from relaxation. Those poor kids who don’t have parents who run in Oregon. When the weather is bad they are likely stuck inside putting boogers on each other.

There's a baby under there somewhere

There’s a baby under there somewhere, much more cozy than the rest of those people

 It brings the wow factor you get whistled at, people cheer when you attempt to run up a hill on the berm at Nike, and you get people attempting to pick up the pace so they don’t get chicked and strollered at the same time.

 It’s like altitude training in disguise. Like altitude, a stroller run is a stress on the body, but what stresses can do is make you stronger when you are able to adapt. The problem is that some people assume all you need to get fast is get an altitude machine. I thought this myself in college. I was ready to go from sea level air my whole life to sleeping at 12,000 feet the week starting the week before Conference. Thankfully my boyfriend at the time would not allow me to borrow his tent.  Little did I know at age 19 that the gains aren’t made my sucking it up and gasping for air all night, but by being able to wake up the next day and function (aka run injury/illness free and not be so beaten down that your 400 speed is reduced to that of a grandma).

I eventually learned from these mistakes. As a wise old woman, I now know it makes no sense run as hard as possible just about every given day, there are no gains in impressing boys on your easy days (especially now that I’m married), and there is no use comparing my mileage to that of Running With the Buffaloes.

And so from ignoring those glaring mistakes, its no surprise that my raw 400 speed is about 67 all out. (I’ll retest that soon and give you an update. …. Yep 67. Pretty sure that’s where I’m stuck). Way to kill my speed attempted boy-impressor!

So I assume you’re not at the intelligence level of 19 year old Julia Rudd…

I just want to illustrate that a running stroller, like altitude is not a stress you can take lightly. That’s why I incorporate the low mileage plan. It makes no sense to push a 50 pound cart for more than 45 minutes for your recovery days. The true key is convincing your kid to sleep through the night so you can adapt. The key to that is I don’t know. Ask some other parent. Maybe then I could handle 60 minutes for recovery runs.

 Which brings me to my next topic – My business

I have a future career. Someday I will launch the Stroller Running Nannies of the NW. Anyone in the Portland metro area –  we take your kid for up to an hour run, you pay us. We get stronger at lower miles. Your kid gets fresh air, some chill time while they are out exploring the world, and an optional nap. You get some me time!

It will be a two-fold business. Here’s how it works:

✭My nannies and I would be experienced parents upgrading to a double stroller to encourage bringing their child to work so they don’t incur daycare costs. I get a cut from each run from the use of my nanny service.

✭The bulk of my clients would be the actual aspiring runner-parents in training on the single. The perks include –  ample coaching to nail their stroller running form down before their future kid weighs more than 10 pounds and it is too late as bad habits begin to form. The benefit- once they actually have their own tiny baby,  these nannies will also experience a “coming down” benefit after having been used to pushing the larger toddlers. Note this would be the same as training at Colorado and coming down to race at sea level. Their 8 pound light weight will allow them to get more miles in at a more enjoyable experience. Even better, they won’t let the excuses of having a new kid get in the way of “not having time to run”. They will know where to find quality used double strollers if they have more than one.

The rates are $3 per mile. This is the incentive for my nannies to be in shape. Can’t make too much money until you bring that threshold pace down. In this, they would sign up for my speed work class, which would be another way for me to offset costs of the expensive strollers.

Evolution of the Running Stroller since Summer 2012…


A lightweight at 3 months old…


Getting heavier.. after my first stroller mile under 6 minutes.


A completely fake smile as I was sucking the thin 8000 ft air and attempting to move up a hill in a forward motion… fastest mile let’s hope under 9!


At just below 0 degrees with the car seat attachment, there are no excuses to get out there as a new parent who needs to fit a run in…


Hand your kid over to your coach with care.. they don’t see the need to strap in a 9 month old during your track session.. as long as they are busy getting splits the baby should remain in place…

So before my business is launched, here’s some advice – if you are a runner (or have been in a previous life) and have a young child (or two) and you would like a possible hour of silence without turning on the TV, do yourself a favor and invest in a running stroller. It’s never too late. Even if you missed the easy-sub 10 pound baby stage, you can only gain if you alter your mileage to an appropriate stress level with a now 25 pound kid. At some point this kid will hopefully go to school and you’ll be stronger than ever if a second arrives. You’ll rarely have the “I don’t feel like running” feeling when a stroller- free moment arrives. You will literally drop a minute per mile, with minimal effort. Consider this cheaper than out of state relocation to Colorado or the costs of an altitude machine and running it for up to 16 hours a day. Both can be a vital asset to your training to boost your fitness if you allow yourself to adapt!

Has the steeple stroller event been run? If so, what is the record? It’s not that outrageous of a question. I’d need to brush up on my form/efficiency from my first practice session a few years ago…

steeplestrollerVideo Link here: Stroller Steeplechase Run Thrus

Thank you Mountain Buggy Terrain -highly recommended for running mamas and papas- going on 2 years of stroller love from the Webbs!



  1. […] Our Dogger stroller is designed to give you and […]

  2. […] I used to be awed back in my pre-baby days watching Dathan Ritzenhein’s wife Kalin pushing around her double stroller, sometimes around the wood chipped trail on the Nike campus, thinking “that mom is a beast”! (Runner-up inspiration definitely my friend from back East – Dorothy Beal – who raced with her triple). Once I had my own baby, with a little experience and practice, the stroller thing became an afterthought. Fellow runners and onlookers assume it is hella-hard and often on my easy days people will cheer me on. It’s all about coordinating baby schedules and putting in a little extra effort (typical weight around 60 lbs with supplies and child, but obviously it has wheels so it’s not like pushing around a cement block).  As long as route doesn’t include extreme hills, altitude or wind, it’s not too tough (plan to add ~20 to 30 secs/mile to your pace). At first I was annoyed by it, but I eventually realized it could be more of an asset as a training weapon to make you stronger (see my previous post STROLLER RUNNING IS MY ALTITUDE). […]

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