Alysia Montaño isn’t just an Olympian and a six-time USA Outdoor champion in the 800 meters. The speedy elite athlete also happens to be a stroller running expert. Montaño, already the mom of almost 3-year-old Linnea, is expecting her second child in November. Stroller running has been a staple in training that allows her to bond with her daughter and maintain fitness during her pregnancy.
This past Sunday, Montaño, with the help of BOB strollers, led a group of runners through the Stroller Roller 5K in San Francisco. Using the new BOB Revolution Flex Lunar stroller, she raced through the hills of the city with her #BOBTeamSF group. Along the way, Montaño shared training tips and the importance of exercising with your children.
“This is just a way of having people recognize how deep the running community is, how important it is for parents to continue an active lifestyle to show their children that active lifestyle and how to include them in it,” she said.
To make the most out of your stroller runs, follow these expert tips from Montaño.
Forget about time
A stroller run is not the place to fret over pace. Pushing the weight of a stroller and a child is a huge full-body strength challenge. Start at a slower pace than you are accustomed to. Don’t be afraid to stop and walk if needed. Montaño modified many of her 5K interval workouts to include longer rest breaks once she started using her BOB stroller. The most important part of your run is just that you are out there moving with your child. Enjoy the experience together instead of obsessing over pace.
Be up for a challenge
Runners can do a lot more than just a slow recovery run with their stroller. Montaño posts workout challenges on both her Instagram page and YouTube channel to help inspire other runners. For her #BOBTeamSF group, she created various stroller-specific workouts including mile repeats, fartleks, hills, and a track workout. And if you want the ultimate challenge, sign up for a race that is stroller-friendly.
In addition to her challenges, Montaño and her husband Louis document their lives, including their stroller runs, on their channel The Montaño Life. She hopes to include strength training exercises runners can do with their entire family soon.
“He’s the magic behind the videos,” said Montaño. “I am the talent. I come up with the workouts and do the workouts and it’s family magic.”
Don’t forget about yourself
In the rush to get children prepared for stroller running with snacks and toys, parents often forget about their own needs. Montaño made it a point to remind her team to fuel themselves, as well as their children. “Because honestly you can’t be bonking when you’re trying to wrangle your kids and you’re running a 5K pushing a stroller,” she said. In addition to eating and drinking pre-run, be sure to pack snacks and water bottles in the stroller for both you and your little one.
Every parent knows how unpredictable a child’s mood can be. This certainly applies to stroller running. One moment they could be screaming with delight. Then the next second they are crying tears of frustration.
“The cool thing that I like to say is when they have their little meltdowns—when, not if—when they do, it’s also really interesting to think about where you are and going to where they are,” Montaño said. “When those meltdowns happen, that’s when you have to change it up like, ‘Okay we’re not doing 400 meter repeats anymore.’ ”
In addition to amending your workout, running parents can try involving kids in their workout, talking to them about their surroundings or offering up a snack. If nothing is making them happy, don’t feel bad about heading home and trying again tomorrow.
Runners don’t have to be as rigid about their workouts when their children are in tow. Instead Montaño suggests involving them in an interval workout. Ask your child to pick a spot in the distance—a sign, tree, mailbox, etc.—and tell them you’ll run to it. Once you make it, take a short break before having them pick out a new target.
Above all, stroller running should be a time to laugh and bond with your children. It brings them into your running community and shows them the importance of being active.
“It brings it back to the essence of activity in general,” said Montaño. “Being active and healthful can and should be fun. And it brings us back to the basics of life, which is movement. It can harness and bring positivity and goodness and good endorphins. It’s about taking that on and passing it on to your kids.”