Where to Jog or Walk with a Stroller
Archived Q&A and Reviews
I'm looking for some hiking/walking trails that are friendly for the little ones. In other words, we'll have stollers, as the older one (21 mos) gets too tuckered out after a while. We're open to all parts of the Bay Area. I heard there is a nice one over by the Stanford area but hoping to also find some closer to home (East Bay). We want to start enjoying the nice weather! Thanks for any suggestions! momhb
The Stream Trail in Redwood Regional Park is great for little ones. Flat, paved part way, and with bathrooms, picnic spots, climbing trees and even a playground along the way. It starts out through an open meadow area, and then goes into the redwoods along a beautiful creek. Great for a stroller, bikes or scooters. Go into the park at the Redwood Road gate. (From 13, take the Redwood Road exit, head up hill, cross Skyline, and then go down the other side and look for the entrance to the park). We've had a lot of fun there with our family over the years! Alice
There's a nice paved trail arouhnd Lake Temescal. Also, Redwood Park at Skyline Gate has a wide, unpaved trail going off to the left from the entrance that is wide and smooth enough for strollers. In Contra Costa County, there is the Iron Horse Trail and the Canal Trail, both long and paved. The Shoreline trail along the Bay is another alternative, going from Central Avenue in El Cerrito (the trail actually starts closer to Oakland than this, but I'm not remembering exactly where) to Richmond. I'm sure the East Bay Regional Parks can give you details on where to find these as well as other trails in the East Bay. Linda
I have spent the first 12 months of my baby's life with my child. Literally. Every moment. I have not yet hired a sitter, and plan to get on that, nor do I have a great support system. My husband is not particularly helpful in looking after our child. While I have enjoyed almost every minute, the difficult times have sent me seeking solace in chocolate. I was a little overweight when my baby was born. Now I feel quite a bit over where I would like to be. While I plan to find more support -- beginning with a sitter, and perhaps fix my situation at home in other ways (Lord knows how I am gonna tackle that one!) -- one thing I need to do to start feeling good is lose some weight. I plan on changing my eating habits, and I want to get out and walk more with my baby. I'd also like to run. I'm not a runner, but I have a stroller that could be used for it. I have the time, and I have the baby. My goal is to lose weight and get out a bit. I don't care about being a good or fast runner as much as I care about losing weight, having fun, and making it reasonably enjoyable for my little one. I wonder if anyone has advice for a beginning runner. Is it better if I jog first? Run fast and rest when I need to? Go short distances until my baby gets used to it? Have parents found a certain time of day to be easier with kids, to make it part of a routine? Have you found that a certain amount of time in the stroller is ideal? Or, is there a certain amount of time that it feels like too much for the baby? Any other tricks to keeping the baby entertained? I would really appreciate any general advice. I see you out there running with your babies! You look healthy, and it looks like it could be fun. Thank you for any ideas you can share! Hoping to get Healthy
I've had a great time running with my son, mostly between the ages of 6 mos - 1 1/2 years. He's 2 now and gets a little impatient with long runs in the stroller, unless I plan a run that includes several fire stations and construction sites. Our best time has been in the mornings, but it probably depends on you and your kid. Don't forget to bring snacks, toys, and water/juice for your baby.
When I started running several years ago, I ran for about half an hour and was sore for a week. The next week I tried again and was sore for 5 days. After a few weeks of this, my body grew used to the effort and I was able to happily run several times a week. Depending on your fitness and experience, you might want to start with 30 minutes of run/walking and gradually increase the amount of running. Several websites (like runnersworld.com) have some programs for beginning runners. Good luck and have fun! Kevin
I took up running over 5 years ago ( in honor of my 40th b- day). I played softball in my youth and hiked alot, but never considered running until a friend suggested it. I was 5'2'' , 140 pounds-- not hugely overweight... but I certainly don't have a runner's body, either. I was skeptical, but decided to give it a try, mostly because I had a friend to do it with. We started by running a minute or so, then walking a minute or so. Run, walk, run, walk. Then after a week, we started to run 2 minutes, walk 1 minute and so on. Every week we'd add just a bit more. We settled into a pace that felt comfotable for us-- which is about 10 minute miles, sometimes a bit faster. You may need to be faster or slower. At first, our whole outings were about 30 minutes, and over time we stretched that as well, although we made a special point to do one ''long run'' each weekend. We found that once you can run for 20 minutes, there's little difference in running for 40 minutes! Now, we still run a 3.5 mile route 3 or 4 times a week, and an 8 mile one on Sundays.
I think it is important that you do it regularly. 4 days a week, at least. It also helps to have a set route to follow ( we just run from our houses, and have a set route in the neighborhood that we follow. Everytime we made the length a bit longer, I'd drive it again in the car to see exactly how long the run was! I needed constant reinforcement and praise!!!). We did not do it with babies-- we did it at 6:30 A.M., before our spouses had gone to work, and we let them deal with the kids. You may not have that support, but it is REALLY helpful if you do. We also entered a few 5 and 10 K ''races''. The Bay Area has an extensive running community , and that can be very encouraging as well. Most importantly-- find a friend to do it with, if you can. The hardest part is just making yourself do it, and having someone waiting for you is often the final kick you need to make it happen.
Set a reasonable goals for yourself, try to improve very gradually to avoid injury and just make yourself get out each day! I have never found anything that is as good of a payoff ( in terms of sweat and burning calories) than running. Plus, we go get coffee every Sunday after the long run and it's nice time for myself. - once a novice, now a veteran
I would suggest trying a run after the baby's morning nap, and just jogging. You can work your way up over time in terms of distance. Do what feels right for you -- that pushes you a little, but so that you still feel like you would be interested in going again the next day. Another idea is Baby Boot Camp, www.babybootcamp.com. They teach classes at local parks (Lake Temescal, Berkeley Marina) specifically for moms with little ones in strollers, and they have a series of classes that get progressively harder, so you could work your way up over time. Typically they include some running and some specific muscle work with resistance bands. Good luck! Jen
First of all, see if you can negotiate one hour's time away with your husband watching baby. Good bonding for them, a little time for you.
On running, I go out with my little one around Lk. Merritt or up in Redwood Park, let him play then sit him down in the jogger (not always so easy) with a toy/snack and have a short jog. He's older now, so I can promise him swing-swing after the run. For starts, walk a quarter mile, jog a quarter mile, walk/jog, etc...If you have time, an hour + walk is very good for the metabolism. As a matter of fact, get the baby in the stroller and do a long brisk walk to get started. I like going out early, and the rest of the day is more relaxed. Jogathon
Well kudos to you for wanting to get into shape when you have ample excuses for not having the time! I know you were asking for advice from women who run with a stroller and I do not. I did not exercise until my child was almost five years old, and as a woman over the age of 40 who had never exercised, I wasn't sure I had it in me to run. The experience has been so positive for me, that I wanted to offer my encouragement.
My advice is the same if you run with a stroller or without: start slowly. Trying to run too fast or too long will most likely result in discouragement, injury or both. Do a google search on ''learn to run'' programs and you should come up with one that will work for you, like this one: http://www.clubmom.com/display/234787
Running for many of us is not easy and I hated it for the first two years but the more I ran, the more I started to enjoy it. After five years, I have learned that it's almost always a challenge the first few miles! I have just learned to accept that running will always be hard but the rewards are worth it.
More unsolicited advice: no one exercise will give you everything you need to be fit. All women should do weights and some flexibility/stretching is important too. Exercise is a lifestyle and not a temporary solution, so be patient and kind to yourself and know that it won't be easy to shed the weight but you are doing the right thing! Best of luck to you! -Runner mom without stroller
Consider joining Stroller Strides (www.strollerstrides.com and then enter your zip code for local class locations) - it is an outdoor exercise program for moms and babies. We get fit while running/power-walking with our kids, we use resistance bands for strength training and sing songs to make it fun for our little ones.
I've exercised with Stroller Strides since my son was 7 months old and continued to exercise throughout my second pregnancy, which made a huge difference during labor, delivery and then recovery. I resumed classes when my daughter was 5 weeks old and feel great! Stroller Strides is a great way to do something for yourself - staying healthy, getting fit - and having fun with your kids. And it is a really wonderful group of moms who participate - an unexpected benefit to the classes has been the friendships I've developed with the other moms. Prices of classes are quite reasonable too. Check it out! - Stroller Stridin' Mama
Hello Let me tell you what I did, I decided to walk and I liked Berkeley Bay path, the one next to the Highway 80, starts in Powell and finishes in Gilman, almost 6 miles, I use the wrong stroller at first then I got a running style and went ususally around 9:00AM when my little voy sleeps, he was 1 year old back then, slowly after I was making the 6 miles in 1 1/2 hour, decide to start a little of a jog, like only one way of University/Gilman stretch, after few weeks and knowing I was capable to raise it I did that stretch both ways, then I did that stretch then fast walk from University to Ashby and then again jog Ashby to Powell, and like you see, slowly but surely I did it all! the reason I did prefer that time was because of his nap time and if happen to be to hot, early morning is the best. You know by now your child's schedule and how long could be a nap, and at what time? enjoy it, as much as I did. Good Luck anon
I've been running for most of my life (since age 5), so I can't really remember back that far, except that my Dad and I alternated between running and then walking...But, a lot of people ask me for advice and I always suggest checking out the Runner's World or Running magazine web pages. I did a quick google and came up with this for you...http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-238-261--9397-0,00.html
My one piece of advice that I can give you unequivocally is JOIN A GYM WITH CHILDCARE. I loved my YMCA when I had very small children. Childcare was free up to two hours a day. I could run outside as long as I was carrying my cell phone. I could get a cup of coffee in the Y Cafe. I took classes. I lifted weights. ALONE! My kids were awesome easy going types prior to turning two, but I still needed some time alone, where I wasn't responsible for them.
Good luck on the running. -anon
Bravo to you for wanting to get out there and get fit with your child! I am an avid runner and ran when I was pregnant and with kids in the jogger until they were too big and too active to want to sit in it any longer. On the plus side, I now am able to run with my oldest while he rides his bike. :)
Anyway, a few tips. As it sounds like you are not a runner, I would recommend you start out slow with quick paced walks and then build up to a jog. It's getting hot now, so you'll want to try and go in the morning if at all possible or early evening when things start to cool down. Try and get out around your little one's morning nap time if he/she still takes two or when they do nap if it's not too hot.
If you have to go out when baby is awake, make sure you have snacks baby can get to in the jogger and sippy cup that is accessible to baby (or easy for you to get to so stops are short). Again, try shorter distances first then build up to longer so you both get used to the run. This can be a really fun time for both of you as the baby gets older and used to riding (before they want to walk around all the time!) I have been fortunate enough to live in areas that offer nice trails which makes it more interesting for both you and child. Not to mention easier on the shins.
I hope some of this helps. Start out slow, build up, go at the right time of the day for baby especially (really, best is when they might fall asleep in the jogger when younger) and you will be fine.
ps- don't forget water and sunscreen for both of you. :) mama runner
You should check out the www.coolrunning.com website. There is a lot of information about all levels of running, but specifically look at the ''Couch-to-5K'' running plan. It gives you some guidelines for a 3 day per week beginning running program. Along with stretches for afterwards. The theory is start off slowly or you will end up hating to run.
If you have a jogging stroller your baby will love going along for the ride!
Good luck! Anon
I commented earlier, but I just had two more thoughts:
#1. It's essential that you get good shoes and socks. Go to someone who knows, not to Sportsmart, or a place like that. Transport is a running store on College Ave. in Oakland that has an excellent staff.
#2 It's also important to find a really good bra I'm a DD cup size; I use Champion bras, but you have to find what works for you...This is probably too much information, but I also use ''glide'' around my bra line, to avoid a bra-burn!
Shoes and bras not only help make running comfortable, but also help you avoid injury. -Keep on running!
Go for it girlfriend!
Start out slow...jog...walk....jog...walk.
Don't be afraid to walk, it is most important to just keep moving. Go in the morning, before it gets too hot.
My advice is to go to the Lafayette Reservoir. It is always packed with moms pushing their babies in strollers. It is beautiful and easy to get to. It is 2.7 miles around with hills.
Be sure to bring quarters - it is metered parking.
Good luck - what a great idea! Just be careful - running makes you very hungry - so once you start, don't go crazy eating or you won't lose a pound. Sign me, running mom of three boys.
Hi everyone: I was wondering if anyone has an idea of how I could go jogging with my almost 4 year old. He obviosly cannot jog with me but I feel funny putting him in a stroller at his age. I am a single mom so I don't have extra money for a nanny while I exercise and my friends have not volunteered to watch him at all, eventhough I have volunteered to watch their kids. So, basically, I need some idea as to how I could jog with an almost four year old. Is there any product out there I am not aware of that would help me carry him? Any other ideas? I would really appreciate any input since I'm desperately feeling like doing something active; I communte a lot for work and my bottom is getting tired of being sitting all the time...:) Longing-for-some-exercise
It sounds like you need a push-bike. It's a tricycle with a raised, attached handle. Your child can pedal, but essentially, you're doing the real work by pushing while you jog. I bought one online that cost about $150. Here's a Web site: www.maukilo.com/categ_kettler.html. Good luck. Fellow jogger
I sometimes still jog with my almost 6 year old in my baby jogger II. He's been in there since he was 2 months old. He does look pretty ridiculous at this point- especially since I haven't had him in a regular stroller since he was about 2 1/2- but I figure I'd rather look silly but feel great running than be at home wishing I could go on a jog. Usually by the end of the run my endorphins have kicked in and I could care less how over-sized he looked for a jogger. At worst- someone goes by thinking ''wow- that kid is WAY to big to be in a stroller!'' That's it. More likely they're thinking, ''wow! that mom is dedicated.'' :-) Happy running running mama
option 1: jog stroller, with incentives to make it fun for him (various foods he likes,for example) option 2: ASK your friends/neighbors if you can do a trade, with you offering to watch their kids, and asking them if there's a good time you can trade to go for a quick jog. option 3: a heavy duty backpack, with simlar incentives..) option 4: (probably the most successful idea) go on short hikes WITH him. start small, it's better than nothing, if that's what you're getting now, and he'll be enthusiastic about it. option 5: join the berkeley Y and leave him at childwatch. it used to be that if you did enough volunteer time (10 hrs/week?) then you could have a free membership. and you could volunteer while your own kid was in childwatch
if you're uncomfortable putting a 4 year old in a jogging stroller, you can either 1) go somewhere like the Berkely High track, where you can leave him playing at the side of the track while you run and you can still keep an eye on him, or 2) trade your running shoes for a bicycle with a bike trailer. Elizabeth
I have run with my 52-pound 5-year old since he was a few months old. I have a jogging stroller from Baby Jogger with 20'' wheels. It wasn't cheap, but we've gotten great use out of it. They are supposed to hold up to 100 pounds, but I can't imagine pushing that much weight up the hills of Berkeley! Recently, he's started running with me for short stretches (maybe a quarter mile) and getting back in the stroller when he's ready to rest. I run a lot slower when I'm pushing him (I have two younger children that aren't quite so heavy to push), but it's definitely a workout. My kids consider it a treat to go running with Mom, they love the alone time. Jogging mom
why not put your child in a jogging stroller? My friend jogs her 4 year-old to and from preschool with the jogging stroller. You could ride a bike: pulling a 4 year-old up hills is great excercise. Can you extend care 1/2 hour a few weekdays: change at work and then jog near your childcare pick-up location? Or, run 30 minutes on your lunch break and eat while working? Join the Y, they have childwatch while you work-out, and I think discount rates for low-income parents. Flow-like-a-river yoga studio, on telegraph, has childcare at an affordable rate, if you like yoga. Post here on BPN for a work-out childcare buddy: go to the track (I'd choose clark kerr's), pool, or Y together and take turns exercising and playing with the kids. Wishing you some exercise. anon
Maybe your son would agree to sit on/pedal one of those trailers attached to a bike? (Adams Trail-a-bike, for about $100). Either that, or join the Berkeley YMCA where they have Childwatch. CC
I have been doing outdoor activities with my son since his birth pretty much.
I hiked with him in a pack until he was almost 3, letting him out now and again to hike with me for a mile or so. After 3, I started riding bikes and pulled him in a trailer on the back until he was 5.
When he was 5-6 I bought a beach cruiser (slowed it down a bit) and with his little bike, we biked around. You need to go slow, but it is so fun to be out and about with your little guy! The memories are priceless!
Today he is 12, and I run about 4 miles and he rollerblades along side me. He is going to start running with me when the weather gets warmer. He has done a mile with me, but then he gets pooped.
I have some friends that go to some running tracks and run around, and their kids play in the middle.. but I don't know where as running in circles makes me dizzy...but it is a great idea.
I also belonged to the Berkeley Y for 3+ years, they have a Financial Assitant Program and it was fantastic... I could do spin class or work out and my son hung out in Kidz Zone where they can go swimming or the other child care (for younger guys) and they jump around or something... you can check it out on their web site. http://www.baymca.org/index.php/downtown.html
I just worked with his age. The bay trail from Emeryville to Sea Breeze/Berkeley Marina is a great place to start. You can each have a bike or get one of those 1/2 bikes that attach on the back of yours until he is a little older. You can also power walk while he rides along... again the bay trail is great for this. It is nerve racking at first with all the 'pro' cyclist.. but with some patience, you will be 'cruising' in no time. And then by the time he is 5, he can ride and you can run... and then get him some roller blades. This time that my son and I share, I wouldn't trade for the world.
Working with your son's age and abilities is a wonderful thing... and the bonding that takes place is so great. Just today I was looking at my son, my 12 year old young man.. thinking about when he was so much younger, I miss his need for me.... and thank goodness I have these memories. Run'n Mama
Use a bicycle! At 4 my son would ride his bicycle (with training wheels) for miles. Use the bike paths along highway 80. We park at Costco, near Pt. Isabel. My husband takes him to Coaches Field in Piedmont where he runs on the track and my son rides his bicycle on the outside track. Have Fun!
Does he or she ride a tricycle or bicycle? Or you often see older kids in jogging strollers. :-) It's not a big deal. Mom of 3
I don't think you need to feel strange about putting your child in a jogging stroller. I jog with almost-4 all the time. She does much better now than when she was younger. I do try to give her something special to reward her for her patience of sitting still by herself for a 1/2 hour ( I think, ''What's in it for her?'' A happy mom is too abstract for her yet--she needs a concrete reward) So, usually I take the ''long long long way'' to a park and then when she is climbing, etc. I do push ups, stretching, chin up (singular!!) on the play ground equipment.
Then we play tag. Other rewards that are not treats (though I have also given treats once in a while) are playing with special markers (highlighters) when we get home, playing Candyland by her rules, cooking play-doh from scratch or her own ''soup'' with pantry items--anything can work. Another fun way to exercise together is dancing together to kid music or doing ''10-minute solution'' exercise videos together. We also go swimming at the community pool. I walk/jog to the pool and back to get the exercise, because it's not very aerobic with her in the water. exercise together
I've checked out the website archives for listings of great places to take the jog stroller ... but there isn't a ''list'', just a few places, so... I'd like to hear about safe places to jog, (alone or just two women and babies)with the jog stoller and baby, that are relatively flat (no steep hills), where you can get in a good workout (45-60 minutes of jogging) Thanks Lisa
If you want a place that is flat, Kennedy Grove in El Sobrante, next to the San Pablo Dam Resevoir is great. It has a paved loop around a large grassy area (3 laps equals one mile). It also has other trails that are unpaved and a play area for kids (play structure and slides and swings). It is usually pretty quiet and peaceful.
Another great place is the Lafayette resevoir. It is a bit hilly but a great work-out when you are pushing a jogger stroller. It tends to be a little busier than Kennedy Grove.
Also in Lafayette/Moraga is a nice 8 mile trail. It is flat and paved. If you take 24 towards Walnut Creek and exit Pleasant Hill Road, vere to the right and turn Right at light (pass Hungry Hunter), at the end of the road turn right and there is a parking lot on the right.
Happy Jogging! Amy
A few ideas for spots to jog with a stroller/jogger:
1. Inspiration Point in Tilden Park -- Paved, predominantly flat, rarely congested, good views of Bay and GG Bridges.
2. East Ridge trail in Redwood Regional Park (begins at Skyline staging area off Skyline Drive) -- Wide trail, gentle grade hills, scenic.
3. Tennessee Valley in Marin (a few miles north of GG Bridge) -- Paved trail (until end stretch), flat, ends at small, beautiful, beach bordered by cliffs.
Cesaer Chavez Park in Berkeley, at the end of University, is a great place to run in general. It's paved, flat and, there are always lots of joggers and walkers there, so it seems very safe. I can't say I've ever jogged with a stroller there, but I've seen lots of folks doing so. Molly G
I don't know where you live but the bike trail that runs through Lafayette and Moraga is perfect for stroller jogging. Long,flat and safe, it attracts many people taking their children for a jog in the stroller. There are many points of entry. I think you can pick up a map from any of the City offices or along the trail itself. Vivienne
The best place for stroller jogging is the Lafayette reservoir....lots of parking, very safe, hills and beautiful views! Simone
Hi, Can anyone recommend some good places to take stroller walks? I know some of the usual places, such as Inspiration Point, Richmond Marina, Point Pinole, Point Isabel, etc, but I'm looking for other places as well. I would prefer walks that are on the longer side. Also, are there any websites or books with such info? I checked the archives but only found a couple of suggestions. Thanks! Gayle
The Lafayette reservoir was a nice place to stroll around in a circle-- rolling hills, about 3 miles around.
Books that we bought for father's day that seem promising: *Golden Gate Trailblazer - Where to Hike, Stroll, Bike, Jog and Roll* (in SF and Marin) and *Rails to Trails California* both from REI -- they both seem to be attuned to the need for smooth paths, so they describe the trails in good detail.
Happy Trails! Shahana
The Lafayette Reservoir is about 3 miles around and hilly so it is not too easy. There are always lots of bunnies and deer (and the occassional wild turkey) to entertain mom and baby, clean ''restrooms'', ducks to feed, etc,. and seems pretty safe. It is at the Acalanes exit off Hwy. 24. Bring quarters for the meters. Nicole
My hands down favorite stroller walk for both mom and baby was Lake Merritt (until my son was about 18 mos and wouldn't tolerate long stretches in the stroller anymore.) The entire path is a big 3 mile circle that takes approximately 45 minutes to an hour depending on your gait. My child always enjoyed the walk, because there were lots of waterfowl and sometimes boats etc to look at. I was able to work up a sweat and also felt safe even when alone because it is a well-peopled and mainly paved path with lots of other strollers, joggers, etc. If you park near Perkins and the Lake on the Northeast side (near Fairyland) you can also give the child a turn at the park, the nature center and the bird sanctuary before or after your walk, so they get some exercise too. Parking in the off street areas near the park and Fairyland is free during weekdays, and there are reasonable two hour meters on the street for any day, or free parking on Lakeshore along the lake on weekdays. If you really want to make an outing of it, you can also include the Farmer's Market near the Grand Theater under 580 on Saturday mornings, or detour down Lakeshore for some shopping, coffee and a pastry, or the bookstore on Grand. Very stroller friendly! cheryl
Hi. I am looking for recommendations on safe, not too steep and scenic running routes (including neighborhoods) that are in the general vicinity of el sobrante, pinole, richmond or even orinda. My neighborhood is very hilly and I cant run (can barely walk) and push a jogging stroller up it. Niloufar
Try Miller Knox Regional Park in Point Richmond. The path there is flat, circles a duck pond and has great bay views. Lora
Try Pt. Pinole off the Richmond Parkway (the walk is about 3 miles, if you go all the way to the pier). Slight hills, but every day except tuesday and wednesday there's a shuttle you can hop on if you have to. Also try Kennedy Grove in El Sobrante (on San Pablo Dam Road just past Lakeside Athletic Club, on the left). It has a circular paved path, lots of trees and very few other people. Bayfront Park in Pinole is a short paved path, but right on the water (take Tennent from San Pablo Avenue all the way to the Bay, park on the left and you're there). Enjoy! Carol