Aerodynamic design, superior suspension, intelligent braking, ergonomic seating, responsive wheels and plenty of storage. It reads like a luxury car, doesn't it? But my latest ride only seats one.
Recently, I traded-up my everyday pram that doubled as a jogging pram, and went all-in on a high-performance Thule Glide 2 running pram.
All in the family
Carving out time to run when you have a baby or child in your life can be challenging. Whether you're eyeing off a 10km or marathon, strapping your kid into a pram and going for a run can help to keep your training on track.
And finding one isn't "mum's domain". Dads are, rightfully, heavily involved in the research and buying process. Look at any running event that permits prams and you'll notice that most people pushing them are proud new dads.
It's recommended that babies should be at least six months old before being placed in a running pram. That's because the journey is faster and bumpier, so they need to have good neck control before they can become your running buddy.
The pram you choose needs to have a five-point harness to keep your most precious cargo safe and secure. You should also look for easy-to-use brakes. Mine has two types: a foot parking brake for when I come to a stop at traffic lights, and an integrated twist hand brake that offers improved security and braking control on hilly terrain and while running.
Make sure the pram you buy has a safety tether that you can slip over your wrist to stop it from running away from you when you're picking up speed. Like your running shoes, look for a running pram with improved visibility such as reflective rims on the wheels and canopy.
After safety, the comfort of your little one while you run is vital. This will help to keep them happy so that you can clock up the kilometres you need.
Triathlete and recent mum Stef Hanson runs with a Thule Urban Glide and says a comfortable, padded seat that reclines is a must.
"Somehow, I manage to find all the potholes when I'm running," she says. "Good air-flow is really important too. Air flow surprised me as it wasn't something I initially thought of before I had Frankie Flo, but after a trip to Hawaii, I quickly learnt that this was vital."
The running pram you choose needs to have good suspension to provide a smooth ride for you and your child. The kind of suspension you choose depends on how often you run and the kind of surfaces you plan to run on. In short, the rougher the ground, the better the suspension should be.
The swivel, front-locking wheels on some prams tend to be plastic and don't absorb much shock. Also, look for a pram that has a long distance between the front and back wheels. Prams designed for jogging push the front wheel forward and away from baby's center of gravity, allowing the front wheel to bounce in the event of a bump in the road with less stress transferred to baby's body.
Lightweight and easy-to-use
A pram that has a lightweight, aerodynamic design is a must. There are generally two types of wheels on a running pram: a swivel front-locking wheel or fixed air-filled wheels. The fixed wheel options are lighter than the swivel wheel products, making them easier to push for long distances.
Hanson says, "comfort for me is a lightweight pram, and the ability to run as free as possible while pushing the pram. The closest I can get to proper running technique, the better."
A lesser-known, but very helpful feature of running prams is the ability to adjust the tracking of the front wheel. Adjustable tracking helps to keep the front wheel running straight instead of veering off course. Without it, you'll be regularly manually correcting the steering, which will increase fatigue and gets annoying after a while.
From experience, don't forget to look for a pram that has a peekaboo window with magnetic closure (not Velcro) that lets you check on your sleeping child without disturbing him or her. Finally, make sure the pram you buy has plenty of storage to hold snacks, water, toys and a change of clothes.