I have been stroller running for the past 9 months out of necessity. Since Hubby started traveling every week when Baby Thunder was 4 weeks old, I knew the only way I would be able to regularly run was with the boys in tow. I have learned a lot over that time and would love to share my tips.
1. Invest in a good stroller.
When Little Man was born, we bought a car seat and jogging stroller combo by Baby Trend. While it worked for a while, I did not enjoy using it. It didn’t maneuver well, the tires frequently needed to be re-inflated, and it wasn’t very easy to set up or collapse. As a result, I avoided running with Little Man if at all possible which is a shame because I really enjoyed the thought of exposing him early on to an active lifestyle.
When we found out that we were having Baby Thunder, I begged Hubby to let me get a really good double running stroller. The problem was cost. The “really good ones” aka BoB and Cougar tend to run upwards of $500. Not in our budget.
That’s when I started stalking Craigslist. And lo and behold! A BoB Revolution Duallie (shown above off of Google) and a bike trailer were being sold for $320! I was sold and haven’t regretted it for a day. The BoB is so utterly smooth to push, steers like a dream, is easy to collapse (though I struggled for a few weeks to put it in and out of my car trunk), has good storage with easy access for everything I need while out running, offers great shade protection for the boys, comes with pockets right next to the seats for kiddie water bottles, and has an easy to use 5-point child harness. If you want a smooth run while running with kids, invest in a good stroller designed with the runner in mind.
2. Run often.
Children grow. They get heavier. Which means the stroller gets heavier. The only way I have found to combat this dilemma is to regularly run with the stroller so the increasing weight isn’t quite so startling. Plus, the kids get an up close and personal exposure to an active lifestyle and watch you work hard for something. They do get used to the stroller.
3. Listen to music or audio books.
I have tried this a few times and it worked really well, especially as it prevents or reduces the boredom associated with long runs.
No, I don’t necessarily recommend listening to the later Harry Potter books with young children. I just like listening to them on my own time. 🙂
4. Run at mealtimes.
I have found that in the winter and early spring months, it is much more preferable to run in the afternoon when it is warmer than in the early morning. And packing a sandwich for Little Man means he is busy munching (quietly) while I am running. Which means there are fewer questions for me to answer. Plus it kills two birds with one stone. By the time we get home, he is finished eating and goes straight down for quiet time.
5. Let them pick out a favorite book, toy, or animal.
Or better yet, set aside a special book or toy just for the stroller. If I need or want some quiet time, I have Little Man being his special monkey and go run just before quiet/nap time.
6. Run during quiet time.
If you have to do a long run with the kiddos, schedule it during nap time. Give them their favorite animal or blanket, get them comfy, tell them that this is nap/quiet time and there is to be no talking (same quiet time rules apply), and go run for an hour or so. I have been known to go for a 5 mile run with the stroller just to get Baby Thunder to sleep!
7. Set boundaries and limits with the kids.
Little Man is a very chatty kid. While I love our conversations, I cannot answer where the airplane went or whether or not I see the Mustang when I’m out of breath from pushing them up a hill. So, I will tell him that I can’t talk right now and then not answer the 53 questions he continues to ask. When we get home, I answer his questions, read books, play games, and enjoy his company. But when we go running, I am not giving into his every demand for attention.
8. Find stroller running friends!
I was fortunate enough on New Year’s Day 2015 to run into another stroller running mom. Since then, we have done numerous miles together with our boys. And let me tell you, it makes those hills or three boring neighborhood loops so much easier when you share it with someone else who is acutely suffering right beside you.
9. Keep to wide, quiet roads.
Let’s face it – pushing a stroller on an uneven, bumpy path is no fun for you or your kids. Finding a road that is comfortably wide enough for you and cars is ideal, but at the very least make sure there is a good shoulder. If your road is anything like mine, you don’t want to run at certain times of the day due to the increased traffic volume (and speedsters). Nice neighborhoods are ideal places to run because the roads tend to look like this:
10. Sign up for a race!
Pushing a stroller is not easy work. You are not only logging miles, but pushing 50+ pounds easily! But one of the surprising benefits of this work is the speed you will develop when you run without it! I can easily run 30 seconds faster per mile without the boys, which usually translates to a PR.
Hope these help you as you share miles with your little one!shared miles!