This guest blog post was written by Lee Lane, Run Club Coach for FIT4MOM Charleston. For More information on FIT4MOM visit their website: https://charleston.fit4mom.com/
Before becoming a mom, I would run and see “those” people running with a jogger. I was in awe of the parent pushing the jogger and wonder what it was like to push that thing around. Now I am “that” parent and I feel like a bad a** after every run with my daughter!
Taking my daughter on runs has so many advantages for me. Not only am I getting mileage in so that I stay semi-sane, but also it keeps my daughter out of trouble for thirty minutes to an hour since she is all strapped in and it’s great bonding time that we both enjoy.
When I first started running with my daughter I had to get past the fact that I did not have the same pace with the jogging stroller as I did before, especially if there was any semblance of a hill. This may seem like an obvious thing but to this day I will still go on runs where I forget and become frustrated comparing myself with this imaginary version of me. Once I get home, I remind myself that I just got the same millage in, now pushing a 25 lb child in a stroller and feel better. Though it is easy to become frustrated, when the same run without a stroller feels like you are flying, always remind yourself that you are awesome!
Running with a jogger comes with quite a few perks. First, running with a jogger gets you an extra calorie blast as anyone who has ever run with a jogger can tell you the extra exertion required is real even with the best jogger (my husband would agree!). Second, running with a jogger is also a great way to improve your speed. Sure, while you are working up to it, you will feel like you are running through molasses, but go for a solo run after a few weeks of running with your jogger and you will feel like you are Usain Bolt. Finally, the ego boost you get from running with your kids makes you feel like a rockstar parent. Many people worry that running with a stroller will be too hard. This is a myth. Of course it's harder than running without, but it is 100% worth it.
Along the way I have picked up a few strategies - mostly through trial and error - to make sure I am set up for success on stroller runs. I will share a few:
1) I highly recommend a jogging stroller (jogger). It does not need to be high-end or
even new but the knobby tires make a huge difference and will make your run
much smoother. Joggers are designed to handle speeds and bumps you may
encounter even if they can be heavier than a stroller designed for trips to the zoo.
2) When you can, keep runs with your little one(s) to an hour or less. Even if your
kiddo loves going on runs with you they probably won't be happy all day. I find I
can get to about 90 mins max before my child loses it and can't be brought back,
making the rest of the run miserable for the both of us.
3) Be sure your child has entertainment such as small toys, snacks, and a drink. Be
aware that anything not on a stroller leash should be something that if thrown and
lost will not ruin anyone's day, because the chances of it being thrown are HIGH.
You can order leashes to attach to your stroller and your child's things for super
cheap online and it is so worth it so you don't have to stop to pick things up. (I am
still looking for ways to keep shoes from being thrown and will keep you posted).
4) Run with a stroller tether so that you do not lose control of the stroller and have it
roll away. Most new joggers come with one attached however, you can find
these online as well if your jogger does not come with one. Not only does a
stroller tether keep you from not losing the stroller, but it will allow you to easily
switch the arm you are pushing with.
5) If you can stick to non busy roads and NEVER assume that cars will give you the
right of way because you are running with a baby. Always follow the rules of the
road and run against traffic if you have to run on the road as this gives drivers
more time to see you and you them.
6) Don't run with earbuds, this is not just because of safety but so you can hear
when you're child needs you . It's also lets you bond with your child more. Addi,
my daughter, and I like to play games where we identify things we see on our
runs. This makes our runs not just fun but educational. We also sing on runs
when I want to work on breathing control and it's a great excuse to learn new
songs. If you must run with music get a speaker that attaches to you or your
stroller so you and your kiddo can both enjoy the music.
7) Don't pack too much for your runs with the extra storage a stroller provides. It's
tempting to pack EVERYTHING, but between the weight of the stroller and the
weight of the baby no one wants the added weight of a packed to the brim diaper
bag. I pack 3 diapers (if we go through more than 3 in under 2 hours, something
is wrong and she should probably not be out), wipes, hydration for both of us,
snacks, my phone, and a toy.
8) I know plenty of people who love to unplug on runs and leave the phone at home.
Unplugging is great but when you have a child with you safety trumps all. You
can always put your phone on silent and still have it in case something goes
wrong and you need help. I recommend telling someone where you are going
stroller or not just to be safe, I also like to share my location through Google
maps to my emergency contact so that someone knows where I am on my runs
just in case I twist an ankle or something else unexpected happens.
I cannot stress how much joy I receive from running with my little one and if you
have been on the fence about trying it, I hope you will join FIT4MOM
CHARLESTON RUN CLUB+.
Disclaimer: Always follow the safety directions for your specific jogger this includes but is not limited to when it is safe to run with a baby. If concerned consult your pediatrician.