Picture it: fresh air, wide open skies, sharing time outdoors together....
Ah, it can be wonderful...
Or it can be just plain miserable.
Picture it: Baby crying, kicking, throwing off gloves and hats, refusing snacks, lurching and refusing to get into the stroller...
Parents, you get it. We've all been there.
After a few failed attempts of setting up the stroller for a run, it's easy to just plain give up.
But keep it up! With a plan and some tricks up your sleeve, your stroller running can become a pleasant part of your day, something that you and baby anticipate with glee.
I compiled the following list based on the experience of running with my two sons.
My oldest son, Avie (now age five), spent four to eight miles (once even 12 miles!) five days a week in our Bob Revolution off-road running stroller from the age of eight months to three years. My husband worked long hours and often got home after dark, so I swapped my regular trail running routine with day runs with Avie. The running lulled him to sleep, he napped for hours, and I enjoyed peaceful, quiet miles of what felt like time alone, year-round, in all weather and temperatures, from zero to 90 degrees, snow and ice to sunshine.
Now, our youngest son, Grey, 22 months, spends one or two days of three to six miles in the stroller (these days I save most of my miles for the trails, when my husband gets home from work - he now works closer to home, yay!). Unlike Avie, it takes Grey much longer to fall asleep, and sometimes he's wide awake the entire time. Whereas Avie spent his stroller rides in dreamland, Grey spends his thrusting forward to see all the sights, craning his neck back to smile at me or look at the birds in the sky, woofing back to all the dogs, calling "deer, deer, deer," his favorite animal, and reaching his hand out the side for snacks.
They are two different personalities! But the list of things to do to set yourself up for a successful stroller running experience remain the same. Some of my most cherished memories with Avie and Grey as infants and toddlers are the moments spent running through snowstorms, in the rain (get yourself a stroller weather shield to protect baby from all elements) and in the summer sun.
Nine Tips for A Happy Stroller Run:
1. Wear reflective gear and bright clothing if you're on the road. I like Nathan products.
2. Take a variety of snacks and water.
3. Prep your post-run meal before you leave the house.
4. Lie out dry, comfy clothes that you can quickly put on after slipping out of your sweaty, wet running clothes. You'll feel great, and it can replace your shower if baby isn't letting you out of sight.
5. Play kid music on Spotify, or whichever music service you like. Sometimes we do this, sometimes we don't. It depends on baby's mood.
6. Plan a multiple-route loop, with quick access to home or the car if need be. Around my home, I have loops that range from two to 20 miles. My go-to's are a 10K (6.2 mile loop), a few four milers, and a 5K. If baby is happy, I add on, but I never go more than three miles from the house. I always have a shortcut home if need be. Luckily, I have only ever had to use the short cut a handful of times.
7. If still breastfeeding, nurse baby before placing them in the stroller. If bottle feeding, fill up that little belly before heading out. Both of my boys were much more content and less reactive to stroller straps and buckles with a full belly of milk.
8. Set up the room for napping after returning home. In case baby falls asleep, make it easy to transition from stroller to crib or bed. Shut the curtains, turn on the white noise machine, whatever it is you need to do, before you leave the house. Then maybe you can enjoy a post-run nap yourself, shower, or eat a meal. If not, your dry clothes and post-run meal are all set anyway ;) If you're running begins from your car, you can still do this for your trip back home.
9. If no nap happens, scoop that baby up and snuggle! Thank your little one for your time together outside, and for making it possible to share a run <3
Then, one day when they're older, they might love running as much as you do!
Have you seen the two blogs I've written about running with my kids?
Five Things I Learned By Running with My Four-Year-Old Son
Five Life Lessons Shared While Running with My Sons
I'd love to hear from you! Please post your stories :)
Happy running and parenting,