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Now that spring is in full swing (for the most part), the twins have finally been able to accompany me for some outdoor workouts. Many of you know that weightlifting is my preferred method of working out, but believe it or not, I’m always game for a good run. Running and I are like old friends. We were close, then we hadn’t talked for awhile, but when we reunited, things fell back into place. Part of the reason I began running again, was because it was a simple way for my kids to accompany me for workouts. I didn’t have to worry what they were doing, they weren’t upset, and we could all get fresh air. Sounds like a win, right?
Well, many of you have asked how I get through running with a stroller, so I thought I’d throw a few tips your way. Now, some of my tips are going to be for you and the actual running, and some will be tips for your kiddos. You’ll want them to be happy during your run, otherwise you’ll be turning right around and going home (maybe that’s what you want, but let’s fight that urge, shall we?). Alright, let’s kick this thing off:
1. Choose a good stroller!
Before you even think about running with your little bundle(s), choose an appropriate stroller. Many jogging strollers recommend certain ages (often about 6 months) or weight requirements for your baby before using it for jogging. Your little one should be able to practice a little head control, and you should choose a stroller that is comfortable for both of you. Jogging strollers differ from standard strollers in many ways. Personally, I use my “all-terrain” stroller as my one and only stroller. Built for trails, it has rubber tires, instead of plastic wheels, shocks, an insane turn radius, and so on. My babies (now 15 months) are comfortable, and I adjust the handle to a height that I can push with ease. If you’re on the fence about your decision, go try a few out!
2. Have a positive attitude!
For some of you, your run with a stroller might be your first actual workout after having your baby. For other’s, you might just not be used to bringing your stroller along. Either way, it might get a little tough and you might want to give up. Just know that as you get used to it and learn how to get comfortable with it, it will become less of a hassle and possibly even enjoyable. Keep your chin up and rise to the challenge! If you start this journey with a gloomy outlook, it’s not going to go so well.
3. Prepare your little ones for the sun.
Usually if I’m going to run with my kiddos, it’s pretty darn nice out. While hats and sunglasses are worn, they sometimes tear them off. To make sure their skin is safe, I picked up Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen® Baby from my local Walmart. Since the twins are just 15 months old, I did a little research before making a decision on what to use. I was super thrilled to learn that although Blue Lizard® is now made in Johnson City, TN, it was originally created in Australia, under the world’s strictest sunscreen standards. The Baby and Sensitive versions of Blue Lizard® are free of parabens, fragrances, and chemicals. On top of that Blue Lizard® Baby is pharmaceutical grade and formulated especially for little ones, having 10% zinc oxide and 5% titanium dioxide to provide broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection. Not only do other moms love it, but it’s been dermatologist recommended for over 15 years.
Another cool plus about Blue Lizard® is the bottle. The patented PBA-free bottle turns from white to pink when exposed to harmful UV rays. If you take notice, the photos of us indoors feature a white bottle, and when outdoors you can see that it turned pink. So, mamas, you’ll never be wondering whether or not it’s necessary! If you’re still interested in keeping your baby’s skin safe, you can totally earn $4 by using this Ibotta offer to at your closest Walmart!
Please note that if your child is younger than 6 months, you should consult your pediatrician before using any sunscreen.
4. Bring a little diaper bag.
You’re a parent, right? You must know that a blowout can happen at any given moment, especially the most inconvenient moments. Because no one wants to run with the wonderful aroma of poop in their faces, I recommend taking a small, travel sized diaper bag. I’m talking something little with a diaper, wipes, and maybe a onesie. Don’t go overboard, but don’t get yourself is a “crappy” situation.
5. Stretch like you normally would.
For some reason, I’ve seen some people skip their warm up. I’m not sure if it’s because they assume their stroller run will be too slow of a pace to challenge them, or if they’re just preoccupied with preparing their kids. My friends, please just stretch as you normally would. I run slower with a stroller, but I run against Chicago wind, which means I feel like I’m pushing a compact car. This hurts. Just because your pace is slower, does not mean the workout will be “less than” in any way.
6. Remember your form!
Like any workout, a good run is better with good form. If you’re not used to pushing anything on your runs, you’ll certainly have to get used to it. It can be easy to lose form and start doing whatever you can to survive, but remember, you might be doing yourself a disservice in the long run (no pun intended). Instead, try and maintain good posture. Stay upright and try not to be too tense (stiff), or death grip your stroller. It’s a waste of energy and might even become injured over time. Also, since I lean forward a little when running alone, I like to keep it that way with my stroller. This is where that comfortable handle position comes in. If my handle is too high, I can’t lean forward while maintaining good form.
7. Know your limits.
So, if you’re new to running or new to running with your baby, you may want to start small. This isn’t the time to try and set a personal record for distance, or try and navigate a path that you don’t know very well. Why? Well, no one wants to get stuck in the middle of nowhere with babies. You might not be able to run as far as you thought, or you might get lost. I’m not saying this because I don’t believe in you, I’m saying this because I care about your safety and would like you to not get stranded!
8. Ditch the headphones!
This is just for safety! I used to depend on headphones to get me through ANY workouts. Whether I was weightlifting or doing a CrossFit workout, I would play music loud enough to drown out any distractions. This won’t fly with kids. You’ll want to be able to hear if anyone is crying or in need of something, not to mention you’ll want to hear traffic!
9. Stop at a park.
If you’re on a longer run, or even more of a leisurely jog, your little ones might get a little antsy. When my husband and I run together, we sometimes go longer distances. If the twins don’t fall asleep, we’ll sometimes decide to stop at a playground to let them enjoy themselves before we head home. This is usually a total win, because I gave birth to kids who like to swing and attempt to eat mulch. But really, it makes me happy to let them explore a little too.
10. Bring snacks and water for both of you!
Occasionally, snacks fix everything. They can be the key to a happy grocery trip, coffee date, and you guessed it, a stroller run. I’ll often bring something simple like teething crackers and sippy cups or mini water bottles. If you make a park or playground stop, I would consider these a MUST. Your kiddos might wear themselves out and appreciate the pick-me-up. Don’t forget your own water, which is great whether your kids are with you or not! For me, I get pretty exhausted on the sunny days, and sipping on water as I go helps me out. If you don’t have a water bottle holder on your stroller, I’d suggest picking up an attachment!
I could probably go on forever with general running tips, but as far as stroller specific advice, that pretty much sums it up for now! Don’t forget to check out Blue Lizard® at Walmart for protection for both you and your little ones. There is likely a special display near the front of your store like the one in the photo below! Reminder: You can use this Ibotta offer to earn $4 when you make your purchase. Your skin will thank you!
If you have any further tips to add, feel free to mention them in the comments!