Thursday, October 5, 2017

Stroller Running Tips from a Mother Runner

One question I get asked over and over again is "What are your best tips for stroller runs?" Since it's stroller running season, I thought I'd address this topic today. I wrote a similar blog post 3 years ago when I was stroller running with my almost 5 year old and in the middle of training for our first stroller half marathon together. You can read that post here. I am once again gearing up to start training for another stroller half marathon. It will be my third, but my fist time doing it with my now one year old daughter. Stroller running with an infant is much different than stroller running with a five year old but some of the main concepts stay the same.
When his baby sister was born, I kicked him out of the stroller and made him run with me! He loves it!!

My tips for a successful stroller run (or walk - whatever is your jam is good with me!):

1. Invest in a quality stroller. This is key and a quality stroller can withstand daily use, keep you and your babe comfortable, and is easy to push. I LOVE my BOB Revolution Pro - It was one of the only things that I invested in brand new when I had my second child. They can be a bit pricey but they are a million times worth the investment! In fact, they are so popular that they have a great resale value, and you can often find one second hand on a local Facebook Swap Site, Ebay or on Craigslist!

What do I love about my BOB? It's decently lightweight for a jogger and has precision handling. One huge reason why I prefer the Revolution model over other BOB models is the front swivel wheel, which allows me to turn around corners very easily. I live and run in a neighborhood full of twists and turns, which I love, but a stroller that was not east to round corners would be a nightmare for me! The seat is super comfy and can easily fit a small baby up to a growing school-aged child! It has real air filled tires that allows it to ride over a variety of surfaces with ease. One tip I always give new stroller owners is to take your tires to a local bike shop and have them put tire liners inside for you. Mine were less than $20 and then add a great layer of protection in between your tire and the tire tube to help prevent flats. It will save you so much money, time, and frustration in the long run - I promise!

One optional feature that I always recommend is the parent console - which is a fancy name for the cup holder that attaches to the stroller handle. It has three slots and can fit your drink, keys, phone, and allll the stroller running swag you'll end up bringing!

2. Bring Plenty of Water and Snacks - For Everyone! One thing I always joke about with people is that I love running with my stroller because of the cup holder area- It's like a rolling buffet for me! But in all seriousness, stroller running is HARD, much more taxing than regular running (umm, hello - you're pushing a 30 pound stroller with a 25+ pound kid strapped in it, so yes, it's a tough workout!). I always pack a snack for myself during stroller runs (usually a bar, some energy balls, or some dried fruit does the trick) and bring plenty of water. 

For my baby, I always pack her sippy cup because if I'm getting thirsty, I'm sure she is too. She's in this big phase of dropping things on the ground on purpose and then saying "uh oh" which I'll admit, really is the cutest thing ever, but not when I'm on a run and have to stop and pick it up every time. I recently found this product called the Sister Chic Dropper Stopper which is awesome. It attaches to the stroller and then has this grippy material inside the strap that helps securely hold and sippy cup or toy tight to prevent it from falling on the ground. I've put it to the test on several stroller runs and walks already and it totally works!

When my baby gets a little older I'll be able to back her little bags of easy to eat on the go snacks for runs but I don't feel comfortable having her eat anything unsupervised yet. I do sometimes pack our favorite teething biscuits from Happy Baby. These dissolve in her mouth easily and I dole them out if I notice her getting a little restless.

3. Bring Reinforcements - In the form of Special "Stroller Only" Toys. There will be plenty of runs when my kids are just content to stare at the view of the world around them while strolling along. I'll usually try to point out the scenery even if they can't talk or respond yet - they are still listening. I'll point out the bunnies we see or a bright purple bush. If I want to listen to music on my stroller runs I'll always play it out loud on my phone and make it kid appropriate. Which sometimes means listening to Little Baby Bum of repeat, we do what we have to, right?

But one thing I always try to have on hand, is a stash of "stroller only" toys in the stroller basket. These remain out of sight for the duration of the run, and are something I can give to my baby if I notice er starting to get a little restless or bored. These toys always stay in the stroller so there are always new and exciting and will surely charm them for another mile or two!

Some of our favorites are the Activity Doofy Dog from playgro. This toy has an awesome little clip that I can attach to the stroller so it can't be throw off and has seven different fun "activities" for her to play with. There are little beads to spin, textured paws to bite and grip, a collar to crinkle, a rattle shake, and much more. It's one of her favorites!

Another toy that we have been loving lately is the Giddy Up Gall Play Set by YooKidoo. This fun little set come with two toys that my baby really loves! The pony pal plays a little melody when turned on or moved, which comes in really handy to stop a cry. Music or sounds usually seem to stop a cry right in their tracks for my little one! The second toy in this set is a giddy up girl which is adorable and full of fun textures. She wears a bandanna that crinkles, and has beds that slide and rattle. She comes with a plastic ring clip that makes attaching her to the stroller super easy and quick!

4. Timing is Everything. Timing is so important with stroller runs and this comes down to knowing your baby. Do they like or need movement to fall asleep? If so, plan your run for when their nap time will be and it's a win/win situation for all! My baby usually won't fall asleep until the last part of a longer run, so I usually just make sure she's well fed and has a dry diaper before we hit the streets together. 

My favorite part of stroller running is the extra bonding time we get together, which I think is especially true as she gets older. I love the feeling of cruising around the neighborhood together, warm sunshine on our faces hair blowing in the wind, taking in nature and enjoy each others company one mile at a time. I try to make the runs fun for her and will often run to a nearby park and stop to push her in the swing or let her crawl around for a bit before loading her up and heading home. Sometimes we will pack a snack or lunch and enjoy a little picnic too. It's all about balance and making fitness and stroller running part of our daily routine and enjoyable for all!

What are some of your stroller running tips? Do you prepare different for casual strollers runs versus stroller running race days?

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