-running with a stroller and running as a mom is another level entirely-
Running is such a passion of mine and I’m always thrilled to connect with other runners and cheer on aspiring runners. When these runners happen to be moms, you can’t imagine my excitement! I started running maybe 8 years ago off and one. I’m talking 3 miles max very sporadically. About 7 years ago I ran a 15k two years in a row. After that, I went back to the running-once-a-week-or-so routine for a few years.
After I had my daughter, something changed. I wanted to lose baby weight and I felt an undeniably urge to GET OUT OF THE HOUSE and be part of nature. As a SAHM, I also needed exercise to be doable with a baby. Thus my love for running exploded in a whole new way.
I’ve been running solidly for the past 3 years. I’m grateful for have been part of many 5ks, a half marathon and a full marathon. The marathon was probably one of the most intoxicating experiences of my life. It made me feel invincible and strong. I’m not training for any races right now, but the kids and I run 22-sih miles a week.
Moms, we are capable of so much strength and bravery! Kids are not an excuse to hold us back, but an inspiration to try harder, dig deeper, and never quit. Here are some thoughts on running with a stroller (in my case, a double stroller!):
- Good equipment. The quality of the stroller matters. A WHOLE lot. I went with a Bob stroller that we bought used. A good stroller will make running more fun and easier for you.
- Smooth path. I avoid sidewalks at all costs. The turns and bumps on sidewalks will slow you down and it just isn’t very pleasant. Not to mention having to dodge trash cans, other people, or cars pulling out of driveways. I prefer to run on trails or bike paths. If unavailable, I run on roads that aren’t super busy.
- Make it easy for YOU! If you enjoy something, you’re more likely to stick with it. After a few months, I found that my best time to run is in the morning. I wake the kids up and stick them in the stroller in their pjs. They eat breakfast while I run. Next point…
- Food! I make spinach muffins in big batches and stick them in the freezer. I also make eggs in the oven by cooking them in muffin tins. In the morning, I nuke the muffins, pull the eggs out of the fridge (think unpeeled hardboiled eggs without the mess) and have a sippy cup of milk or water. I have those silicone bibs so food doesn’t get all over the stroller. This makes getting out the door a breeze. I’m not putting any thought into what to make for breakfast… I just grab and go.
- Silence, please! Since the kids are eating, this keeps them happy for a mile or two. After that, I have taught them that running is Mommy’s time to talk to God (which is what I do- pray!). They know that they can sing songs, talk to each other, or look at all the pretty trees… but mommy is unavailable for comment. This is very helpful because pushing a stroller, focusing on stride AND talking to two toddlers who have endless questions is impossible. It’s also good for them to learn to enjoy nature and have time to chill out.
- Music-less. I used to not be able to run a single mile without music. I’m not exaggerating. I didn’t like being dependent on music to keep me motivated, so I slowly worked on training without music and I am now at the point where I can run 16 miles without tunes in my ears! It may not sound like a big deal, but it was a massive accomplishment to me! I am an advocate of running and listening to your body, enjoying nature, being grateful, praying, or simply zoning out of your head. But, if you enjoy music, it’s always a good idea to run with one bud out or else to play it through the speaker of your phone so you can be safe and hear your kids.
- Be social. It’s such a small thing, but being kind to people you pass is a wonderful gift! Even if you’re huffing like mad, smiling and saying, “Good morning!” means a lot! It’s kinda crazy, but now my kids will wave at other people, saying “Good morning” and congratulate other runners by saying, “Muy bien, amigo!” It melts my heart and it makes running that much more fun!
- Keep it simple. I’m sure the repetition is getting annoying, but I really do love running for the simplicity of running. This is also why I don’t take toys or gadgets for the kids. They are almost 2 and 3 and have gotten used to hanging out in the stroller while I run. (They are actually disappointed the days we don’t go out!) If you take toys, then there is always the “pick up” game when the toys fall out either or purpose or accident. It really is ok for them to not be entertained by toys… nature has an abundance of delights to capture kids’ eyes! For a point of reference, our regular runs are a little over an hour and the kids have trained with me for up to 2 hour runs without electronics, toys, etc.
- Potty training. If you’re on a roll and don’t want to stop because someone is potty training, I’m right there with ya! When our kids were potty training, I would take a portable potty with us and every 20 minutes we would stop, set up on the side of the trail or secluded spot and then continue with our run! Both kids potty trained this way.
- You can do it! Running in so many ways is like life and I try to remember that when it’s raining or I see a massive hill looming ahead. As long as it isn’t a thunderstorm, the kids and I will run in the rain. If there are hills in our route, we will keep going! I want our kids to know that we don’t check out of life just because it’s hard!
- Give yourself a break. That being said, I don’t do speed work when I’m running with the kids. Pushing all the weight of two kids and a stroller is enough of a workout. When it’s hot, I don’t pressure myself to run a certain pace; I just focus on completing the miles. If the hill is a monster, I might have to walk up parts of it instead of passing out because I pushed myself to run. As long as I don’t quit, I’m happy!
- Have fun! At the end of the run, no matter how far or how fast you ran… you RAN! With kids! And a stroller! You are fierce! You are strong! You inspire me and you inspire others. You are incredible, a beast, a warrior, a force to be reckoned with. When you want to quit, look at who is in that stroller. What type of life and tenacity do you want to model for them? When you’re exhausted and need to dial it back, what kind of gentleness and compassion do you want to show them? When you know you can go a little more, a little harder, what kind of drive and power do you want to show them?
I run for myself. But I also run for my kids. Why do you run?