Saturday, July 12, 2014

Guest Post: 10 Tips for a Better Baby Jogging Experiene

I'm so excited about today's guest post. It's coming atcha from Natalie of Hello Day. The topic: Running with a jogging stroller. If you've ever done this, you know it's a totally different experience than running on your own. Hannah and I went out a lot last summer. She had a blast watching the scenery, and I enjoyed getting in some exercise. But this summer, things will surely be different. She's a lot more active, and her patience for sitting confined for too long wears thin pretty quickly. But I'm looking forward to it...eventually, once I'm up for it. Obviously I won't be taking the baby out this year. But when I take Hannah out, I'll be remembering all of Natalie's tips for a better baby jogging experience.

The jogging stroller is innovation’s best gift to motherhood. The world would be a better place if every mom on Earth had a solid jog stroller at her disposal. There isn't much that 30 minutes with the jogger can't fix— toddler tantrums, fussy babies, moms on the brink, etc.

I have used mine almost daily for the past three years and lovingly refer to it as my “Freedom Trailer." Needless to say, I have learned a few things along the way.

1) Gear up.
There are many joggers to choose from. Do your homework to find one that best suits your needs. I highly recommend getting a jogger with a front wheel that can both swivel and lock. They’re not cheap, but neither is your fitness (or sanity). So, find a good one and make the investment. I cannot say enough wonderful things about both my single and double BOB joggers.

2) Bring supplies.
When thinking through supplies, I put myself in my kids' shoes. What would I want if I were strapped in a seat for 60 minutes? The answer varies based on time of day, age of kid, kid's interests, weather, etc. Most often my supplies include wipes and diapers, a water bottle, snack, and an item of choice for each kid.

3) The Cozy Factor 
I want my kids to enjoy the jog stroller experience, and making sure they're comfortable to begin with is key. Cozy, weather appropriate clothing is a must, as is a fresh diaper. In the warmer months, I go with minimal clothes and lots of sunscreen on exposed skin. The bitter cold winter months (here in So Cal) require a cozy blanket to keep their feet and hands warm.

4) Set realistic expectations for yourself. 
Pushing a jog stroller (single or double) is no small deal. Whether you're walking or running, set a goal. Each time I head out, I establish either a distance or duration goal, but usually not both. I cut myself some slack when it comes to pace while pushing the jogger, especially the big double. Unless you're training for a race, I encourage you to do the same. Hauling yourself and your kids up steep hills is a challenge, which is either an added bonus for your booty or a total headache if you're not aiming to work up too much of a sweat. So, choose your route carefully.

5) Set realistic expectations for your kids.
While cruising in a jog stroller sounds wonderfully relaxing, your kid(s) may see it differently. After all, they are strapped in a seat for an extended period of time. My kids seem to go downhill after 60 minutes in the jogger. If I were to venture longer than an hour, I plan play stops along the way so the girls can stretch their legs out.

6) Engage your passengers.
Cruising in the jog stroller provides great opportunities to engage your kid(s) in conversation. You know your little one(s) best and know what will get them excited. Our hot topics include buses, dogs, cars, flags, birds, waves, trees, and familiar landmarks. As with most things you do with your kids, it is a learning opportunity, so keep them engaged!

7) Don't delay.
Rallying kids to do anything can be a challenge, and getting them loaded in a jog stroller is no exception. Amen? I have the most success when I act with speed and confidence. Try it. Ready yourself, load your jog stroller with your supplies, and then quickly load those kiddos. While it may be an ordeal (i.e. physical battle) to load the crew, keep your eye on the prize and stay strong. It is worth it.

8) Protect your valuables.
Many a toy, doll, book, and blankie have been tossed over the BOB. More often than not, I don't notice until I hear a kid screaming, "uh oh...blankie/doggie/snacks/[insert cherished item]." So, bring whatever keeps the kids happy, but do so at your own risk.

9) Create win/win experiences.
The jog stroller allows for all sorts of fitness challenges for the mama and fun for the kids. Whatever your adventure and activity, make it a win for you and a win for them. Take them on a park tour. Choose a route that has a few parks or play areas along the way. Run (or walk) from park to park and let the kids out to play at each stop. While they play, challenge yourself by doing some strength, toning, or stretching moves. I like to use my Nike Training Club app for 15-minute targeted exercises. Or, you could go on a stair hunt. Get your kids to search for staircases along your run/walk. When you find them, act like its the coolest thing ever, park your jogger at the bottom and run up and down several times. Make sure your kids can see you and know that you're not leaving them.

10) Have some perspective.
Kids cry. Kids throw tantrums. Kids go nuts. Kids are not always happy. As a result, it is likely that your kid will cry/throw a tantrum/go nuts/be unhappy at some point in the jog stroller. Decide in advance how you are going to deal with it. I’m not trying to offer parenting advice, but instead just reminding you that it will happen and assuring you that when it does, it's not the end of the world. As with all else, do what you're comfortable with. I tend to take this approach: As long as they are safe, and their physical needs are met, it's not unreasonable to expect them to have a good attitude along the way. When my kids start to lose it, I tell them that "this is what we are doing right now so you might as well enjoy it." Sometimes they do, and sometimes they don't. Such is life.

If you haven't ventured out with a jog stroller, perhaps go for a 30-minute test run/walk. If you're looking for some direction and camaraderie, check out Stroller Strides. Stroller Strides is an organized fitness class designed for moms with strollers (and babies). It's a great way to get into a groove post baby, mix up your fitness routine, and meet new friends.

Whether you're strolling, speed walking, running, journeying solo, walking with a friend, or in a group...enjoy yourself!

For more from Natalie, follow her on Twitter and Instagram!

Question: If you run with a jogging stroller, what tips can you add to the above?

1 comment:

Kirsten said...

I've always wondered when folks start taking their babies out in the jogger? My baby's pediatrician said to wait until she was a YEAR because of the spinal cord development and all the jostling. But she admitted she was unsure. Anyone else receive different advice?

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