Tips for Running with Toddlers

I never thought that I would take up running. Growing up, the biggest part about sports that I hated was running, which is probably why I never made it off the bench in any sport I participated in! That makes it hard for me to fathom that in just a few weeks I will be running my first 5k! I decided back in January that I was going to run one, and then my wife decided to join me, and we have had a blast. The only problem with both my wife and I running is that we have to take the kids with us. Three times a week we put the kids in a stroller and we train for our 5k. In the last few months of running while pushing my children, I have learned a few tips that may help you.

I know what you’re thinking. Stop laughing at my running!

Watch Your Posture
I already told you that I originally hated running. Because of that, when I would run pushing my children in the stroller, I was tempted to lean on it a little bit, or bear down on it. I was not very diligent about my posture and my second time running I started to feel it. I had never pulled a muscle in my back before that day, and boy was it painful! If you are not careful with your posture while you run, you will suffer the consequences. When running with a stroller (or just running in general) remember to keep your chest up and your belly button drawn in.

Get A Good Stroller
I know that not everyone is able to do this. Strollers are super expensive. We actually got our double jogging stroller as a gift, and we love it. It is comfortable for the kids, and allows us to make longer strides while we run. The one we have is a little clunky, but other than that, we love it! It has speakers so that the children can listen to music, it has a swivel wheel in the front for turning. If you are able to invest in a good running stroller, I highly recommend it! Here is a link to a really good.

IMG_0794picmonkey.jpg

Entertain the Children
Here is a truth, if your children are screaming, yelling, and are generally miserable when you run, you will not be doing it for long. You have to keep those kids entertained. We make our runs fun for our children by doing a few things. First, we run by the lake near our town. There is a running track along the lake, and my daughter especially enjoys pointing out the water and the geese. Make sure that your route is scenic. Second, we play Disney music and other songs that they know. I know that “Let It Go” may not be the most motivational song to play when trying to run, but if it keeps the kids happy, then it will pay off. Get out your phone and turn on Pandora, and then play some of their music. Third, we give them snacks. If the kids mouths are full of food then they can’t yell! Fourth, interact with the kids. We use a program called C25K, and when it comes time to run, I count down from 10 out loud, my daughter loves this and has started to count with me.

Dried strawberries and puffs were today’s delicacy 

Reward Your Children
One main reason my children put up with sitting in a stroller for our 30 minute runs is because they know that after the run is over they are going to get to play on the playground. There is a slide and swing set just walking distance from our running trail, so when we finish we just walk over there and let them play for 15 minutes. It has become part of our routine and is a special treat for them.

One thing that kept me from pursuing running for a long time was the fear of dragging the kids along. But we have made it so that it is actually enjoyable to have them come along. There are plenty of benefits to having your children ride along when you run: You are spending time with your children, they are getting out of the house, and you are teaching your children the importance of fitness by modeling it. Don’t let a toddler hold you back from running, take your kid with you and have fun with them! Happy running!

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