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A Mom-Of-Two’s 20 Tips For Running With Babies

There was jogging now and then in high school, wearing whatever sneakers happened to be lying around in the closet and lounge shorts.

There was getting into a regular running routine in college, just a few miles or so at a time, still mainly wearing whichever passable shoes and lounge shorts.

But then, toward the end of college, I got a bit more into it.

I started running with my buddies and my boyfriend. We had fun with it! For the first time, I understood how to really successfully incorporate regular cardio exercise into my daily life as one element in that ongoing quest to feel fit, happy, and well.

Sometimes we’d even go twice a day!

My love for running grew and grew. The people I ran with and where I journeyed changed again and again over the years, but it was always sort of my thing.

I wasn’t one to enter races, time myself, or sprint to the finish, but I loved to just RUN.

I got more serious with my gear, getting specialized running tights and shorts for longer mileage, and upping my shoe game significantly.

Once I was pregnant with my first baby, I stopped. But as soon as I got the OK from our doctors postpartum, I was back on the road (or sidewalk, or bike path).

A few years later, and I’m getting back into it big time after the birth of my second. With a double jogging stroller, a little caffeine, and plenty of determination, I’m logging those miles and feeling great about it.

You can, too! To get you started, here are my 20 tips for running with your babies.

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20 Times: They Are A-Changin’

I only recently started paying attention to how fast I was averaging per mile during my longer runs.

I’ve just never been that into making it a competition, even against myself.

Nope, for me, it’s more about just getting out the door, getting moving, and repeating regularly.

But when I did glance at my mile time the other day (on an app I use on my phone lately), I noticed how much longer it was than how fast people normally run a mile, to my knowledge.

The thing is, that’s OK. I’d recommend keeping this mindset – that, seeing as you’re pushing one or more humans in front of you as you go, your mile times are going to be different. It’s a whole different ballgame.

I focus on feeling well, getting fit, and logging those miles.

19 Taking Advantage Of The Undercarriage

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Although sure, I’ll admit that certain things about running with a big stroller are hard, compared to running with just, well, your own body, I think it’s actually kind of awesome to have a stroller with you while you run.

Think of all the stuff you can bring with you!

Now, clearly, you probably don’t want to weigh yourself down too much here. But I find that storage space super handy.

I can run with my phone, for one (both for safety and using an exercise app, and listening to music if I feel like it), without having to wear an armband or, like, a fanny pack.

When I’m doing longer jaunts, I can toss a sweater under there to put on after I’ve cooled down. And that’s just for me!

All the necessary supplies my kiddos might need can be stored there, as well (more on that later…).

18 Diaper Bag *Lite*

So more specifically, part of the way I take advantage of that undercarriage and am able to run with two little ones strapped in ahead of me is that I always leave a little diaper bag (of sorts) in the stroller.

It’s actually just a really light and simple fabric backpack, with just a few diapers, some wipes, a receiving blanket to use as a changer… We had it packed initially so that my hubs could bring something simpler than my big fully stocked diaper bag to the park and stuff for short outings.

But these days, it just lives underneath my double jogger. I rarely need to use it, but I sure don’t want to be caught without it if my little ones go #2 while I’m out or have an accident.

Having it in there all the time means one less step to go through before I get to head out the door and run.

17 All About That App Now

As I’ve already mentioned, I’ve never really been about timing myself or tracking my “progress.”

I like feeling increasingly fit the more that I run, and I like how I feel when I’m running.

But my hubs started using an app that tracks mileage and time / courses while cycling, and so I gave it a try, too. (I figured I might as well, since I had the option of just tossing my phone in that pocket near the stroller’s handlebar!)

And guys… It’s really fun. There is something that I have now actually found motivating about just seeing how many miles I went that day, or that week.

It helps it to feel like more of my routine, I think, and maybe this even has to do with having my profile set up and the app right there on my phone.

Whatever it is, it kinda works, and it’s one more fun element of running more and more these days.

16 The Hydration Potential, Alone!

Some might see running with an extra 80+ pounds in front of you on three wheels as a hindrance.

I like to see the hidden potential and conveniences this provides.

Most runners I know – myself included – don’t like to guzzle and gulp down water before or even during a run, especially if it’s just a short one.

But, especially if you’re a nursing mother, and as you get into slightly higher mileage than just a short daily jog, you’ll probably need to rehydrate slowly along the way, and certainly right afterward.

Man, I love, love, love those two cupholders right in front of me as I run.

For longer runs, I bring TWO insulated sport-top bottles with lovely cold water in them.

For fast walks or neighborhood jogs, I bring one, and sometimes even a coffee!

15 Stock Snacking Favorites

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I’m not gonna lie: I felt pretty badass the other day, amid the other people running on their own (sans giant stroller) on a popular path, steadily pushing my double BOB loaded with kids and waters and supplies, and not even stopping as I handed my toddler a peanut butter sandwich.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way – and I have a will to run, so I pack whatever food my babes might want while we’re on the go… and then some. (And use appropriate caution, of course, when they are eating, as always – talk to your own docs about what’s safe, as always.)

In any case, some dried seaweed always lives in that light version of the diaper bag. They almost always go through a granola bar and an applesauce pouch, even on short runs, so I restock that as soon as I’m back home.

And for longer jaunts, it’s a PB sandwich or some lunch meat and cheese to keep those tummies happy.

14 Off The Beaten Path

Most of the running I do is just around my own neighborhood.

It’s all about just making it easy to fit it in and get it done.

Instead of having to load up the stroller and kids in the car, drive somewhere, do the run, and then get back home again in time for the next meal / nap / bath / bedtime, I just strap in the babies, go out the door, run, and return again.

But I will say that lately, I’ve really loved – just like once a week or something – venturing out for different runs.

I seek out bike paths and areas where I won’t have to deal with cars or pedestrians so much, and where I can just sort of point the stroller in the right direction and go.

The thing is, you have to run with the front swiveling wheel of some jogging strollers locked, so turning takes effort, and often even stopping completely. So a smooth straight path is this running mom’s dream.

Sometimes I get stuck in traffic on the way home or push dinnertime a little too late – but hey, that’s why I have those sandwiches along!

13 Stash Some Sanitizer

Whenever I write about hand sanitizer, I like to acknowledge that I’m aware that it’s not for everyone. Some people have strong feelings about it, and really don’t like using something quite so harsh and, well, sanitizing.

But I like to have it along, and my doctor said it’s fine to use when handwashing isn’t a practical option.

I always keep one of those mini bottles of the stuff in the stroller – just in case.

I don’t know about you, but the streets and paths where I run aren’t lined with faucets spouting warm water and outfitted with hand soap.

Even when I do run nearby parks with public restrooms, I often can’t fit my double stroller in there, and they don’t have soap for washing.

So, because I often stop at a park to let my kids play, sometimes change a diaper while out, and very often have to give my little ones a snack afterward, sanitizer it is – to make this whole setup work more practically.

12 Stash A Sunscreen Stick, Too

At first as a mom, I couldn’t believe all the steps I had to take just to get out the door each time.

And when you’re going to run, it can be intimidating. You have to change clothes, get shoes on everyone, and apply ALL the sunscreen.

Usually — somehow — I manage to do all of this before feet (and three wheels) hit the pavement.

But I always have one of those little sticks of baby sunscreen along in the stroller just in case.

Sometimes, my two kids are shaded enough by the big canopies of their stroller that it’s fine to just put them in and go, but then we want to stop at a park to play toward the end of my run, and they need some SPF protection.

It’s really small and light and much easier, for me, to apply than the liquid variety.

11 Show Some ID

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Almost every time I go out running with my two babies, I bring my purse along.

When I ran by myself or just with a friend or my husband before having kids, I don’t think we would even bring a phone most of the time. It would have just been too annoying to have to carry something or strap it to you somehow.

But with the stroller, it’s easy enough to just toss the small purse I use regularly under there in the basket.

I’m just more comfortable having my ID and our health insurance cards along, just in case. Guess it’s the mom in me.

If you use a bigger handbag or your regular diaper bag acts as your “purse,” you might consider just bringing your wallet — and your phone, of course, in case of an emergency, and just as a convenience.

10 Turn Up The Tunes

Although when I started to get more seriously into running regularly way back when, I would often run with an iPod (remember those???), in more recent years, I normally just enjoy the silence. Well, or… the birds chirping, and the cars / bikes going by I have to be aware of, and the babies demanding snacks and water and entertainment…

But I made an exception a few months ago, and it was awesome.

I was doing my first longer run with my current double jogging stroller, and on the way home, it was starting to feel hard. Really hard.

You know that moment when you’re kind of pushing yourself running and you have to either just stop and walk or dig down a little deeper and find the fortitude to push through?

Well, I was at that moment, and I realized I was going to need something to keep me going.

Then, I remembered my phone. I reached down with my sweaty hand, opened the music app, and hit “shuffle” all songs.

The first song to blare out was Ginuwine’s “Pony.”

Laughing out loud, letting the bass-y beat encourage my steps, I made it up the current hill and cruised on home.

And so when it gets rough, why not try some tuneage?

9 Get Good Gear

Whenever I talk or write about women and running, I like to be sure to include some discussion of the (all important) wardrobe.

Although one of the reasons running is such a great form of fitness is that you don’t really need much to do it (no membership, no equipment), clothing and shoes that fit very well and are VERY comfortable are kind of a must, certainly if you’re a busy and potentially tired mom just trying to get moving as often as you can.

If your postpartum body (and feet!) are different than the last time you ran, I’d say get the pants / shorts, shoes, bra (that’s a big one), etc. that fit you perfectly right now.

Buy one of a certain style to try before you stock up – just yesterday I wore a new bra that felt good enough pretend-jogging around the house but then was NOT tight enough…

8 Get Good Glasses

I’m not sure what percentage of people out there wear glasses or contacts regularly, but I do, and so this is a crucial element of both daily life as well as running for me.

I could never run outside without sunglasses on – too bright, especially if I was wearing just regular glasses. Plus, those would just be slipping down and falling off and giving me neck tension from trying to keep them on.

And because I don’t often wear contacts throughout each day lately, as a busy mom who works from home, putting them in would be yet another thing to accomplish before getting out the door.

But I, happily, do have a pair of prescription sunglasses that I can just throw on. (The athletic visor hat that I wear for sun protection and sweat absorption helps to keep them in place.)

So I guess I’m just saying that this might be a worthwhile investment if it’s going to make it that much easier and more comfortable for you to get out and run in the sun.

7 Start Out Slow And Solo

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Now, the months have passed, and I’ve gone from walking many days each week with the double jogging stroller to running part of those walks to running almost every day, just recently.

But thinking back, there was actually an even earlier step in this process of me getting back into running again postpartum after the birth of my second baby, and that was just going out alone.

To get accustomed to the feel of running again, make sure I had adequate shoes and clothes, and just sort of test the water, I made time (some way, somehow) to go out for some jogs around the neighborhood by myself.

After dinner, when my husband was home from work, turned out to be the time I could occasionally fit it in.

It was a good reintroduction and starting point, before tackling pushing the weight of the stroller and babies at the same time. (But running with the kids most of the time is more practical because they’re always with me.)

6 Get Gently-Loved Gear

Dude, jogging strollers are expensive.

I could definitely see this being completely cost prohibitive for new parents trying to find a way to fit in an affordable workout.

But at least it’s sort of a one-time expense, as opposed to that monthly gym membership.

Plus, there are other options.

Try searching online or in local buy, sell, trade groups for gear that other parents are trying to get rid of. Once the kids are older, or maybe someone is moving and has to downsize, they just want to feel like they got something back on that big investment, I think.

I had a double jogger I swooped off an online listing for pretty cheap, in pretty good condition, too!

Thrift shops and used baby goods stores sometimes stock this type of stuff, too.

5 Recycle, Reduce, Reuse

On a similar note to the point above, if you’re ready to get back into running – now with a baby or two in tow – you might consider looking around at the strollers and other gear you have and making a trade.

For example, if you had a stroller that worked well for clicking in the infant car seat / carrier for walks and easy daily transpo, you might think about selling or donating that to free up some cash and space for your new jogging stroller.

They are not small, especially the nice ones, I’ve found.

To keep mine in good condition, I keep it inside my house, which is sort of ridiculous, but it makes it easy for me to get out the door each day.

In the trunk of the car or in the yard with a cover might work well for you, if you, too, struggle with space limitations.

4 Talk To The Doc

I was so excited to get my first jogging stroller when I was pregnant.

I couldn’t wait to start running again after I had my baby, and I knew that it would help, of course, to have the required gear assembled and at the ready.

Then I read the instructions that came with it, and they said not to run with a baby until they were of some certain age, one that sounded really, really far away.

I mentioned this to my baby’s pediatrician, and he gave me the go-ahead to get moving.

He felt that as long as the baby was properly secured, all was well.

So I guess I’m just saying to go ahead and use your own and your baby’s doctors as a resource and bring up the topic in general. They might have something helpful to add to the discussion!

3 Make The Hubs Come, Too

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You know when I really got into running regularly, and for much longer stretches than ever before?

When I did it with company – with at least one running buddy.

It’s classic sports psychology stuff that if you have a commitment to exercise with someone, it can really help you stay at it and stay motivated.

On a very basic level, it can just be more fun! There’s someone to talk to, to help you pace yourself or even to challenge you to push a little harder.

Although I suspect many people drawn to running enjoy the solitude, at times, especially while getting started or getting back into it – or trying it for the first time with a stroller – some support might be nice.

You could make your husband (or a friend) go with you!

2 See It As ‘Me’ Time

Do any other moms out there experience that thing where all you want is one minute alone, to yourself, to clear your overwhelmed mind?

These moments are very hard to come by, for me, as a working mom of two under 4.

But then I realized something magical: My time spent running with my tiny tots in the jogging stroller right there with me IS my “me” time.

It’s not like they are silent in there. And sure, sometimes they request (read: whine for) snacks and water and park stops...

But when we get in our groove, and they’re just digging the ride, or talking together, or singing to themselves, or even sleeping, it’s my chance to just think, or zone out, or just be.

1 Turning Fussiness To Fun

Now, let us leave that peaceful image of mommy “me” time behind for what will very likely happen eventually: when your baby (or babies) in the stroller before you are not happy about being strapped into that thing anymore.

It’s sort of like the car, in that sometimes they dig it, and sometimes they decide that they REALLY don’t.

Just like in the grocery store, or car, or wherever, this momma (yours truly) has developed some key strategies for calming babies down, distracting them, and getting them to be a little more, well, quiet while running.

If they start to fuss, you can try talking or singing with them while you go. It’s a great time to take advantage of learning opportunities, as you talk about what you see and hear, and learn about counting, shapes, and colors. (It can distract you from a challenging workout, too!)

“I Spy…” is a good one to bust out, also.

Now, ready… set… GO!

Reference: This One Mom's Experience

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