Running with Three Kids
I have recently discovered a true love for running. Three years ago, I would have thought today would never come. Ten years ago, the thought of running more than three laps around the cheer mat made me want to cry. Or actually.. it did make me cry. I don’t think anyone who knew me in high school would think that I would be getting ready to run my third half marathon this weekend!
A lot of times, the biggest obstacle to getting “back in shape” after having my kids was telling myself that I don’t have time. I found that running was something I could do when I was home with the kids, and.. it’s free! Running with kids though, means running with a stroller which is super intimidating to a lot of people. I mean.. it’s running (which so many people already hate) while pushing 30-60 pounds of baby.
Now that I have done a full training cycle with probably half of my miles being stroller miles, I have compiled some tips that make stroller running just a little bit more bearable.
Get Someone to Run With
One of the things that gets me out of bed on mornings I just don’t want to run or go to the gym, is knowing that there is somebody else counting on me to be there. Sure, they could workout without me, but the commitment was made. If I were left to my own devices, it would take a lot more motivation to get going.
One of my friends and I run every preschool day together, because we only have two kids each during that time. We bust out the strollers and get going. It’s nice to use that time to exercise, so the rest of my day is freed up to spend with my family and get errands done.
Having someone else that is also pushing a stroller helps me in a competitive sense, but also in a social sense. I don’t want to be the first one to stop running, so we usually agree on our mileage before we start, and push through until we reach it. Having somebody to talk to during the run also makes it go by much quicker.
If you don’t have somebody willing to run with you, find a good podcast. I talk about why I love Jamie Ivey so much lately, in this blog post. It feels like you’re running with a friend. Haha.
Get the Right Gear
Having a sturdy, durable jogging stroller that holds two kids is CRUCIAL for running with multiple kids. I have no desire for a triple jogger, though I’m sure they make them. So I wait until Micah is in preschool and I strap the two girls into the double BOB and hit the road.
Some other gear that I have found crucial to an enjoyable running experience are a rain cover, and a caddy to store my phone, snacks for the kids, etc.
The rain cover is for obviously.. rain, but it also helps protect from wind. I have ran in the cold without it, but they stay so much warmer with it on, which eliminates the need for bulky blankets that ultimately end up under your front wheel.
The caddy is nice because on a longer, or hotter run, I can throw a water bottle in there for myself, but I can also put bribes (snacks) in there for my two year old. On any run over four miles, she starts getting a little antsy. Actually, any run that falls too closely to her naptime, or interrupts the latest episode of “Pinkalicious” kind of pisses her off. So our favorite snacks make their way into the extra cupholder for easy access for me to keep her satisfied for the next mile or so.
One of the things that has allowed me to stay consistent with my running, even in rainy Oregon winters, is gear that keeps me warm in cold temperatures and rain. I highly recommend this running shirt for cold days, and a thin waterproof jacket for rainier days. I also use these gloves, and this ear-warmer/headband.
Your kids will be perfectly fine in normal cold-weather gear, especially with the rain cover I mentioned above.
Get on the Same Page as your Spouse
Probably the biggest thing that has allowed me to be successful in sticking with a training plan while being home with three kids, is the support of my husband. He is also a runner (and way faster than me!) and understands the importance of creating a goal, and sticking to the plan to meet the goal. Without his support, I wouldn’t have been able to spend so much money on stroller gear, running clothes, race fees, and also have been able to go on runs when running with the stroller just wasn’t possible that day.
There will be days when your friends can’t run with you, your kids won’t cooperate for more than two miles, and you just won’t feel like going. Having somebody who loves me and sends me out the door (even if it’s just to go on a thirty minute walk) is an invaluable part of my training this time around.
If you don’t have a husband or wife to fall back on when things don’t workout, look back at my first tip. Find more than one friend so when the first one flakes on you for your six miles, you have three other people to text. Community is important!
The bottom line is this – if you want to run (or lift, bike, swim, etc.) you just have to get going. People can help you get out the door, they can offer you words of encouragement, but if you don’t want to get going.. it’s not going to happen.
You know that cheesy quote that “every journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step?” – it is so true, and especially in running. I never thought I would be able to run three miles, let alone thirteen. Get out the door – and get going!