Running is hard enough when you aren't pushing 60 pounds of children, their gear, and a stroller that weighs at least 12 pounds uphill over those miles. Yes, running with a jogger can be a major pain in the butt. And it can also be the greatest way in the world to get that butt into shape. It all depends on how you look at it.
As a runner, I will often do just about anything to avoid pushing my kids in the jogger. I get up at 5 if I have to, pushing my tired self out the door often under cover of darkness. I will wait until my husband gets home, stressed and in a bad mood, and I will shout "see ya!" as I race out the door to get the most of the fading sunlight.
But as someone who is gearing up to start training for a third marathon and has two children under 5 and a full-time job, running with a jogger is a reality. So here is an 8-step guide to actually enjoying runs with the kids in tow.
Step 1: Choose your jogger: There are good joggers and there are bad ones, like anything else. A good jogger practically pushes itself. I run with a BOB Ironman Duallie and a Chariot CX Double. Both have great shocks for the kids and a lot of creature comforts like soft seats and pockets for their toys.
If you're going to be running more than three miles with the kids more than once a week, it's essential to get a stroller that has a fixed front wheel. The swivel wheels are great for long walks, but for serious running, the fixed wheel is a must.
Step 2: Change your mindset: Whatever it takes to get your bum out the door with kids, do it. Be grateful for the extra weight because it will tone your arms and glutes as you run uphill.
Step 3: Prepare snacks: Pack way more than you need (lightweight, natch), and when the kids get upset, ply them with goodies.
Step 4: Plant carrots: Whether it's a destination run to a park three miles away (something we often do) or a promise to stop for ice cream on the way home, give your kids something for sitting still for an hour.
Step 5: Bring music: Tie your iPod to the top of the jogger so both you and the kids get the benefit of the tunage and you can still hear them when they talk to you.
Step 6: Engage the kids: Sing songs to make sure you keep your breathing even, play games like I Spy, etc. to keep your mind moving.
Step 7: Play with it: Vary your speed so you get a good interval workout and the kids get some fun with speed.
Step 8: Keep your jogger accessible: Once home, it's best to have a place outdoors -- a garage, a covered porch, a shed, etc. -- to store the jogger because it can become cumbersome to open and close it multiple times.
What are your tips for jogging happy with the kids?