I often get asked how I can “get my children to sit in the jogger during my long runs”. I guess I am lucky that my children sit well and enjoy riding in the jogger for our daily run/walks. I mean, my children rarely sit still long enough for me even to use the restroom by myself.
Here are my top 5 Tips on how to run with Small Children:
1. Make fitness a part of your daily routine. Each morning, after breakfast and our morning chores, my children (and dog) are itching to head out on the trail for our morning run/walk. It is a a part of our morning routine. My children (and dog) expect it. I expect it. When it doesn’t happen it seems like our day is off kilter.
2. How do you keep them in the jogger? Do not give them the opportunity, or chance, to get out of the jogger. I do not allow my children to get out of the jogger or stand up when we are on our run/walk. It is not an option. It is expected that they sit and enjoy the ride. What they do when they are sitting in the jogger is up to them. They can play with their toy(s ), read a book, sing songs, tell stories, and more. I have taught them that when they are in the jogger for exercise… they stay in the jogger. Getting out is not an option.
3. Be flexible. I rarely run the whole time I push the boys in the jogger. First off, it is hard work. Secondly, someone is almost always dropping a toy, snack, or drink. There are always bugs or creatures to see up close. Someone needs you to look at their booger they just picked. Enjoy the ride, be flexible, and be willing to take pit stops along the way.
4. Be realistic. If you just started running, you wouldn’t realistically run with a jogger 10 miles. If you just started pushing your small child in the jogger, give him/her time to adjust to sitting in the jogger for that duration (just like your training plan calls). Know your child. Know your body. If it is getting close to nap time… be prepared accordingly. If it is getting close to snack or lunch time… bring food. If it is hot or cold… be prepared. There are times, on a long run/walk, when my children get antsy at the end. I encourage them to sit tight, we are almost home (even if home is still a whopping 3 miles away).
5. I am not above bribing my children with snacks, rewards, or special locations to get a good solid run in. Yes, I know that we are supposed to be healthy examples to our children… but there are times when a special treat is in order. My children usually get their mid-morning snack while riding in the jogger for our run/walk. Usually it is a healthy snack. However, some days the reward needs to be upped a bit… especially when the boys do not want to go outside for a run/walk (shocker, I know! How could they NOT want to be trapped in a jogger for over an hour!?) Sometimes suckers, fruit snacks, or even gum are just the bribe to encourage a positive happy run/walk.
What tips and tricks do you find helpful for exercising with small children?