The world lost an incredible mother, wife, daughter, friend, attorney, underprivileged advocate, and community member suddenly and unexpectedly on October 16, 2013. In honor of my late wife, Holli Wallace, I am training for the Hallucination 100 mile trail run and raising money for the Children's Grief Center of the Great Lakes Bay Region.

My training progress

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Running with a baby

I haven't posted much lately. Mostly because I've been trying to follow my own advice and refrain from long runs until my knee starts feeling better. I've had a few short 5 milers that went pretty well and the foam roller/stretching combination seems to be working really well. Still, I don't want to make things worse which will lead to longer recovery time.

I've been doing a lot of walking with Elliott and Casey to make up for the lost running time. Those Kelty carriers are awesome--thanks Mom and Dad. I'm not quite sure how the workout compares to running--I checked a calorie calculator online and it looks like backpacking burns about 150 calories less per hour than running. All I really know is that between Elliott, the pack, and water I've got to be hauling nearly 30 pounds. It works up a sweat. If you haven't seen a picture of our setup there is a picture here.

Coming up with cross training that incorporates a baby is a challenge, but it got me thinking about the issue of coordinating running and other important parts of life, such as family. I think most of you reading this know that I have a 14 month old baby and a very supportive wife, who is currently working full time. I'm not teaching for the summer, which means my schedule is pretty flexible, but as those of you with children realize, it isn't all that flexible.

Basically, all my training must either incorporate the baby or take place during the evening or early morning. I usually wake up around 6:30 AM, which is plenty early enough for me and I'd rather spend the evening relaxing, or cleaning, or getting Elliott ready for bed. That leaves the rest of the day with Elliott.

Not only is it a reasonable option, but its pretty cool. Here's why:

Elliott loves to run. When he's awake he loves to look around. When he's tired he sleeps peacefully. He has probably covered hundreds of miles in his jogging stroller without ever crying or being upset. Seriously, if you have children you probably this is a sufficient reason to go jogging with your baby.

Elliott gets to see new stuff and meet new people. Seriously, I am sure he gets bored of being in our house. In fact, he would be outside all the time if we would let him. We see new places, people often smile and say hello to us. It's just friendly.

Elliott carries my stuff for me. Especially in the summer, it's nice to have some water, maybe a powerbar. We always need baggies for the dog. A cell phone can be nice to have along. It doesn't take long to have more than fits in a small fanny pack, which can bounce around uncomfortably. All that stuff and more will fit in a jogging stroller. Nice.

How do you run with a baby?

I've read multiple places that you should wait until they are 6 months old (uh, check with your doctor of course--this is just some blog). Elliott and I started when he was slightly younger, but we went slow, he had unusually strong muscle control for his age, and I was eager. Properly bundled I've been running with him at 40 degrees and with sunscreen we've been out in 85 degree weather. We have a full cover rain shield that is essential in windy weather too. I've taken him up to one and half hours at a time without a complaint. I'll probably try longer this summer if the weather is right. I don't know if this is typical, but it works for us.

What about your dog?

Of course, Casey goes with us. I've found surprising little information on running with a baby and a dog at the same time. I don't have many recommendations. A waist leash can come in handy so that you can keep both hands on the stroller. Make sure that your dog is one that you can keep under control. Casey jogs nicely next to the stroller, but it took two runs of him desperately trying to outrun the stroller and running into the wheels. He figured it out. I also threw in a few cautionary grunts when he started to drift too close to the stroller. I always keep him on a shorter leash so that he is slightly behind the stroller and can see it well. Otherwise I risk a collision when I change directions. Other then that it just takes a little practice to make sure everything is moving in the right direction and turns don't look like some NASCAR highlight reel.

Whew, that turned into a longer post than intended. Hope some of you found it useful and don't forget to DONATE TODAY!


Anonymous said...


Came across your blog, because of the North Country Trail run. A little advice on the baby and dog issue. Baby in the stroller, dog on the leash, the opposite can be a disaster! HAH! My son is currently 9. We did the baby stroller dog thing for about three years, then when he was old enough, my son rode his bike while I ran. North Country Run is on my schedule with a question mark next to it. Good luck with your running.

From West Michigan,


Brian Thomas said...

Hmmmm... Actually, the way that Elliott toddles around a leash might be a good idea. You're right though--the dog would hate the stroller. Thanks for stopping by!

silvenwolf said...

How about running with a cat? ;)

Altho I think the process of putting a leash on a cat might result in some very scratched arms, and one very angry cat.

-Sandi ^_^

Brian Thomas said...

I would carry the cat in a backpack. They are much lighter than a baby. How do they feel about backpacks? Is this why I don't own a cat?