I have three kids – aged 5 (girl), 4 (boy), and 2 (boy). I love taking them places. The problem is that I am not patient and can’t wait to show them some things that I know they would appreciate more when they are a bit older. For example, I wanted to take my boys to a Yankee game last year – good thing I finally realized that a 3 year old and 1 year old would not really enjoy it as much as I was thinking they would enjoy it. 🙂
One of the great things about miles and points is being able to take family to different places all over the country and world at a significantly lower price than what it would cost if you were doing it without miles and points (it still costs, because you have annual fees, airline fees, taxes, etc). While we are back in the US this summer, we are planning a brief excursion down to Washington DC to show them some of the things they have been learning about in school and allow them to connect a bit with US History.
However, there is a great way you can show your child (or children) the world – without a lot of travel! One of the ways I most enjoy seeing different cities (even my hometown) is on the run. It is such a great opportunity to see things you would miss when going by at 55 mph – or even 35 mph. That is one of the things I love about running marathons. It gives me the opportunity to hit all the high points (and some low points) of a city – all in under 4 hours! Believe it or not, you can give you children that same experience of seeing more of their hometown and even seeing different cities around the US and the world – on the run.
Showing Your Child the World – From a Jogging Stroller
The jogging stroller is the perfect vehicle to show your child the world. Not only does it allow them to be a part of your running life and experience the same things you do on your training runs (although in relative comfort), but it is an actual stroller! That means that you can take it with you on your trips and explore new cities – with your child! Strollers do not count as a regular checked piece of baggage so it is free to check-in.
Running with your child (or children, if you have a double jogger – a lot of work but worth it!) is a great experience. True, you are not going to get to run at your full training potential when pushing a jogging stroller, but by taking your child out with you, it helps to allow you to recognize more of the beauty and things of interest around you.
We used to live in the country. I loved taking my kids out on runs as we would make a whole event out of it. About 4.5 miles away, there was a nice small pier and dock area (with their own little lighthouse). It was so much fun to run down there with them – pass the horse farms, the dog kennels, the crops, deer in the fields, etc – and then just walk along the pier for a bit and throw some rocks in the water while drinking the drinks they brought along. It was funny – even though they were sitting and I was pushing, they always said they were tired out from the running and just needed to sit and get a drink for a little bit. 🙂 Yes, you can certainly drive down to a place like that, but by running with them in a jogger, the whole trip became about the outing instead of just a quick drive and back.
I have taken them running in different cities I have visited as well. Note: you definitely want to take a run by yourself first to make sure that your sidewalk does not run out on the edge of a highway! It was really neat to discover new things in the city together and to explore some of the areas of interest that we would come upon. It can be really useful in cities that have heavy vehicle traffic. One time when we were in St. Petersburg, we wanted to go to the water from where we were staying but the traffic (rush hour) was a nightmare. So, we unpacked the jogging stroller and took off on the few mile run to the water – and probably made it there faster than if we had driven (and with far fewer headaches).
Then, of course, you can always use the jogging stroller to run a local race with them (most large races and marathons ban strollers, but a lot of shorter, local races are fine with them). I have done that a couple of times and the kids love “running” past people as we go. It is important to start in the back of the pack (so no one trips over your in the early rush) so we always passed a lot of people. The kids loved running towards the finish line and felt like they were the ones that were actually racing!
Getting a Jogging Stroller
I have used several different brands and models of jogging strollers – and none of them were the expensive ones. They can cost more than $400 but it is actually incredibly easy to find them at a fraction of the cost. First, you need to decide what you are looking for.
Do you want a single jogger or double?
- If you do want a double, do you want it as a side-by-side or tandem
- Do you want one that gives complete cover in the front (by a plastic canopy, etc)?
- Do you need one that is on the taller side?
- How long do you plan on keeping it?
There are so many options out there from so many different manufactures, it can be hard figuring out what is best for you. If you want to read an excellent article about how to choose a jogging stroller, read this writeup by Running Times.
You can find jogging strollers at any children’s stores (like Babies R Us), at many sporting goods stores (like Dick’s Sporting Goods or Sports Authority), at running stores (like Fleet Feet), at Wal-mart and Target, and at Amazon. Believe it or not, the best place to actually buy a jogging stroller is on Craigslist. This is because so many new parents receive them as gifts or parents use them for a while before realizing it is not for them, or the kids grow up. Just searching my local Craigslist in Rochester brought out many different models ranging from $50 – $250. That is less than many of these strollers cost new!
Believe it or not, now through early April is the best time to test the used market for a jogging stroller. Once end of April/May rolls around, many people will be looking and will snap up all the good, used strollers. There is not a whole lot that can really wrong on a jogging stroller, so if it looks in good shape, it should work fine for you. I had one jogger that would have a wheel come off after about 300 yds if you did not push it back on. Just drilling through the bracket to put a pin in worked and it was a great stroller!
As springtime rolls around, take it as an opportunity to show your child the world – starting from the streets in your hometown and going to whatever city you choose to visit. It will allow them (and you) to see things that you would otherwise miss and to enjoy the cities at street-level.
Do you currently use a jogging stroller? If so, what is your favorite model?