By Guest Blogger Sandy Harper

It seems so long ago since I was able to just lace up my sneakers, head out the door and hit the pavement. Now there is a lot more planning involved when trying to continue my love for running.

As a mom of two young children (3 years old and 8 months), I have been through a bit of trial and error when it comes to going for a run.

Things I need to consider before dragging my kids along with me for a run: weather, making sure we’re all dressed appropriately, feed them but also have snacks, boredom busters for them, and stroller safe paths.

To help my other run loving mothers out there, I have compiled a list of what I consider “must” haves to have the most enjoyable run, as possible, with kids in tow.

1. Invest in a good jogging stroller
I suggest going somewhere like Bed, Bath & Beyond to try out a few different brands. That is what I did; jogging with it up and down the aisles. I ended up choosing a Bob. Once you know what kind you want you can often find them cheaper on sites like Craig’s List.

2. Go when you know your kids are happiest
Whether it’s after breakfast or dinner, or during naptime, choose a time you know that the kids will be calm and “reasonable”.

3. Bring snacks, toys, books and electronics/headphones
Even if you just fed them, chances are they are going to ask for a snack mid-run, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. It’s also a good idea to give them something to occupy themselves. For the toddler, I bring a book, small toys like cars and trucks and sometimes a tablet. For the baby, I make sure she has her pacifier and a small toy to busy her hands. Bring whatever you know will help keep your child happy.

4. Scope out running spots ahead of time
It is helpful and safer to check out parks, running trails, neighborhoods before you take the kid(s). This gives you a chance to learn the terrain, stroller accessibility and safety of a given running spot. That way there are no unpleasant surprises.

5. Wear the right clothing
Look up the weather forecast. Is it going to be hot or cold? Obviously this helps clothing the kids properly, plus yourself.

6. Know your limitations and theirs
Your pace will be slower; don’t expect your personal record breaking best! Also, the kids at some point will get bored or need you for something. Expect to take a few stops so you can check on them.

7. Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help
When you need to go for longer runs it is best to try not having the little ones if at all possible. That way they and you won’t wear out plus it gives you a much need break to focus on your passion.

Are you a mom and a runner? Please let us know if there are other ideas or activities you have or done to help make your run successful with kids.