Friday, April 10, 2015

Running with Two Littles

I've been contemplating how this little one will change things for us- Mr M and I will finally be out-numbered and we'll have two under two for a short time- and it'll affect my running habits as well.

I've been doing a lot of treadmill running since River was born, but I prefer running outside. It's much easier for me to stay motivated when I'm breathing fresh air than when I'm running in place, going nowhere. We live on narrow roads, so while I have on occasion taken Sunshine on a run with me, I haven't done it with River because I just don't feel comfortable doing it. Though it would be easier with him since he's so much smaller than her. I'd like to start running outside more, but it'll mean loading everything and everyone in the car and driving to another location, dropping Sunshine off somewhere along the way since she can't run fast enough to keep up with me. A lot of hassle just to go on a run, and not likely to actually happen.

On the other hand, I have been hitting the bike paths in town with River while Sunshine is at Irish music class, so it does happen on occasion if it's in conjunction with other planned activities and I've dressed appropriately.

One of these days Sunshine will be old enough that I can go for a run and leave her at home, but I'd still have to take the two littles with me, which means we'd have to retire our single BOB for a double stroller. BOB has been such a great investment- we bought it practically new from a family on craigslist when Sunshine was about 3 months old, and we have gotten a lot of use out of it over the years. We used it a lot more with Sunshine than with River, but we still use it with him.

I've been researching double jogger strollers and I have to admit I'm not super happy with the options. I like the idea of the Phil +Ted in that it's only the width of a single stroller, but from all accounts it's not actually supposed to be used for running. Plus I don't like that one kiddo is always stuck in the back, unable to see.

The InStep Safari Double Tandem Stroller seems like a better option, though it hasn't been made for a few years, so I'd be stuck with what I can find on craigslist. From what I can tell, it was originally sold at a pretty good (i.e., not super-expensive) price. The second seat is raised up, allowing the child in back to have a better view.

The Mountain Buggy Plus One seems pretty similar to the InStep Safari Double Tandem, but is a lot more expensive, even more expensive than some of the BOB double joggers. Reviews were pretty consistent in saying that the footwell for the rear seat was very small, making it difficult to get the child's feet in and out.

Which leads me back to BOB. They don't make an inline double jogger, just the standard side-by-side double jogger. The real issue I have with the wider width is how much more space it will take on our narrow roads and the non-existent side of the road that's really the barrow pit that you have to steer into when passing vehicles don't give you any space.

Baby Jogger also makes a side-by-side double jogger with a front wheel that swivels or can be locked in place, but if I were to choose a side-by-side, I'd stick with what we know, BOB. BOB makes joggers with fixed front wheels or front wheels that can swivel or be locked in place. Our single BOB has a fixed wheel and I'm used to steering with it, but supposedly being able to swivel the front wheel can be super handy when you're steering through crowds. Though the double jogger is wide enough that it won't fit through a lot of spaces, so I'm not sure how much that actually helps.

I'm probably leaning toward a fixed wheel BOB Duallie, but I'll wait till the little one is a few months old and then find a store that sells several models/brands so I can test them in real life. We may end up moving in a year or so, and maybe we'll end up somewhere with safer roads or paths for me to take the kiddos on. So maybe all my worrying is for nothing. As it usually is :)


I wrote the above section a month or so ago, with the intent of adding a bit more to it and then hitting "post".

However, I got sidetracked while looking for strollers to test out. After some more thought, I decided I probably wouldn't be doing much running with the stroller and I didn't really want the bulk of the side-by-side joggers. Much as I don't really enjoy the treadmill, it is much more convenient at this point in my life for everyday workouts. In a couple years I may be able to run more outside, but at that point Sunshine will be old enough to stay home and watch the kiddos, or I can just take the baby with me in BOB. So I decided not to worry too much about the jogging capabilities of the strollers we were considering.

After researching availability, we found a local store that had a Phil + Teds Navigator in stock. I couldn't find any stores that carried the Mountain Buggy Plus One (and the Safari InStep is no longer made). We went and tried out the Navigator in person since there's only so much you can see online. Moving seats around and trying out the different configurations (they claim 26 different options!) convinced us that it would work well for us. Sunshine was convinced before me and started pointing out all the reasons we should get it :) One point she really liked was how easily she was able to push and steer it (the fixed wheel on BOB makes him a lot harder to push and steer).

I was worried about my legs bumping into the lower back seat, but that wasn't a problem, even when I tried jogging a little. Though I do have a rather short stride, so some people may have a problem with that. The handle is adjustable, which is great when one spouse (me) is super short and the other spouse (Mr M) is super tall. Our 9-year-old BOB does not have an adjustable handle, though I believe some of the newer models do.

Phil + Ted strollers are pricey, but we were able to buy it when the double kit was being thrown in for free, which saved us $150 bucks. I had planned on waiting until summer or fall to buy a new stroller, but since we didn't want to miss out on the sale, we ended up buying it in March.

Because of all the seating options, we're using it as a single stroller for now and will be able to so again when River outgrows the stroller but the baby is still small enough to need it. So we anticipate many years of use, which will make it worth the money we spent. And that swivel front wheel does make it super maneuverable. I hadn't realized what a difference that makes, but it really does. The swivel wheel can be locked in place, but there's still some play in it, so it will never be as rigid as the BOB fixed wheel. I'm guessing this is why Phil + Ted strollers aren't marketed as jogging strollers, though I could be wrong, since BOB swivel wheels are also lockable and they're still marketed as joggers. Phil + Ted stroller frames don't seem quite as heavy duty as the BOB stroller frames, so perhaps that's a contributing factor. It'll be interesting to see how Phil's frame holds up.

One thing I've noticed is that Phil folds smaller than BOB. I can get both into the trunk of the Camry Hybrid (like a lot of hybrid sedans, they have small trunks because of the batteries), but Phil takes up less space and I don't have to take any wheels off. BOB will fit, but I have to remove the front wheel and it doesn't fold quite as flat.

So for now Phil stays in the Camry and BOB stays in the CRV. Whichever car we happen to be in, we can go for a walk if the opportunity arrises. When the baby is born, he'll get strapped to my chest for awhile when we go on walks. Because one seat can be laid down flat, he'll be able to ride in Phil from an early age, though I like keeping my babies close when they're young. Once both kiddos start riding  in Phil on a regular basis BOB will get retired to the shed until he's needed again.

And I think Phil will get lots of use with two little boys less than two years apart- the ability to keep them contained and easily transport them from place to place will definitely come in handy when we're out and about.


Have you used a double jogger or stroller? What did you like? What did you not like? What would you do differently if you had to do it again?

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