When the sun starts to shine and the warmth touches your skin it can be a magnificent feeling after a grey and dark winter in the UK. But fast forward to May/June when the temperature are often plus 20 degrees. How do you deal with this sun when you rely on a buggy run in your week to fit in some exercise? Forget the annoying magazine articles which suggest you move your runs to early morning or late evening. How the hell does that happen with a little person in tow. Well as a mum of 2 daughters aged under 5 and owner of the UK's first specialist retailer of running buggies, here are my top tips;
1) Slip, Slop Slap on the high factor sun cream to your little one. AND do this when you are still at home, before clothes have been put on, giving it ample time to sink it. (like an hour) In my experience putting it on just before you leave means it smears on car seats (or the buggy) and it can be pretty impossible to get off. Sun cream even stained my friend’s car paintwork! But it’s a necessary evil.
2) UV Cover or sunshade. I've often been jogging along looking at the sun's direct rays on my little ones relaxed (and deliciously squidgy) legs and thinking, 'they look like they might cook in this heat, what the hell am I going to do...' One way to reduce the stress of this situation (for around £30) is a UV/Sun cover. They tend to be black to reflect the sun’s rays, AND most importantly, mesh to allow for excellent air flow. The most common mistake is people putting materials over a buggy (towel, blanket, muslin) which are not breathable enough. Even though they might be a light colour they can trap the heat inside. Babies struggle to regulate their temperature so it's important to keep a good airflow.
3) Breaks. I appreciate once you get going there is a concern that a stop in momentum may set off some crankiness, however in extreme temperatures it's important to keep checking on your little one to ensure they are doing okay. If they appear pink, sweaty and distressed it might be a day to abandon the run.
4) Flying annoyances. No this isn't a rant about the use of drones, it's flies and midges. I can just about manage to deal with a few bites but I really hate it when my kids have to deal with the discomfort of it. Having a mesh cover helps prevent them being bitten and if you introduce them to the cover at a young age they won’t reject it as much as if you pop it on aged 2.
5) Layer's. I've been buggy running for several years now and its key to layer up your kids. Little ones can quickly get cold when you are moving and there is a breeze, even a warm one. A hat and sunglasses are a good idea.
6) Pick your route. A hot day might be time to head for some woodland shaded trails and if you have a running buggy, it will deal with the uneven terrain with its suspension and large wheels just fine.
7) With all this worrying about your children don't forget about you! Sunglasses, a hat or visor and sun cream for you should be a given. Plus being well hydrated of course. But the benefit of being a buggy runner is you can carry this 'stuff' with you!
Even a regular buggy runner such as myself gets it wrong at times. Only today I arrived at a warm June mornings parkrun with no suncream. DOH! So don’t be afraid to ask others for help if you need!