Why I love my Out ‘n’ About Nipper Sport running buggy

It was always going to be the case that I purchased a running buggy.

Out 'n' About Nipper Sport V4

Despite saying during pregnancy that I thought I probably wanted to keep running as my ‘me time’ during the week, having a running buggy makes it so much more practical to fit runs in since Oscar arrived and it helps me remain a regular attendee at parkrun on a Saturday morning.

When Oscar was just a few weeks old, a friend from my running club told me about Wendy from Running Buggies coming to Stanwick Lakes the following week.  She was going to be demonstrating some of the different running buggies that her business sold and be on hand to offer advice to buggy runners.

I think it might have been my very first trip out on my own with Oscar in the car at that point, and I still had no clue what I was doing as a Mum with a new baby (do we ever really know?!) but I was determined to get to Stanwick Lakes, just 2 miles up the road and a regular running haunt for me – as I felt it would be so helpful to view the buggies in person and to be able to chat to other Mums as well as Wendy, who had a wealth of knowledge about the different buggies available.

The day before the event I messaged to say that I would be going along and Wendy asked what my requirements were in a buggy.  I told her that I would mainly be running short distances with the buggy – plenty of parkruns and runs around an hour in length, including some off road running.  The buggy wouldn’t be used for town trips, but would potentially also be used for weekend walks in the countryside.

The two buggies which she suggested I try out that (very cold) Friday morning were the Thule Glide and the Out ‘n’ About Nipper Sport V4.  Both would be suitable for my requirements, with the Out ‘n’ About weighing in slightly heavier and the Thule sporting a larger price tag.

Thule Glide and the Out n About Nipper Sport V4Wendy helpfully held Oscar for me (and found an extra blanket to wrap him in as I was totally unprepared for the chilly wind that was raging that morning!) so that I may run along the track (childless!) and test out each of the two buggies.

Although I didn’t purchase a buggy immediately following that visit, I took sets of information packs home with me to weigh up my options and check my bank balance ready for the day I inevitably did purchase a buggy.

Had it not been for Wendy putting on an event I wouldn’t have known where to begin when it came to testing out running buggies or knowing the difference between all the makes and models.  Where do you go to try out a running buggy?!  I had assumed that all three wheeled buggies were suitable for running and in all conditions, but that is not the case at all.

It is recommended that you do not run with a baby in a buggy, even a dedicated running buggy, until they are at least six months old and capable of holding their own head up confidently.  Similar to the time that you are confident in placing them in a high chair at the table with you for dinner.

Just before Oscar turned six months old I spoke to Wendy again.  She was headed back up to my side of the country and offered to bring along a couple of buggies for me to try out now that I would be able to test them out with Oscar as passenger.  I thanked her for her kind offer but had already decided to invest in the Out ‘n’ About Nipper by this point, so headed over to her website to make my purchase.

And I haven’t looked back!

Oscar and I with the running buggy

Having my own running buggy has been great for so many reasons, mainly:

  • I can easily take Oscar out on walks so that we may both enjoy the fresh air along bridleways and footpaths – some tracks which a regular buggy would not be able to cope with.
  • I can fit in runs during the daytime when I’m a lone parent, or during weeks when Dan is working away from home and I otherwise would not be able to run.
  • I can run Oscar to sleep on all those days when he refuses to take a nap!

Some of the features of the Out ‘n’ About Nipper Sport I have found really useful are:

  • Great suspension
    • When Oscar was about 3 or 4 months old I liked to take him out for a walk every day in his day-to-day buggy.  I vividly remember walking along a wide rocky gravel track and Oscar crying so much from the movement of the buggy that I ended up picking him up and placing him on my shoulder to calm him, whilst awkwardly pushing the heavy buggy along with my other hand.  I regularly run down this gravelly track now with my Out ‘n’ About buggy whilst Oscar snores away inside!
      Oscar and I at Wimpole Estate parkrun
  • Handbrake
    • Alongside the handlebar is a handbrake.  I always make sure to have my hand close to this when running downhill!
      Out 'n' About Nipper Sport running buggy
  • Safety strap
    • Sliding my hand through this strap when running gives me piece of mind that if I trip or stumble, the buggy and Oscar aren’t going to continue rolling out into the road, or into potential danger.  Instead, the buggy will stay by my side (and hopefully help to keep me upright should I trip too!)
  • Undercarriage storage
    • There is a fair amount of storage underneath the buggy for items you might need on a run or space for a mini food shop after an emergency run to the shops!  (If you push the sun visor up, it does a great job of holding a french stick in place too I discovered!)
      French stick in the running buggy
  • Top pockets alongside the visor
    • These are great for holding my phone and keys when I run, so that they’re easy to grab should I need them.
  • The adjustable back
    • Although Oscar could sit up unaided from about five months old, I still always made sure to place an array of cushions behind him when he was on the floor during the early days, as he wasn’t always that stable!  The back of the Out ‘n’ About Nipper can be adjusted so that it reclines and this is how I used it when we first started out running together.  Now that Oscar is older, he wants to be able to see where he’s going all the time so I’ve adjusted the back to a more upright position.
      Oscar at March parkrun
  • It’s Lightweight (9.8kg)
    • Following my Caesarean, when Dan returned to work I remained housebound for several weeks as I could not lift or turn the original buggy we owned.  The difference in weight between that buggy and the running buggy is very noticeable, and I am able to hold the Out ‘n’ About easily with just one hand.
      Out 'n' About Nipper Sport running buggy - lightweight
  • Adjustable handlebar
    • I’m fairly tall so have the handlebar set at it’s highest setting.  My friend Jenny is much shorter than me and when I was unable to collect Oscar from nursery one day last Summer she was able to adjust the handlebar so that pushing the buggy became more comfortable for her.
  • 16″ wheels
    • Every non-runner comments on the size of these!
      Oscar in the running buggy
  • Fixed front wheel
    • This takes some getting used to.  My brother still complains that he finds it impossible to push Oscar’s running buggy when out on a walk, but it’s really not difficult when you’re used to it.  All running buggies should have fixed wheels.  If you were running along with a regular buggy which has front wheels which twist and your front wheel hit a large stone, causing the wheel to twist quickly to the side you could soon end up heading into the road, or into other runners if you were at a parkrun or race.  When turning a buggy with a fixed wheel, the way to change direction is to lightly put pressure on the handlebar at the back of the buggy, resulting in the (very light) front wheel lifting from the ground.  You can then angle the buggy in the direction you want to be headed before returning the front wheel to the ground again.
      Sounds complicated and slow, but very quick easy after a few tries.
  • Easy to use foot brake
    • The foot brake is located at the back of the buggy and is bright red, so impossible to miss.  It’s a quite large plastic flap, which is really easy to push down and up again when you want to remove the brake to continue on with your journey.
  • Ease of fitting in a car boot
    • I choose to leave the back seats down on one side in my car, meaning I can literally just throw the buggy into the back of the car and drive off when I want to head out, with the buggy ready to go as soon as I arrive at my destination.  If we travel in Dan’s car, Dan likes to keep the buggy within his boot, but it takes just seconds to unscrew and pop off the front wheel, meaning that it easily fits widthways in the back of his car.
  • Super rain cover
    • I’ve had to use the rain cover a few times whilst out on a run now and found the cover so quick and easy to throw over the buggy.  There is a large velcro strip which runs along the back of the cover, and two sets of poppers which attach around the front wheel support to keep the cover in place.  Oscar sleeps through the whole thing!
      Out 'n' About Nipper Sport running buggy with raincoverOut 'n' About Nipper Sport running buggy with raincover
  •  Breathable back panel
    • Not only does this mean that the buggy doesn’t become so stuffy in the hot Summer months, but it also helps to make the buggy more aerodynamic when you want to pick up some speed.
      Out 'n' About Nipper Sport running buggy with Oscar
  • The viewing pane
    • Very handy to spot when Oscar is falling asleep, or when he is munching on falling leaves he shouldn’t have in there with him!
      Oscar in the running buggy

You can also buy footmuffs for the buggy, which look super snug, but I love this blanket which my friend crocheted for Oscar not long after he was born.  It’s super colourful and you can definitely see us coming on a run!
Northampton parkrun with the buggy

So what does Oscar think?  I’m pretty sure he loves it.  He spends most parkruns waving madly at people as we run by.  Just recently he’s also added the phrase “Bye bye” to the wave.  I really hope that nobody thinks I’m sarcastically commenting on the fact that we’re passing them, and instead realise that it is my child waving and commenting as we run by!

The National Running Show

The weekend before last was the first National Running Show – something I had been looking forward to for quite a while.  I hadn’t bought anything running related in what felt like ages, so I was ready to see what gizmos and gadgets shouted out at me at the NEC last week, taking along the remainder of my Christmas money.

The National Running Show

The show ran for both days of the weekend and originally I had planned on heading down on the Sunday with my friend Laura.  I knew things would be a little touch and go when it came to staying awake on the Sunday, as I was originally due to work Friday, Saturday and Sunday night of that weekend (all 10pm-7am).  I would have Oscar on my own all day Saturday, making more sense for me to head down childfree the following day.  A few days before the event I was told that I no longer needed to work on the Friday night though, then making much more sense to head down to Birmingham on the Saturday.  I hoped that Dan’s Mum would be able to take Oscar for the few hours I visited, but she was unfortunately busy so Oscar joined me for the show instead and Dan dropped us off that morning on the way through to watch the footy at Wolverhampton.

Most of the people I knew who were headed over to the show were heading down the following day, but I did get to have a lovely catch up with Anna, who had ticked ‘K’ off her parkrun alphabet challenge list that morning and was buzzing about her upcoming marathon in Dubai later in the week.

I also spoke to Faisal, who I hadn’t met or talked to before, but who is also a member of the UK Fitness Bloggers community and had recognised me from my profile picture on there.  He is working towards 12 marathons in 12 months for charity during 2018.  Definitely making me feel like I need to up my marathon game this year!

Another part of my decision to head to the show on the Saturday rather than the Sunday had been due to the speakers on the program that day.  I really wanted to listen to Jo Pavey and also Susie Chan.  And I ended up listening to several others throughout the day as well.  The exhibition was much smaller than I was expecting it to be and I had seen pretty much everything to the extent I wanted to look at it by the time I settled down to catch Jo Pavey just after 10am which was rather disappointing.

I had hoped that the show would be at least a similar size to the expo at London Marathon, but this wasn’t the case.  I also found that several of the exhibitors I wanted to question directed me to email them via their website to find out the information I was after, which wasn’t really ideal, as I thought I was asking fairly basic, common questions that someone representing the product should have been able to answer.

I had taken Oscar along in his running buggy, as I find it much more lightweight than his original buggy.  We tend to use his running buggy for day to day use now and have done since he turned six months old pretty much.  Several people stopped to ask me about it, and the lady on the Thule stand even used my turning technique as a demo to a number of couples on the few occasions I drove it past!  I’m writing a post about Oscar’s running buggy at the moment, – it has definitely been a game changer when it comes to fitting runs in around everything else this year.  So check back hopefully later this week if you are interested in hearing more about that.

I quite fancied getting myself some nice headphones at the show as mine are forever falling out of my ears.  I have been using my mp3 player regularly since Dan bought it for me for my birthday last October but it’s just so frustrating when my earphones go flying out all the time!  The guys on the Aftershokz stand didn’t seem to want to know though and on coming home I’ve found I can order them for much cheaper online, so that’s probably what I’ll do at some point in the next couple of weeks.

My best find of the day were these fabulous Pace Pockets pace bands, which I picked up in 4h 30m and 4h 15m timings as I hope to fall somewhere between the two at Milton Keynes in May.

Pace pockets - pacer band

The fabric folds over at the top to enable you to hold a key safely inside and they’re completely washable, so it will no longer be sweat-soaked paper pacing bands which I’ve printed from the internet and wrapped in sellotape strapped to my wrist!  They were £5 each – a real bargain!

Pace pockets - pacer band

I also picked up a marathon card for a friend who is running her first marathon this year, but I won’t share that on here, as she often drops by my blog.

I had put together a pack up for the day including lots of snacks for Oscar, and loaded a selection of books and toy cars into the bottom of the buggy.  He was in a lovely mood for the whole morning, and when I let him out to explore along the right of the main stage area he bum shuffled over to those sat around us, desperate for a new friend to play cars with or to read him a book that he carried over!  He was very good, and never strayed too many shuffles away – always coming back for another piece of his snack!  I did manage to listen to the whole Jo Pavey talk, which was very inspiring, and when the lady who had been sat next to me on the floor got up at the end to leave she crouched down next to me and said “You may not think it, but he has been really good!”  (Talking about Oscar.)  “My son would never have let me listen to all of that!”  (Her partner had headed off with their baby in his buggy near the very beginning of the talk.  It was a lovely thing for her to say and I felt very proud of Oscar for being so good.

It was a little after this that Anna stopped by for a chat and Oscar was beginning to get restless as he was so tired by now.  I gave him an apple and loaded him into the buggy but he only managed a few bites before freezing mid-mouthful as he fell asleep still gripping tightly onto his apple!  I managed to get round a few stalls with him like this before deciding to park the buggy up again ready for the afternoon speakers.

I managed to catch Steve Edwards who had some great stories to share.  Steve has run over 800 marathons with an average finishing time of 3h 18m and I really enjoyed listening to his tales of mad rushes around the world to fit in extra marathons!  His talk felt a little wooden in places, as he was reading it from cards, but he needn’t have worried, as he had such a passion for the sport that I know he would have captivated the audience had he not been reading his notes.

The National Running Show - Steve Edwards

After quickly nipping out to change Oscar, Susie Chan – ultramarathoner extraordinaire – was next and I wasn’t disappointed.  Her talk was filled with tales of jungles, long distance races and her story of how she just fell into running in the first place.  I found it quite amusing that the nutritionist who had been talking on stage earlier that morning settled down into position near me at the front just as Susie went on to talk about her feasts of pizza on runs!

The National Running Show - Susie Chan

I wandered round some more stands to kill a little time, although a lot of stands had now sold out and were looking slightly bedraggled by this point.  A friend messaged to say that she was coming over to the NEC for an event later that evening, so Oscar and I went and grabbed dinner with her and her boyfriend over at Las Iguanas before Dan arrived to pick us up and head for home where I fitted in a quick nap before work.

Verdict: I’m really glad I went – there were some fantastic speakers with really inspiring stories.  If I hadn’t had Oscar with me I could have sat and listened to the talks all day.  Twice I headed up to ask questions – Jo Pavey and Susie Chan – and both times Oscar became fidgety with waiting and I had to leave again, so no celebrity selfies for me.  :(  I heard on the grapevine that next year The Running Show has signed up Paula Radcliffe, who I’m sure will be a fantastic head for the event.  She’s definitely somebody who I have always admired.  The event will also be moving to larger premises, so hopefully more exhibitors will be able to get on board to help provide more of a day out.

Did you go to The Running Show?
Who would you like to see provide a talk at a running event?

Christmas gifts

Last weekend Dan and I sat down and bought the majority of our Christmas shopping online through Amazon. I had visions of me having lots of time to stroll around the shops to find the perfect Christmas presents for everyone this year. However, the reality is that getting Oscar in and out of the car seat for frequent stops and dragging him around heaving stores in the run-up to Christmas isn’t really ideal, so Amazon it was. To be honest, we didn’t end up spending a huge amount more than we would have if we had been in town, and it came without the time and stress of having to trawl all of the shops. Bonus!

However, my Amazon suggestions list now strongly features Peppa the Pig and Frozen thanks to my nieces and as the postman has now realised I’m currently a stay at home Mum, I have tended to collect a pile of parcels for the other houses on my street each day!  At least I’m getting to know the neighbours!

Dan is rubbish at shopping for others online because he ends up spotting a million things to buy for himself instead.  In fact, last year he bought a jacket for his brother’s birthday and ended up keeping it!

I like to think I’m much better, and I must be dead easy to buy gifts for, as I’m forever saying “Wow, I really like that!” but rarely do I actually buy anything for myself.

This is me going for the less subtle tact today…I’m loving all of these items and they would definitely be appreciated if they were  wrapped up and under the tree on Christmas morning!  😉

Christmas wish list 2016

Nike long sleeved top – Because you can never have too many long sleeved running tops at this time of year, and if they have thumb holes, that’s a bonus!

This Mum Runs – I’ve still not gotten round to reading any further than a few snatched paragraphs in Waterstones of Jo Pavey’s book.  The ‘Supermum’ who won the 10,000m at the European Championships just months after having a baby.  I’m hoping to pick up a few tips when it comes to juggling children and running though!

Koly Womens Sports Running Headband – It’s 79p.  You can’t go wrong with 79p and I really need something to keep my hair out of my face during training.

Parenthood Listography (Journal) – Another snatched glance in Waterstones but as a self-confessed obsessive list writer I love the Listography books.  So much so in fact, that there are quite a few heading out to friends in their Christmas parcels this year.

Hungry Healthy Happy – Fellow blogger and new Mum, Dannii had her first recipe book published earlier this year.  I’ve loved Dannii’s no-nonsense, easy-to-follow recipes on her blog but there is something about a loved cookbook on the kitchen shelf.

Runner undies – When I was younger I used to have two pairs of day-of-the-week knickers.  Thursday and Saturday I believe.  I have no idea why I didn’t have a full set though?!  I love the idea of laying out underwear in order at the start of the week relating to my training.  Never again forget what training is supposed to be that day!

Bluetooth Selfie Remote Keyring – Selfieme – I never took to the idea of the selfie stick, but as I’ve mentioned in the past, I have been rather frustrated at just how hard it is to get decent pictures which include me in for AHM.  This selfie keyring is a bluetooth operator for the camera shutter on your phone.  Awesome!  It also comes with a stand so that you don’t have to balance your phone against a tree with four rocks held up against it…:S

Cozy Toes fluffy socks – We’re still waiting for a plasterer to board our ceilings, and until the ceilings are done it makes no sense to lay down new carpet.  No/bare carpet = cold toes!

Runner’s wine glass – Also available in beer mugs, champagne flutes and lots of other designs!

Thule Glide Sports Stroller Pushchair – Undoubtedly a little too much money to receive as a Christmas gift, but I can dream…!

Don’t Stop Me Now: 26.2 Tales of a Runner’s Obsession – Vassos Alexander has run several ultramarathons, including the SDW100 which I marshaled at earlier in the year.

Tasty Book – I’ve followed the Tasty Facebook page for a while, but it was only the other day I saw that they had now also released a cookbook.  Another super easy to follow, throw all the ingredients in a big pan set of recipes.  When ordering the book, you order your seven favourite categories of recipes, so if you’re not a big dessert fan, no need to include them in your copy of the book!  (Although lets be honest, who isn’t a fan of dessert?!)

Moving Comfort Womens Ladies Juno Sports Bra – I am in desperate need of some new sports bras at the moment.  As I am breastfeeding my boobs are so much bigger and need so much more support!  I haven’t tried these bras before but they were recommended to me on Twitter and I like the idea that the straps can be adjusted accordingly from the front.

*Some affiliate links included.

What’s on your Christmas wish list this year?

Test driving with Running Buggies

I was initially unsure as to whether or not I wanted to run with Oscar when he is a little bigger.  (The advice is to not run with a baby before they are able to hold their head up on their own – at approximately 6 months old.)  However, although I would like to keep running primarily as ‘Me-time’ and the thing that I do on my own/with my friends, I am definitely coming round to seeing the benefits of purchasing a running buggy so that I may bring Oscar out on my runs…

  1. I will be able to train during the day, whilst it is still light so no need to pull out my headtorch each time.  (Oscar will turn 6 months old just before the clocks change next Spring so it will still be fairly dark in the evenings when I’m able to start running with him.)
  2. I won’t be restricted to running only when Dan is around to look after Oscar.  (Work meetings and football training on weeknight evenings and football matches on a Saturday afternoon mean that I’m pretty limited to when Dan can have him at the moment, and if I get an opportunity to run I’ve just got to go with it!)
  3. I’ll be able to train whilst spending time with Oscar. (Even if he does end up sleeping through the run!)
  4. Oscar and I will both benefit from being out in the fresh air each day.
  5. I will hopefully be setting a good example to Oscar in that exercise is good for you but can also be fun.
  6. Running without the buggy will be so much easier than running with it and, therefore, hopefully Hello PBs come race season!

The week before last a friend messaged to ask if I was aware that Wendy, of Running Buggies would be visiting Stanwick Lakes with a selection of running buggies and a wealth of knowledge regarding the different models available.

I hadn’t been aware and, at a time when I had only driven with Oscar in the car once before, I quickly added the event to my calendar and messaged Wendy to find out further details.

She immediately messaged me back asking what my requirements for a running buggy would be.  I told her that I would like to be able to run long distances and off-road with ease and that it didn’t need to be a buggy that I could have for every day use.  Wendy informed me that the key to off road running buggies is suspension and big wheels, and suggested two models for me to test drive based on my requirements; the Out n About Nipper Sport V4 and the Thule Glide.

Thule Glide and the Out n About Nipper Sport V4I got out of my car on that Friday morning to what felt like the first proper cold snap of the season.  The wind was brutal – really ice cold.  I’d layered Oscar up as best I could.  He was wearing a vest, sleepsuit, trousers, super thick cardigan, hat and was wrapped up in a blanket.  Despite being 9 weeks old now (7 weeks at the time), the majority of his 0-3 clothes still hang off him and he’s still wearing newborn size with ease.  Everybody said it would only be a matter of days or weeks before he would grow out of newborn outfits, although we didn’t find that happened for us.  I know some of my friends’ babies weren’t able to fit into newborn sized clothes at all!  (Luckily the smaller of his 0-3 snowsuits now fits without losing his legs so I have been able to put him into this for walks in his pram over the past couple of days.)

As it happened Wendy was more prepared than I had been for the sharp cold snap and pulled out a spare fleece blanket enabling me to double-wrap Oscar, and holding him so that I may try out the buggies she had suggested.

There were a couple of other parents there, all with children much older than mine who they were able to test out in the buggies.  As Oscar wasn’t big enough to go in one yet, I just had to pretend that I was pushing a child around the path at the lakes as I jogged backwards and forwards testing them out!

Before trying the running buggies out I had no idea how they differed from regular buggies and would have not had a clue where to start looking for one if I had been left alone in the shops.  I wasn’t aware that running buggies should have a fixed wheel (so that if you hit a bump which lifts the wheel up off the ground whilst running, your wheel doesn’t spin off into every direction upon coming back down to land) and that you actually steer by pushing down on the back of the buggy to lift the front wheel up.  It sounds like it should be really hard to steer but in actual fact, when I tested both buggies with 90° turns, it was much easier than I expected it to be.  The buggies all have handbrakes within grabbing distance of your hands for downhill running as well.

The Out n About Nipper V4 comes with a smaller price tag but Wendy pointed out that the sun could often become a problem at certain times of the day and she had often hung muslins over the front of the canopy to try and resolve the issue.  The Thule Glide comes with a higher price tag but consistently seems to help runners break records and definitely felt much smoother to drive.

Wendy was incredibly knowledgeable about all of the running buggies she had brought with her for people to try and was able to answer all of the questions that I had.  When asked which ones she had chosen to use with her children she informed me that depending on what she was doing, she had used them all, which definitely makes her qualified enough in my eyes to advise on the pros and cons of each buggy!  She also recently shared her knowledge with Women’s Running magazine on things to look for when buying a running buggy.

I shall be looking to purchase a buggy at some point in the New Year but for the next few months at least, whilst he’s still so small, if Oscar has to come with me to parkrun it will be in his regular pram and we will be walking around, having a good old gossip with others at the back!

Dan, Me and Oscar at his first parkrun at 4 weeks old

Here he is at his first parkrun with Dan and I when he was four weeks old.

What are you wearing to run in now that it’s so cold out?  My tights and long-sleeved tops have definitely made it to the front of my drawers!