My best run ever
July 3, 2013

I have been a runner for several years now, first sporadically in college then more consistently as a young adult. But it wasn’t until after my oldest son, Lucas, was born that I developed a true love of running. Running was a great way for me to get back into shape after having a baby, relieve stress, and spend more time outdoors.

Both of my children—Lucas (8 years old) and Miles (18 months old)—spent time in the running stroller when they were very little, and they have both held up signs and cheered me on at my races. It’s always been important to me that they see their parents being active, healthy, and strong. I have always hoped they would love running, too, so I was thrilled this past spring when Lucas said that he wanted to start running with me. 

We talked about running a 5K (3.1 miles) together and spending the summer getting ready for it, but convincing Lucas that running a “race” doesn’t mean that you have to try to win was a challenge. In the past before my races, Lucas had always asked me if I was going to try to win, and he never really seemed to understand why I didn’t, or couldn’t. Talk about pressure! When we started training, I encouraged him to see the race as something that was fun and assured him that it’s okay if we don’t win. With that in mind, Lucas and I started looking for the right 5K for us to run together: We haven’t decided on one yet but we have found a couple of races in our area that aren’t competitive, are kid friendly, and look like they would be lots of fun.  

When we set out to go on our first run, I was sure that we would just loop around a few blocks in our neighborhood and then end up coming home. I knew that Lucas might just get too tired or might realize that running really wasn’t as much fun as he thought it would be. It turns out that I couldn’t have been more wrong. 

It was the best run I have ever been on. 

We had so much fun running through Bethlehem, laughing, talking, and goofing around. We alternated walking and running for almost an hour, adjusting our pace based on how Lucas felt.  I wasn’t concerned about how many miles we actually ran or how fast we ran, I just wanted to be sure that Lucas enjoyed himself and didn’t feel pressured.   I was so proud of Lucas and so impressed with how well he did but more importantly, it was one of the greatest experiences I’ve had with him. We bonded so much and reconnected that night. I know that he enjoyed it as well, because his first question to me when we got home was, “So when can we run again?” 

If you are thinking about starting a running program with your kids, be sure that they have properly fitted running shoes and appropriate clothing for the weather.  Check in with your child regularly to make sure that feel okay and aren’t overdoing it.  If they feel any pain, stop.  Set realistic goals and start out with shorter distances.  Below are some resources you can check out for more information on running with your kids.  

http://www.health.com/health/article/0,,20411921_last,00.html

http://www.runnersworld.com/tag/kids-running

http://womensrunning.competitor.com/2013/04/training-tips/run-baby-run-getting-your-kids-active_12282

 
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