Serious runners spend many hours away from their families with their daily running, cross training, club meetings, physical therapy and massages. Many runners enjoy their ‘alone’ time, which allows them to put life’s daily stresses into perspective but there is no reason why the rest of the family cannot be involved.
When children are tiny, it is obviously not feasible for them to start running but, with a friend or partner’s help, they can come to races and cheer you on. Dress them in running clothes and a reflective running vest and give them flags to wave, so they can encourage all the runners and feel the positive energy of the race. Buy a jogging/running stroller and take the children with you when you run. Obviously you won’t take the children on every run, but these strollers are lightweight and easy to steer and it gives the little ones an idea of what being on the road is all about and hopefully, your love of running will rub off on them. Attach a reflective belt to the front of the stroller, so that it is clearly visible in all weathers.
FAMILY FRIENDLY RUNNING CLUB
Join a family friendly running club which has activities for children of all ages. Kids will enjoy participating in fun runs with their peers or with the whole family. As the children get older, so they can go with you on a 5K run. What does it matter if you come last, you are showing your kids that exercise is fun and can be done with the whole family.
RACES WITH OLDER CHILDREN
As the children get older, they can compete in more races. Make sure that you run in one of the last groups and let your children set the pace. Let them know that they can rest as often as they like and watch to see that they keep themselves properly hydrated. It is really important that a child knows that it is the running itself that is key, not where they come in the field. Let your children know that you are enormously proud of them, even if they don’t finish the race.
Today it is very common to find both parents in full time jobs therefore ‘family time’ is restricted to evenings and weekends. Including the children in your running programme not only brings the family closer together, but it encourages your children to follow a healthy lifestyle.