Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Running with Kids

The problem: a 4.5 year old who has way too much energy. Solution? Take him running!

Two things I've learned when running with a child:
1. They will not run consistently. No consistent speed, no consistent direction, no consistent motivation. Given this, it’s best to run iteratively. My personal favorite is doing laps around the house, although any short, repeatable distance will do.
2. Do not expect to get any sort of real run in yourself. Yes, you’ll get exercise, but you will not be running at any sort of steady pace (see item one above!)
Next up: His first race: he’ll be doing a 200 meter “mini-marathon” as part of my next 5K: the Sharon Timlin Memorial Day race. This is great because not only makes him feel included in what he calls “Daddy’s Exercise” but it also gives us something to work on as we look forward to the race. Just last Saturday, we went to a local park for practice, and we ran about 6 iterations of 150 meters. It was a fantastic way to not only get him to burn off his energy, but do so in a focused manner. For instance, he continually looks behind him to see where I am (because, god forbid, I actually beat him in one of these foot races) and this meant that we occasionally got tangled up together, so we worked on running in a straight line. It was a great time and I’m looking forward to the day when he can run his first 5K with me!

Keep your eyes peeled for the next installment in this series: Running with the jogging stroller...

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