Spring is upon us! I can almost feel it!
I’ve been running throughout the winter, but there is something wonderfully amazing and refreshing about those early spring runs. The air doesn’t hurt as much. The wind isn’t whipping as much. You can feel the time you put in during the winter pay off with quicker times, and easier long runs.
Since I started running 4 years ago, my older 2 kids have been intrigued by my running. My oldest, now 12, has asked to run with me from the very beginning. She ran with me a few times, but last summer she started pre-training to run on the middle school cross country team, and I ran all the training runs with her until they started practicing in August. It was so amazing. We chatted, and worked hard in the heat. It was a great way for us to have a little time – just us. She moved straight to basketball after the season was over, but when she got a free day, she was running.
I’m happy to help her with this new passion and with any goals she may set. She recently decided that after track season, she would like to run a 5k. This is how we’re planning to help her reach that goal and how you can help your young runner as well:
Step 1: Go Run
Obvious, right? But really, go for a quick run, half a mile to a mile, and gauge their fitness level. Running distance is different than running short sprints in most winter and spring sports. If they participated in basketball or soccer, they are probably in pretty good shape. Help them keep their pace slow, the biggest struggle will be converting the effort they used to sprint down the court or field into a lesser effort required to maintain for a few miles.
Step 2: Pick a Race
Finding a multitude of races in the 5k distance is easy during the late spring and early summer months. They are just about every weekend around here. Maybe it’s for a cause that you are both passionate about. Maybe it’s in your neighborhood. Just be sure you leave 8-10 weeks to properly train for your event.
Step 3: Figure Out a Plan
Print a calendar, sit down together and make a training plan. Maybe you decide to start from scratch and download a Couch to 5k app on your phone. It’s important to remember not to make it too strenuous, running only 3 or 4 days a week to ensure proper recovery, but also so the kids (and YOU!) don’t get burnt out.
Step 4: Train
Keep your full training calendar on the fridge for all to see. Be sure to hi-five after you mark off every completed run. Run together, work for the 5k together, it will help keep you and the kids stay on track. There will be days when you have to beg them to go for a run with you. And there will be days they have to beg you. Talk about the training runs, find out what the kids thought. Was it hard? What was hard about it? How can you make it better next time? The most important aspect of 5k training with kids is keeping it slow. Kids have a tendency to go hard and fast, and then they are out of energy too soon. By keeping it slow and easy, you build strength and endurance. Speed will come.
Step 5: Run Your Race
Pick out your race day outfits together, maybe wear matching shirts. Remind the kids to have fun! Get out and tackle that 5k together!
We want to hear what 5k you’re planning to run with your kids! Be sure to check in and send us pictures of race day!
Looking for a great race to run with your kids for a great cause? There are more than 16,ooo children suffering from diaper need in our city and we’re thrilled to partner with our friends Doulas of Cincinnati to do something about it. Check out the No Child Wet Behind 5K, Saturday May 20, 9am at Winton Woods to benefit our local Sweet Cheeks Diaper Bank. This is a perfect event for the whole family! Run the 5K, do the 1M Family Fun Run or volunteer together – it all makes a difference!