Here’s How to Lace Up for Family Fun

Finding time to get enough exercise is difficult for everyone, especially if you have children. If you are looking for a new way to have a great time with your kids and get in shape, you should consider starting a running plan for your entire family. With just a few easy steps, you will all be getting exercise and enjoying wonderful family time.

Safety First

Before you start running together, you need to make sure everyone has the proper gear. If you plan on running regularly, each of you need to have a good pair of shoes. You don’t need to go broke buying new, expensive shoes for everyone, just make sure that each pair fits and has good support. Most tennis shoes will be fine for the children, until they decide whether they want to run seriously.

Make sure each person has reflective clothing to wear as you run together. If you have small children who may become too excited and run away from the group, you may want to consider using a halter type device to keep them from running into the street. If you have very small children, you don’t need to leave them out of the fun. Many companies sell running strollers that are lightweight and easy to push as you run.

How to Start

If you want to run to have fun and not to prepare for a marathon, then playing games with your children is the best way to start. Play tag or have races in the backyard. Make up silly games and run all over the yard. This is the best way to get young children interested in running.

When young children want to “train” with you, it is best to start slow. For children who are around 7 years old, you can start to run with them. Try a quarter of a mile. If you are both having fun and not too tired, add a minute or two to your run. Once you have worked up to jogging three and a half miles, you can think about running a 5K together. Remember that when you start training, you and your child should jog for 10-15 seconds then walk for 40 seconds. Adjust the jogging/walking times as your endurance builds up.

If your child is older, you can begin with a longer distance, but still make sure that you are jogging more than walking to start. Again, as your endurance builds, add more jogging time in between walking bouts. A 10K is entirely possible with children as young as 10 years old, especially the popular color runs. Children love having different colors tossed at them as they run. Working toward running a color marathon is a great way to motivate your children to get off the couch and put on a pair of running shoes.

Running is a wonderful way for families to spend quality time together and lose their couch potato habits. TV and other electronics entice kids to sit instead of exercise, but being able to run with you is exciting enough to get them moving.

Start Slow and Don’t Give Up – Running for your Health

Running is a great way to get that body you dream of and to reduce stress at the same time. Unfortunately, many people seem to believe that they can just put a pair of running shoes on and take off. When they discover it isn’t that easy, they may give up quickly.

To build yourself into a distance runner, follow these easy tips.

  • Make sure you have theright shoes. Not every pair of tennis shoes is good for running. They may be called athletic shoes, but shoes designed for running are usually lighter weight and have more support than other shoes. Your feet, legs and back will thank you for purchasing the right shoes for your run.
  • Don’t worry about your pace. When you start running, you need to remember that endurance needs to be built. Start with a jogging/walking routine that allows you to jog a few minutes then catch your breath as you walk. It may seem counter-productive to walk in your routine, but it is better to slow down and give yourself time to build up your speed.
  • Make running a habit. Even if you only have a few minutes, get out every day and run. You may think short runs are a waste of time, but this is all about building the habit of wanting to run every day.
  • Keep a log.  Write down everything about your runs such as the weather, how far you went, how long it took and any problems you had. This may seem like a waste of time, but when you are having a day that makes you want to quit, you can read your log and see just how far you have come in your training. A log will help keep you motivated!
  • Gradually add distance. You simply cannot expect to put on your shoes for the first time and run ten miles. If you believe this, your first run may also be your last because you won’t get the run you expect. Start slow and with short distances.
  • Set achievable goals. Maybe the first two weeks, your goal is simply to run a little each day. Get yourself used to the routine and walk as much as you run. The next few weeks, you could plan to run a short distance every day. Remember the point is to set small achievable goals. Every achievement will encourage you to keep going. Don’t compare yourself to anyone. Every runner has their own strengths – use your own strengths to development the perfect routine for you.
  • Check outcross training programs. Running will definitely change the look of your body, but there are several benefits to using a strength-training program, too.

Your first running program should be a slow and easy one. You may not even feel like you are really exercising the first few weeks, but starting slow and easy will prevent injuries and keep you focused on building strength and endurance. Let your body learn the routine and work slowly and steadily toward your goals.

How to Prepare for your First Marathon

For some people, running is not only about great exercise and getting into shape, but about building the endurance needed to run a marathon. Once you have your endurance and have signed up for that first race, there are still a few things you need to do to help you cross the finish line.

Prepare your Family

In the weeks before your first marathon, you are likely to start thinking about a lot of “what ifs” that may happen. Let your family know that you are about to run your first marathon and are focusing on that. This will keep them from feeling left out if you seem quiet and reflective.

Make your Expectations Realistic

While it would be great to think that your first marathon will result in a win that may not be realistic. If you believe you will win and don’t, you may lose confidence and feel like giving up running altogether. Remember that even if you are the strongest runner, there are many variables that will affect how you finish.

The weather could be terrible, you may get cramps, and the route could be one that truly tests you. Don’t put all of your expectations on winning. Instead, plan on finishing the race – upright and not ill. Your first race should just be about finishing and not about beating a clock.

Reduce your Training

As your race day approaches, reduce your distance training. This may not make sense, but you want to run your race on fresh legs. After not going your full distances, you will be ready to take off that morning.

Don’t Try Anything New that Morning

The best advice to remember is to keep it simple. You know what your body needs – the same things you’ve done for the last several months as you trained. Your anxiety about the race may cause you to start over-thinking everything. Don’t buy new shoes, don’t eat something new that’s supposed to give you more strength, don’t sleep more than usual. All you need to do is keep doing exactly what you have been doing. Keep everything simple.

Make a List

Your nerves will be humming and even though you may believe you won’t forget anything, a list will make sure you don’t. Lay out your clothes the night before and check your list. You don’t want to get to the starting line and realize you forgot your running shoes. Believe us this has happened more times than you can imagine. Check your list!

Check out the Course

Even though you don’t need to remember the course, it will ease your nerves to have an idea of where you will be running. You will know where the aid stations are and where each turn is. You will be following hundreds of other runners, so you don’t need to know the exact course before, but just knowing a little about the course can ease your nerves on the big morning.

Get there Early

You may think that relaxing at home until the last possible minute would be the best way to start your day, but the reality is much different. What if you hit traffic on the way or there’s no parking and you have to search for a spot?  You will be stressed out before the race even starts. Do yourself a favor and get there early.

Follow these easy tips and enjoy your first marathon!