Running with Kids – Ages and Stages

Kids at the Tiki Run 2012

When you look at the start list (or results) of road races these days, you'll notice that most races have more female participants than male. A 60/40 split seems pretty common. Many of these women are also moms, who have managed to figure out a way to balance time to go running with time spent at their job (staying at home or out of the home), childcare, home responsibilities, and husband. There are many organizations who are run by and for women with children, from Stoller Strides to Another Mother Runner, and probably many others that I'm not aware of.

My running life started in my mid-20s, well before I had children. I slowed down and mainly walked while I was pregnant and had a toddler. I tried a running stroller, but I could never quite get used to it, so I finally had and made time for regular runs again when my second child was 4 and in preschool twice a week. On those days the 2.5hrs without children allowed me to meet with a running buddy (who had her 4yo in a stroller) and pound the pavement for an hour, then still had enough time to cool off and shower before going back to being a mom.

“Rock the Beach” 5k Cannon Beach 2011

Kids got older and spent increasing amounts of time in school, which opened up my schedule for more runs. I ran races of varying distances (mostly 5k and 10k), was able to maintain good shape, and even signed up the kiddos some of the half mile or 1 mile kids races.  Some races offer child care during the adult race, but sometimes I’d also have the kids run the 5k with me (which never ended up my best time, of course).

The summers, unfortunately, became my lazy time. I could either run early before my husband left for work, late after he got home, during the day with kids on bikes (which never happened), or not at all. Most of the time “not at all” won out.

Middle school track meet 2015

Over the past year, we have entered a brave new world of running independence! Today my boys are 10 and 12 years old, they are responsible little people who do perfectly fine home alone while I go for a run around the block. The younger one has boundless energy, but doesn’t “see himself as a runner” (his words, not mine), so is slower than molasses when I try to get him out there. The older one has spent a season running middle school track (800m), finished the Rum Run 5k (which measured long at 3.4miles) with a solid 9:17 pace, and is now preparing for fall cross country running. Recently we ran on the track together to get his timed 1-mile run for the Boy Scouts Personal Fitness Merit Badge.

So while I’m not fast or winning any races, I am certainly succeeding. I am successfully setting the example that physical fitness is a good thing, it’s fun, and it’s for the rest of your life. We all go through stages where it’s easy and plentiful, and stages where it’s difficult and challenging. But if my boys are learning that all they need to do is keep putting one foot in front of the other, then I’m happy.

Timed mile on the track – 2015

 

 

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