A FAMILY THAT RUNS TOGETHER

I’ve seen a lot of discussion on social media recently about running with spouses and questions about what age is appropriate for kids to enter races. As an official Jeff Galloway Blogger, it is my pleasure to bring you his latest article.  It’s time to make more healthy, family fun!

Family runs together

Kids think and learn better when they exercise regularly, according to research. Whether you run with your child, a niece/nephew/grandchild, or a neighborhood kid, you can make a positive impact on a young life.

True Confession: I was a fat and lazy kid, and a poor student, at the age of 13. Joining a group of cross country runners changed my attitude for the better, and challenged me to be a better student. The bonding of most running groups creates positive growth experiences.

Why is running with kids such a great thing to do? Most kids like to do things with an adult. By running comfortably with a child you can positively imprint exercise as a natural and expected part of the daily routine, that is fun.

What does running do for kids–better than other sports? Kids who run tend to have better self-esteem, better grades, and are happier. Unlike other sports, that require specific skills, any kid can run and walk. When running, you have one of the best opportunity for quality time. The most powerful reward for most kids is the special attention an adult gives to a child during and after a run.

How do I know when a child is ready to run? Running is a natural activity. Unfortunately, many kids have had bad experiences because they have run until they were exhausted. Tell the child that you really want to go on a walk/run with him or her. Offer a simple reward (a special snack such as juice, a toy). Insert walk breaks every minute, before the child huffs and puffs, and stop before the child is tired.

My kid runs around when she plays all the time—does that mean she’s actually fit enough to go for a real run? Yes! Short segments of running are natural for kids. Playing chase games is a great way to introduce running, such as racing Dad to the mailbox. Walk gently between running segments and talk about how good the exertion feels.

For kids ages 6 and under:

How long should I let a kid this age run? Usually between 10 and 20 seconds at first.

How much of our ‘run’ should be spent walking? Walk for a minute or two between run segments.

What should I be careful of? Most kids can run farther and faster than they should at this age. Make sure the segments are short so that there is no huffing and puffing. Make each session playful and stop before the child is really tired.

Ages 7 to 9:

How long should I let a kid run? Start with about a quarter of a mile (one lap around a track). Increase by 1-2 tenths of a mile each run until you reach one mile. For kids that really enjoy running, you could gradually increase the distance to 3.5 miles (one day a week) and enter a 5K. Be sure to keep the pace slow during the first mile of the first race, with walk breaks every 1-2 minutes.

What is a good run/walk ratio for a kid this age? Jog for 10-20 seconds/walk for 40-50 seconds. After two weeks, if this seems “too easy”, increase the amount of running each week by 5 seconds and decrease the walking by 5 seconds until you are using 30 seconds/30 seconds. For the kids that want more, gradually increase to one min/one min, then 2 min run while inserting 1 min walk. As kids want to run more, you can increase the running but walk when the child starts to huff and puff.

What should I be careful of (are they prone to going to hard and crashing and burning?) If you sense that the kid is struggling, walk more. This usually improves attitude and conserves energy for a strong finish. It’s OK to run a little faster at the end but don’t run all-out. It is OK to let the child “win” each run.

Ages 10 to 12:

How long? Beginner kids that are out of shape should follow the suggestion for ages 7-9 at first. For moderately active 10-12 year olds (soccer players, etc.) start with about half a mile. Increase by about a quarter of a mile on each run until you reach 1.5 to 2 miles—or whatever distance seems to feel comfortable but satisfying.

What’s a good run/walk ratio for this age group? Kids that are just starting, should follow the suggestion for ages 7-9. Kids that have been running (soccer, etc.) can jog for 10-20 seconds each minute during a 10-minute warmup and find the ratio that avoids huffing and puffing: 1-1, 2 min run/1min walk, then 3-1, and only 4-1 if a kid has no problem with this.

What should I be aware of (are they actually likely to kick my butt?) Many 10 to 12 year olds can run very fast at the beginning, and burn out later. Keep the pace slow for the first third of the run.

Is this age child old enough to run a 10-K? Most kids who gradually build mileage to 6.5 miles, once a week, will have no problem with a 10K if you help them start slowly, with walk breaks every2- 3 minutes or so.

How is it possible to get a real workout in when running with a kid? Don’t worry about your workout, try to make the child’s experience a good one. Many adult mentors run their workouts before or after running with the child athlete.

What’s the best way to bring a child along on my runs—even if she can’t keep up on her own two feet? Slow down and walk more. Playing games allows for the distance to go by quickly. If the child is laughing and running you have been a successful coach.

Hurry up and SAVE! Jeff Galloway 13.1 race registration price increases on September 2nd! Join the 3rd Annual Jeff Galloway 13.1 Race Weekend! December 9-11, 2016

Register now – http://www.jeffgalloway131.com  Beat the increase

Shedding my Running Insecurities

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This is a tough one for me to admit and an even tougher one for me to write. I’m going to admit it to the world. I have runner insecurities….phew… there, I said it!

I hated going to the gym when other people were there. Were they watching me? Judging how fast (o.k. really slow). I was running? There was always someone there faster, slimmer, definitely younger. I would always time my workouts for when I knew the gym would be empty. (Well O.K. another reason is that they always had either sports or news on the TV). This phobia often meant that I was going to the gym at 7 or 8 at night – not very conducive for getting ANYTHING done in the evening.

OutsideI hated running on the roads. My imagination would tell me that everyone was watching how fast (O.K. slow) I was running. When I needed to take a walk break, I would wait until there were absolutely no cars on the road to watch me transition to a walk. It didn’t matter that they were passing me at 50 mph and probably didn’t even see me. I guess this was actually a good thing, because it meant that I was running further.

The only time I really felt “comfortable” was amongst other runners during a race – I know, weird right? I had joined a running group and wasn’t comfortable, yet in the midst of 1000’s of runners I was more comfortable with my cloak of invisibility. No one really paid attention to me and I could run MY race, MY pace.

Earlier this week, as I was wavering on what time to go to the gym (it was ridiculously hot outside) and a feeling hit me. “So what?” I need to embrace my grandma gait and just go. So what if there were people running a 7 or 8-minute mile on the treadmill? I went to the gym jumped on the treadmill and did my thing. Suddenly a sense of new found freedom hit me. Wow! It doesn’t really matter that all of these people are here.

 

A couple of nights ago, however, was the true test. I went to the gym right after work, instead of waiting for the “all clear”. There was only one guy there and he was using the elliptical next to one of the two treadmills. Of course the treadmill, that I just used the night before wasn’t working so my only option was to use the treadmill next to elliptical guy (or pretend that I only came to use the weights). (First time in YEARS, a treadmill wasn’t working…talk about a “sign”)

What I discovered – it wasn’t bad. He was in his zone. I was in mine. We chatted  for a few minutes about a news segment (which I was proudly able to do – while still running – and didn’t get breathless). Right at that moment, I felt almost all of those insecurities fading away. I know it’s a work in progress and I still might have those days, but now I know I can overcome them. Imagine the huge strides this will make with my training! I’m pretty excited!   think-positive-100224537.jpg

Running Means No Left Turn

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When I don’t run in the morning, I have two choices when I leave work. The first choice is to make a left at the light on the corner of the Parkway. You see, I live about a mile from my office. That mile is a convenience for which I have felt truly blessed with for the past 11 years. It’s so easy, at the end of a long day, to make that left and head home after being mentally exhausted from the job. (I’m an HR manager so mental exhaustion is a natural occurrence when I sometimes have to disconnect what I WANT to say to someone with what I’m supposed to say to someone…legally) …anyway I digress… My other option is to go straight and head for the employee gym about a half mile further down the road. (It’s too hot during the day)

So picture this. I’m in the middle lane …the lane to my left, makes the left turn home. My current lane and the one to the right go straight…hands are on the steering wheel…kind of twitching to make that left turn. However, what I realized is that I really wanted to run. I really, really did! I don’t think I’ve ever had a prouder training moment (mentally) …I WANTED to run. What is this feeling? Whatever it is…I must say…I LIKE IT!

Uphill in the Heat – Marathon Training

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Training for a 10K or even a half is not easy. Training for a marathon is work! I’m trying to get the right mix of hills and flat in an attempt to be ready for the marathon target just a little over four months. FOUR MONTHS! Did anyone else’s stomach just flip over into enough gymnastics to compete in the summer Olympics?

Anyway, today’s decision was a training toss-up between the cool, entertainment-stocked (i.e. two T.V’s), empty employee gym or the deceptively cool, beautifully blue sky of an outside run. I say “deceptively” because as I was making the decision, there was a cool gentle breeze wafting through the air, just begging me to ditch the gym and stay outside. Yes, I fell for it.  After all, it was 9:00 on a summer morning and the temperature gauge on the car said a mild 75 degrees.

LIAR! About five minutes into the run, the heat turned up full blast. A loop around the parking lot of the Potomac National baseball field, an up and back around the water office, down and back up a side street and then a final down and back onto another street.  All told, my Fitbit registered that I had climbed 14 flights of stairs. I truly think this time it was uphill in both directions. I know this would probably be easier with a running partner, but either way I am GOING to get this done. I will cross that finish line.