When I talk about running with adults who don’t enjoy it, the reactions tend to be strong. The most common I hear is “I only run if something is chasing me.” I think, maybe, these adults forget how much fun it can be to be chased! All it takes is a few minutes watching children play – true, unstructured play – with all the rules taken away to see the joy they find in running. All the screaming, laughing, quick sprints and long hauls of childhood.
What happens to us? What takes away the joy and terror of having the person that is “it” coming for us? I’m not sure, but I know if you want to be inspired (or re-inspired!), you should try out running with kids. Not a runner? That’s okay, too! Find a couch to 5k plan, and try it out with your kid. Build up your stamina slowly, enjoy the unplugged time with your child, and I can almost guarantee you’ll hear some more interesting stories than what you normally hear about your child’s day.
I think the hardest thing for self-proclaimed runners about running with kids is that we have to drop our egos. We are all proud of our PRs – be they distance or speed – but I have to tell you the honest truth. Kids don’t care about your PR. What they do care about, is not being told they are doing something wrong. Being allowed to just move and breathe and be outside, being silly, and enjoying your company – these things will make the run worth it! The second you try to make a run with your child about you – you lose them.
I’m not saying running fast or running long comes naturally to kids. I’ve been coaching different running programs for kids for six years now, and many of those kids are working their hardest, and not always loving the process. Just like with adults, however, when all is said and done, they have a huge sense of accomplishment when they’ve completed something they have set out to do. This is particularly important for preteens who are figuring out how to navigate life and prioritize their choices. What an amazing thing for them to see, out of the context of school and structure, that putting work and effort into something can take them farther (literally!!) than they thought they could go.
This Saturday, April 16th, I hope you will come out and join me for a free family trot. We will do some silly warm ups with the kids, talk about some dos and don’ts for the adults (don’t make it a chore!!!), and then have a chance to do a little running together. The planned course will just be two miles – one out and one back, but you can always turn around sooner, or head out longer if you so feel so inclined!!
I hope your enjoying this warmer and warmer weather, and I hope to see you Saturday!