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Making running a family affair

When you have a young kiddo, making time to run can be challenging and sometimes feel impossible. But, if you try to incorporate them into your running time, suddenly it can become family time and a whole lot easier to fit into your day. It’s also an incredibly special experience to share something you love with the people you love most. Below are six ways I’ve found to help family and running overlap in fun and low-stress ways. 

Do pre-run mobility warm ups together

We can all benefit from doing mobility and activation work before we run and, if your kiddo is around, this is a fun and easy way for them to be a part of your run. If you need any guidance on pre-run warm-ups, check out this post from Laura Norris.

Run a “victory lap” together

On days when my five year old is still asleep when I leave the house, she might join me for a “victory lap” down the block to conclude my run. Sometimes these have even turned into longer run/walks with very sweet conversations between the two of us. I like running together best at the end of a run, because my workout is already taken care of, so I don’t feel any pressure to rush my time with her.

Debrief your run

When I get home, my husband often asks how my run went. I think this is a great opportunity to model dealing with challenges or celebrating successes for my daughter. If a run was hard, I’ll talk about why and how I managed it. If it went well, I’ll say what helped to make it great. Seeing me deal with both good and bad days sets an example that hopefully my kiddo will follow when she has those same kind of days.

A mother and child hold hands while running a race
Baby's first race!

Sign them up for a kids race

Family race days! You get a 5k (or 10k or whatever) and your kiddo gets a chance to show off their running chops in the kids k.

Be fans together

With running events from around the world taking place at all hours of the day and night, I usually end up streaming replays on weekend afternoons. Since TV is a kid magnet, my daughter usually gets roped into watching as well, and she loves asking questions about the different track and field events, and celebrating whoever I’m rooting for. Going out to a local race and cheering on the runners is also a great way to spend a beautiful spring morning!

Do your strength work together

Like many runners, strength work is the thing I struggle most to be consistent with. Luckily, there are lots of body weight and free weight exercises I can do in my living room with my kiddo. She’s entertained while I lower my injury risk - a win-win if there ever was one!

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