Running is your passion and probably a daily part of your life, so why not make running a family affair?
Why run as a family
One of the benefits of running with the family is that it increases family time.
Your run routine might take you away from your family for hours at a time. But when you run with your family, you get the best of both worlds. The kids get to spend more time with their parents and vice versa.
Running gets children moving - outdoors.
These days kids do not spend nearly as much time outside as before. Instead of playing in the streets until sundown, they may be in front of a tv or a smartphone. With so many technological distractions, going outside takes effort. Inviting your family to run with you will be a great way to spend time together while enjoying the fresh air, fitness, and the sun.
When to run as a family
Running as a family requires coordination. You may have your running time preference, while your spouse may have different availability. Furthermore, the kids might only be available following after-school activities. This may leave only the weekend to run.
After figuring out the best time to run as a family, start preparing.
How to run as a family
Each family member will likely have a different running level. In the beginning, find a pace that works best for all family members. You may want to start running at the lowest ability level and increase the pace as family members improve.
If you are an experienced runner and your children run at a much slower pace, use the family run as a warm-up run, a great way to mentally prepare and loosen your body before a long run.
How to get the family involved
Make running together fun to keep the children motivated to run as a family. One way is to add a bit of competition to the family-run. And by making runs competitive, your child may want to run longer distances each time.
Also, runs require planning. So another way to involve the family is to let them plan run routes and provide input on pre and post-run meals.
The more the family is involved in all aspects of the run, the more they will want to share the joys of running with you.
Take it slow
Running is beneficial and a great exercise for all ages. However, small children (younger than 5) should not run long distances. Short dashes here and there with walks in between are okay. In general, between the ages of 5-11, runs up to a mile are fine (with walking in between). Children 12 - 14 can work their way up to three miles/5k, and fit teenagers (15 and older) can run over 5 miles (10k). In all cases, start small, and work up to the goal.
Running as a family is a great way to keep the family fit, but most importantly, a great opportunity to spend time together.