Quick tips on running with family

It can be tough to explain to your spouse/kids/relatives that as much as you’d love to enjoy the afternoon with them, your iPhone is insisting that you head out for a thirty-minute run instead.

The best way to turn that problem inside out is to get your family involved in your training program.  You are all on the same team, so there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to help one another along when it comes to getting healthy.

Here are a few ideas to help you do just that, with family members young and old.

Small kids

Parents of smaller kids (the too-young-to-run variety) often have trouble carving out enough personal time to grab a quick shower, never mind squeeze in a workout.  Think about picking up a jogging stroller and bringing them along for the ride.  Ease into 5K workouts are typically short enough to keep a kid from getting bored and the fast/slow rhythm of interval training can be a lot of fun.  Strollers can be pricey, so consider borrowing one for a workout or two before grabbing one for yourself.  If you do find that you like it, think about getting a used one from a friend or online.  Kids ougrow them, so plenty of people have gently-used jogging strollers collecting dust in their garage or basement.

Fitness Bonus: Pushing a stroller adds resistance that will make you stronger.  The next time you run without one, you’ll feel like a super hero.

Bigger kids

At some point, your kids will either be big enough that they don’t want to ride in a stroller or big enough that you don’t want to push them in one.  At the same time, they won’t be quite big enough to do a whole workout with you.  Keep bigger kids entertained by doing your workout at a park or a track where they can run along with you but stop for a breather if they need to.  Just be sure to have some support close by, so you aren’t worried about them wandering off while you’re in the “last run coming up” zone.

Fitness Bonus: You’ll feed off all that youthful energy and want to be fast and strong as they run alongside.

Teenagers and adults

Have a teenager, spouse, or other adult that’s willing to be caught working out with you?  Now you might have a serious training partner on your hands.  If you are pretty evenly matched, maybe you can just keep pace with one another and get through the workout together.  If there’s a bigger difference in speed and fitness, consider going hard on the runs and using the walking intervals to close up the gap and pull together again.  Either way, it can be a great experience for both of you.

Fitness Bonus: Training with a partner allows the two of you to challenge one another and gives you a feel for running with competition.  And who knows?  Maybe you’ll inspire someone else to jump on the fitness train.

Everybody’s situation is different, but hopefully this will give you some ideas about how to get the whole family involved in your workout routine.  Their support can make all the difference between sticking with the program and fading out in mid-July.

Do you have any tips for getting the family involved in your fitness program?

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