Running is great time to bond, creates opportunities for your family to exercise (together), and helps to develop positive health habits. However, as a runner, you may approach running a bit differently than your family does. It might seem like a challenge to get everyone on the same page in order to have successful family runs, but don’t let the potential challenges scare you away.
Here’s how to get the family involved with running but still allow you to get your training done:
- Invite the family to join your run, but maybe they don’t have to run. If you’re concerned about maintaining your pace, perhaps your family members can join on a scooter or a bike. This way, you don’t have to slow your running pace to theirs. However, be careful they don’t push your pace more than you’d like. Giving your family members a bit of an edge in the speed department can add an element of fun for everyone.
- Try running on a track. When everyone’s going in a loop, it makes varying paces more manageable. That way, you’ll get to see your family members and check in with them on each lap. Though you might generally prefer better scenery on your runs, and the repetition of a track isn’t your ideal location, the tradeoff is that you get to see your family as you train.
- Remember that family runs are not “all or nothing”. If you’re going on a long run, but your family can’t do more than a couple of miles, have them join you for part of it. They can do the first couple miles, meet you in the middle, or meet up for the last part of your run. Look at your training schedule and location to figure out what works best.
Other considerations for family runs:
- Make sure that your path or running location is safe for a family run. If you run on a narrow trail, you won’t be able to run next to each other — is that okay for your family? Similarly, is the terrain too rough for beginners? Take time to consider which training locale is best for a family run.
- Does everyone have the gear they need? You know how important the right shoes and clothes are to your run, so make sure your family has what they need. This doesn’t mean you have to do a major shopping spree just to have a family run, but make sure everyone’s in the most appropriate shoes and clothes they have.
- Mentally prepare for family runs — they might not go according to plan! These runs might be a little slower, filled with more chit chat, and may not push you as much as other runs. But, that’s part of the beauty of them! Focus on the experience with your family rather than trying to make this the best run ever.
As a runner, you spend a lot of time running and training. Adding in your family (every now and then) can be a great way to enjoy your runs while exposing your family to something that you love. Though there are considerations to make, when you play ahead and go in with an open mind, family runs can become an important part of your running routine.
How do you make running a family affair? We would love to hear your tips in the comments below!