Saturday, April 4, 2009

Teaching Your Kids to Be a Runner......

I was listening to The Extra Mile podcast this past week and one of the runners mentioned that on his "Bucket List" of runs to do was to run a half-marathon or marathon with each of his kids.

That got me to thinking, "will my kids become runners?" I mean, they are young now, and they like to run. Even through the house. Chasing each other. Knocking over lamps and stuff. And they run outside at play. Through flower gardens even. But running comes so naturally to young kids that they don’t even care that it’s good for them. They just know that they have to move fast to squeeze the most out of every day.

My kids becomming runners is not really the goal. I just want them learn to live healthy lives, including exercise and eating right. Running is, in my opinion, just a great way to become fit and stay fit.

So here are some ideas that I plan to implement over the next 5 to 10 years in hopes that they might catch the running bug:

  • While they are still young (6 and 8), play games that have running in them, like freeze tag or duck, duck, goose....

  • Continue to encourage them to be involved in sports that have a running component, like soccer, baseball, etc

  • Invite them to take a run with me, even if it's just around the block, and even if they are on their bikes at first.

  • Take walks with them, which can often include little "race you to the telephone pole" activities.

  • Make sure they have good shoes for running...even if they like other types of shoes (skateboarder-type shoes are popular with one of my sons), make sure they have athletic running shoes around and available.

  • Take them to a race that I'm running so they can experience the event, and teach them how to cheer for the racers (maybe with a cowbell or noisemaker).

  • Get them signed up for a Kids run (1 K or 1 mile to start), maybe even run a race alongside of them if needed.

  • Set the example by continuing to run regularly and participating in local races both as a runner and a spectator.

  • Take them to a local track meet at a junior high or high school. Help them gain a vision for seeing themselves as a runner someday too.

  • Teach them about the benefits of running, and include the benefits of eating right with it.

These were some of my ideas, I'd love to hear any ideas you have on the topic. Maybe you were raised in a running family, or maybe you've raised a runner already. What are your suggestions?


ShirleyPerly said...

My step daughter hated sweating when she was young and refused to do anything much physical. Now that she's all grown up, however, she does do a little running and other things to try to stay healthy. I think it's important to keep things fun and positive for kids. If you try to force them, they'll rebel and hate it. Much like eating veggies.

Great post!

I Run for Fun said...

Just the fact that you run will motivate your kids...if not now, definitely later. My dad has been a runner since he was 32...and that had a great impact on my brothers and me.

Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

I got my son to run two races with husband & I, but he's decided he's not a runner.

Daughter hasn't run with us yet, but she's starting to get interested in exercise.

I think what's important is to get them to view exercise as something that is as normal as eating and sleeping so that they look for SOME way to exercise even if it isn't running

Missy said...

Having them ride a bike next to you with the VERY IMPORTANT role of carrying your water is a great one. Taking them to races and the kids races, thumbs up!

Fair Weather Runner said...

Well I don't have kids yet, but even still I wonder if they will be runners, or athletes... or what they will be in general. I secretly hope they like to run, but clearly that is a LONG way off :) And hey, I got started by running with my Dad and doing the River Run!

Billy Burger said...

While I don't have kids yet, I do have an 8-year old "Little Brother" that I mentor. We mostly play basketball and football for activity, but he has on occasions rode his bike next to me while I got my runs in.

It is my hope one day that he'll participate in a 5K with me and see where it goes from there.

Chad in the AZ Desert said...

Best thing you (and I) can do is keep it all fun.

The Happy Runner said...

I hope my son becomes a runner, too. But, I'll just be happy if he's active doing something. I really like your list and think it will go a long way toward making sure your kids at least give running a shot -- and hopefully love it!