Harnessing the Dude's Energy: Running with Kids

paper dollsIf you're like me and have a youngster who is full of life (and by that I mean energy), there's no better time than the present to harness that wonderful eagerness and get them running! Not marathons, mind you, but shorter distances. It's a great way to connect and teach them to take their time to accomplish a goal.

The Dude is a vivacious 6-year old who wants to do everything at full speed but only if he feels like it. Running together means teaching him pacing, teaching him to take his time and conserve his energy to complete the whole distance. It also means listening to him whine sometimes and convince him that he can achieve his goal. Although he runs around all the time, I've taken him on some actual runs -- where we charted a course, picked out some milestones and ran it.

The Dude is motivated by the fact that, on National Capital Race Weekend, the house is full of athletes. They all walk or run the half marathon (sometimes 10ks or full marathons). And they all get medals. He did a family fun run once and got a ribbon. Not good enough. Dude wants a medal. So I told him that he needs to practice and he will get a chance to earn one.

So far, we're marking down on his calendar the distance he completes whenever he runs, so he can see how far he will have run by the end of the month. And I signed him up for his first race later in June. The prospect of a medal around his neck (that's not mine) is very exciting!

If you're interested in getting your kids involved in running, check out the list of local Ottawa kids' races on Somersault Events.

Or maybe you've already got some experience running with your kid(s). Got any tips? Stories? Please share by commenting!