Tim and I trained for and ran the Steamtown Marathon in 2009. Tim had always wanted to run a marathon, but I had been a reluctant running partner up til that point. I found inspiration when the final two contestants on The Biggest Loser ran a marathon as their final challenge. I thought, “If they can do it, so can I!”
At the time, we were thinking about starting our family within the next year. I wasn’t a huge fan of running, and the marathon was kind of a bucket list thing for me. We finished the race together in 5 hours and 45 minutes. Tim could have blown that time away, but he stuck with me. He’s a peach like that.
Fast forward to April 2021, I decided to give running another try. I found that I really enjoyed it! Running provides fresh air and cardio exercise at the same time along with a sense of accomplishment that some people call “the runner’s high”.
Then I got The virus and had to quit running again. Such is life. But, I’m ready to get back out there with some of the kids in tow.
Can Kids Run for Exercise?
Kids can participate in a running program as long as you are aware of appropriate physical limitations. I looked up some resources about kids and running. Children under 9-years-old should only run up to 1.5 miles in one session. Kids 9-11 years old can run up to 3.2 miles. A 5K (which means 5 kilometers) equals 3.1 miles. Training should be limited to three sessions per week. So, your kids 9 and older can safely train for and run a 5K with you. That was good news for me!
What is the Couch to 5 K program?
Originally designed by runner Josh Clark, the Couch to 5K program is an interval trailing program to get you from absolute beginner to completing a 5K in 9 weeks. Now you can find several different programs that range from 6 to 12 weeks long.
You begin by going for short running sessions with walking intervals. In fact, the first several sessions, you will walk more than you jog. It is a gentle way to put more exercise into your lifestyle.
How To Start a Running Program with Your Kids
You can find Couch to 5K programs to print out, but the easiest way to get started is to download an app. I like the 5K Runner app. You can try it for free for seven days. That will get you through the first four sessions to see if you like the app. Then it is a lifetime membership for $29.99. That’s not bad for a personal trainer in your pocket. You can also listen to your own music while using the app.
Make sure your and the kids have good shoes. You don’t have to break the bank when you first start. You can get a decent pair of kids trainers at Walmart or Amazon for $20-40 per pair. I know that adds up when you have multiple kids, but most kids have a basic pair of sneakers anyway. Start with those and replace each kid’s pair as they need them. As my friend Fred says, “Anything between you and the ground is worth spending money on.”
Next, make a playlist full of fast tempo songs that you and the kids enjoy. Music has always helped motivate me during a run and my girls loved it too. It’s important that the music is upbeat because it will help you keep a good pace.
I look forward to telling you more about our running adventures this summer. While researching for this post I came across an app called Zombies, Run! It makes a game out of your running sessions. I can’t wait to try it!