Are you preparing for your first family run? If so, there’s planning to do, pics to take and bonding to expect. Whether you have young children or teenagers, you can make your race day a success. I have a few tips and suggested training routines that will help you prepare for a fun and memorable day.
My family has participated in two marathons and a handful of shorter races. You do not have to be an experienced Olympic marathon runner to participate in a family race. Trust me, with just a few fun-filled exercise routines, you’ll have increased stamina and run lower risks of getting injured.
Your ultimate goal is to have fun! Preparation will help you reach your goal with the least amount of stress.
Here’s a list of pointers that will help your family make it across the finish line without any hitches:
1) Create a workout plan months before the event. It’s never too early to start preparing for your race. Plan to have Family Workouts 2-3 times a week. Let the kids help with planning the days and times of your workouts. Make it a point to post your schedule on the fridge or use apps like Cozi or Google Calendar to keep everyone in sync.
2) Let the children lead. Follow their lead and don’t push them past their limits. For your workouts, do warm up runs and other fun exercises like jump roping, squats, marching like a soldier, and toe touches. This is very important because you don’t want to push the kids too much and take the fun out of it. Keep encouraging them and watch their confidence soar!
3) Start out slow. It is essential to go easy at first if your family isn’t experienced at running. Children like to play to the point of exhaustion so they might be a little eager for their first work out and overexert themselves. If you see this, step in. Try to make sure everyone has enough rest after each work out session and be sure to drink lots of water to stay hydrated.
4) Listen to your body. Don’t get too fixated on training. Check your kids for body pains or injuries. Slowing down at the midway point is best. Watch the children’s breathing and chest movement. Don’t ignore sprains or injuries and get a sports physio to run check-ups to be on the safe side.
5) Reinvent ways to keep it fun. While you’re planning your heart out for race day, the kids may lose interest. It happens! You must think on their level. Try taking pics of your weekly workouts to create a family collage using Photogrid. At the end of each week, share the collage to their phones. Older kids love using SnapChat. Use it to your advantage! You could even create a workout playlist with songs for everyone.
6) Prepare your race kits. Prepare your kit bag before the race day and invest in good, comfortable shoes and sportsoutfits for the entire family. I assure you, it’s worth the investment. Be sureto include lots of water and a handy first aid supplies.
7) Get your rest. Finally, I can’t stress the importance of a good night’s rest. Make sure you and your family get ample rest the night before.
8) Eat right. Be sure to eat healthy the night before. Your body will love you for it. Avoid fatty and high preservative meals. You don’t want any tummy aches or fatigue before the race. Try serving small meals like bagels, toasts with peanut butter or raisin toast for breakfast the day of the race. Fruit and snacks are usually provided for runners after the race but to be on the safe side, pack a few bananas and apples.
Keep the fun in your planning, take lots of pics and enjoy the process. Your family will share stories about their first family fun run for years to come.
Now go for it!