Tag Archives: training

And There it Was – Gone!

On our run yesterday, Barb and I plotted and schemed about how we could sign ourselves up for the Run Disney Glass Slipper Challenge (10K + Half) in February without turning it into a family vacation. We will have just gotten back from the big bad Disney Marathon in January. Besides being fiscally irresponsible, all but one of the kids (in the two families) will be in Junior High, so missing more school is a bit of an issue as well.

So we schemed. If Barb signed me up as a birthday present, I couldn’t very well decline, and of course I would need my running partner with me. The two of us could go together, sans family.

OK, it was a bit of a pipe dream. Going to Disney without Mark would be impossible, Disneyphile that he is.

Last night, however, the whole point became moot. The Glass Slipper Challenge sold out hours after registration opened. (If you’re contemplating the Princess Half or Enchanted 10K, those are at 55% and 84% full. If you’re planning to sign up, better hurry!)

Our original plan was to run the Princess Half for the first time with Madison, Margaret and Madeline. At least two of them are pretty keen to run a Half as soon as they are old enough, which is 14. So maybe we’ll wait until 2016 to run that one. By that point, Madison and Margaret will be mopping the course with the rest of us.

Yours in Running,

Lisa

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Personal Goal

We would like to discuss goal-setting in the future, but an impromptu conversation while running with my daughter last week led me to briefly offer my suggestions on this matter.

Setting goals is very important in everything we do, but it is very individual. Like most sports, activities or even school, we often find ourselves comparing our performance to others. This can be a recipe for disaster and can quickly deflate our desire to run (or do other activities). I often tell my family to set two personal goals. Your first goal should be easily achievable, but a little out of immediate reach. Your second goal should be a little harder, but with a little training/work, also achievable. Remember though, ALWAYS measure your performance against yourself.

I had the opportunity this past week to run once with both my daughters.

The other night Madison and I went out for a run. Madison is still very new to running, but doing extremely well. Like most people she often compares herself to her friends. We had a great conversation as we ran, which by the way often inspires children to run a little farther. We talked about a short and long-term goal that would challenge her, but not discourage her. I reminded her that running should be fun and although you may run with people, it is an individual activity with individual goals and expectations. My frequent running partner and I are fortunate that we run with similar goals for our half marathon races, but he does not run marathons, so I set my own goals for those races. I like to push myself, but I know I’ll never run a 2 hour marathon, so I don’t set that as my goal. I challenge myself so that I can improve and only measure my performance against myself.

We are fortunate to live near a large park, with lots of trails that run along the ocean, past old turrets and batteries of a century-old defence fortification. Madison and I had a great run, enjoying the views and the conversation, as we discussed goal-setting.  She now has set her own goals for her next 10k, at the end of August.

My run with Gabrielle was quite different. The only goals we discuss is where she wants to run and how far. We want the girls to enjoy running and at Gabrielle’s age (8) my wife and I believe this should be her only goals. She is interested in her times when she goes in an event, but with us she just wants to run and talk. We ran a shorter run through the park and even stopped at a high point to look out over the water and all the sail boats. Running with your children gives you a great chance to talk, or should I say listen. Gabrielle talked about school, dancing, running and music. Before I knew it our 5k run was done.

I am proud of my wife and daughters’ progress and I’m happy we can all get outside and run. As I look out the window at the clear sky and warm sunny day I challenge every family to put on your sneakers and head outside. Run around the block, run a kilometer or run longer, but just get out and run. Set a goal for yourself, no matter how small. You’ll be glad you did.

Yours in running,

Mark

Get Your Kids Running Part IV

Last night Lisa took Gabrielle, and Mark took Madison, for their final training runs before the Scotiabank Bluenose Marathon Weekend (http://bluenosemarathon.com/). As usual, Gabi (aptly named) chatted the whole 4.5K. Lisa got all caught up on what she’s learning in school, and all the third grade politics and shenanigans. Madison and Mark ran 7K, incorporating some hill strategies that she’s going to need on Sunday! We picked up our race kits today, and we’re getting ready to “Just Giv’er”.

So while we’re anxiously awaiting the Bluenose, here’s the last of the Top 10 List of strategies to get your family on the road to running. (The list has been spread out over a few posts.)

7.     Keep distances reasonable for the age of the child. There is a lot of controversy about how much distance children should be running, and at what ages. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, overuse, overtraining and burnout are increasing issues among children as their participation in sports increases*. There is no single guideline regarding the distances that are appropriate at specific ages. That means that as parents, we are responsible to work with our children to determine how much is too much.

Start off slowly, with short distances, then increase speed and distance as you go, but not by more than 10% per week*. Listen to your child. If he or she is experiencing any pain, it could signal injury to muscle, bone or tendon. We follow training plans that allow at least one “rest” day between runs, so that muscles have a chance to recover. Our 8-year-old daughter can run 5K without too much strain, but we wouldn’t let her do much more at her age. Our 11-year-old daughter – we’ll call her the gazelle – has no problem running 10K. With the right training plan and lots of monitoring, we would allow her to start training for a half marathon.

8.      Set goals and help your child build a plan to achieve them. When you decide to start running, be sure to set a goal. It might be a specific race (a Family 5K Fun Run is an excellent place to start) or a distance or duration that you would like to work up to over time. Make sure your goal is SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. Set a plan to achieve your goal. Follow the plan. Make a chart that your child can update – it’s a visual reminder of his or her achievement. Build your plan to increase your distance and speed over a period of time, with milestones along the way. Training without a plan is like trying to put together a Lego set without the instructions.

9.      Run while on vacation – it’s a great way to see the sights. When you plan your next vacation, have your kids plan a couple of runs. Discover the local parks and gardens, or incorporate some of the major sites. Last year, Mark ran the Grand Prix circuit in Monaco (amongst other ports on a Mediterranean cruise). Remember: safety first, of course. Stick to the beaten path, be aware and alert, and be sure to learn about the area before you hit the road.

10.   Make it fun. Children love to run. If they start looking at running as something they have to do versus something they love to do, you’re sunk. (They love the idea of helping with housework, too, until you add it to their chore list.) Vary the route, set goals, make it family time, get them talking, sign up for running events, involve them in planning, and incorporate running into your routine. Don’t underestimate the power of a race goal to motivate your little runner. Ours are pretty fired up about the Bluenose.

No more excuses. Just get out there and run – Family Style! You’ll be glad you did.

*Brenner, Joel S. (2007). Overuse Injuries, Overtraining and Burnout in Child and Adolescent Athletes. Pediatrics, Vol. 119, No. 6, June 1, 2007 (pp. 1242 – 1245)