Matt is a blogger for Dad Down Under and is taking part in the exciting Real Insurance Sydney Harbour 10K race on July 14th. Find out how he has been training for the run with his son Max.
The common perception is that it’s harder to exercise with children and it certainly can be. But with a little bit of creative thinking and a lot of commitment I think you can still enjoy exercising regularly.
The simplicity of running makes it a parent’s best friend, you put on your runners and go, conditions are irrelevant, equipment is minimal and you don’t need to book a court. When I used to run I had a structured training programme that I stuck to rigidly but with Max I have a much more fluid approach to training and take the opportunities when they present themselves.
I can get away with 15 mins with Max in his stroller before he wants to stretch his legs. So I make sure that those 15 mins are spent sprinting up hills, along the beach or around the park; he’s pretty happy to soak up the scenery and seems to like the feel of the wind in his face. For me I get the benefit of some high intensity training with 15kg’s of toddler resistance.
In the evenings when Mrs Under gets home from work I point Max in her direction and head out for longer training runs, these runs were about building distance and stamina rather than worrying about pace. Start with shorter distances and a slow pace and build up gradually.
The day after the longer training runs I would always have a rest day from running to give my legs a breather and instead do some cross training to increase my stamina; boxing is great for this as is swimming, rowing, yoga or a gentle cycle.
My top 10 tips for training with kids
- Have a goal, an organised event gives you something to aim for and achieve.
- Visit a specialist running shop to find the right footwear for your feet.
- Try and involve your kids in the exercise, you might even find they enjoy it.
- Be flexible and take the opportunities to train when they present themselves.
- Start with shorter distances and a slow pace and build up gradually.
- Vary the style of running; add hills, sprints, longer slower runs and shorter faster runs.
- Start each session with a warm-up and finish with a warm-down to help avoid injury.
- Take a rest day between longer runs and include some cross-training sessions to add variety and rest your legs.
- Listen to your body, if you have any niggles or soreness, take a rest.
- Find enjoyment in running, whether it is fresh air, scenery, increased fitness or just having a break from the kids.
Here’s a little video I put together of me and Max in training for the Real Insurance Sydney Harbour 10km run. I had a lot of fun training for the event and feel as fit as a fiddle, having Max with me every step of the way (nearly) made it extra special.
So who fancies a challenge? Who wants to run the spectacular route around Sydney Harbour that starts and finishes at The Rocks? Perhaps you want to complete your first 10km run, it might be your first organised event as a parent or maybe you want to beat your personal best. The first 5 Dad Down Under readers to register are entitled to a 20% discount from the race entry fee for the Sydney Harbour 10km run. Please add this promotional code in when prompted during the registration process ‘BlogSH10’. I would love to see you there and share a moment of achievement with you at the end of the race. Alternatively if you have any training tips or words of motivation to get me over the finish line in less than 50 minutes I am all ears.