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Family Friendly Running

Something that is greatly overlooked in training guides is the importance of your family. It can be a great challenge trying to balance training time with the needs of your family. But having their support will help in many ways. They will help you mentally get through the more difficult training sessions and races. They can help provide motivation for those days you have trouble motivating yourself. And they will also help pick up the slack for those day to day choirs you will not have time for. Here are a few tips on things you, the runner, can do in return:


Race Selection: If you have younger kids, many races have fun runs for kids 2 through 12. Distances are age appropriate and everyone gets something for their efforts. If you have older kids, pick a race you can run with them. Not only is this a lot of fun for the kids, but it helps them better understand what you are doing. It also gives them something to look forward to and allows them to enjoy the races - not just you. Many training programs include shorter distance races prior to the big race. These are good races to do with the family.

Training: Your training will take up a lot of your time over an extended period. Be sensitive to your family regarding your schedule. Set a specific training schedule at the beginning of the week which includes the times of the day you plan to run and for how long. Include recovery times for longer runs. Share this with your family and be flexible to allow for things that are important  to them. Knowing these ahead of time will help you and your family plan better. But, allow these to vary based on work and family obligations. 

Taper Week: Just before the big race, spend some quality time with your family. At this point, your training is done. Additional training will not help you, and may hurt you. The time with your family will distract you from the race, help settle you down and help you with the mental aspects of the race.

Race Day: If you  expect your pre-race warm up & the race itself to take an extended period (especially for Marathons or Triathalons):

what activities are there for your family to do while they wait? Movies? Shopping? Museums?

Finish lines can be crowded, especially for large races.  Familiarize yourself with the area in and around the finish line. Pick a spot where your family will watch the finish from. This gives you a chance to see them as you finish and an idea of where to go once you are done.

Give them an estimated time for when you will finish so they know when to get to the finish line.

If the forecast is for a cold day, give your family some extra clothes to hold onto for you (such as a long sleeve shirt). You will want them when you finish. Most races have water and food at the finish line, but if you have specific foods in mind -  give this to them as well.

Set a time limit. If you have not finished or found each other by a certain time, have an alternate plan in mind. Meet back at the hotel? Call them on their cell phone? Leave a second key at the hotel desk? This is important since you might be cold or tired after the race. Younger kids might not have the attention span to wait for a couple of hours in the cold.






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