Sunday, July 31, 2016

Why Should Kids Run?

A few scientific findings to ponder...

  • Bone Strength develops the most in pre-teen and early teen years, and the benefits will stay with them for the rest of their life, compared to their not-so-active peers.  Check this article out here.
  • Kids exercise is positively correlated to future income.  Check this article out here.
  • Kids exercise encourages better study habits.  Check this article out here.
  • Memory and focus are better in active children.  Check this article out here.

So, if you are a runner, why are you not running with your child?

Monday, July 25, 2016

Running with Kids...Week 3 Recap

T-41 Days until our first 5k.

Our protocol for this last week:
Run 3 minutes
Walk 2 minutes
Run 90 seconds
Walk 2 minutes
Run 3 minutes
Walk 2 minutes
....and repeat.

Excluding our warm up and cool down walks, we are finally running more than walking:
  • 15 minutes of running
  • 10 minutes of walking
You would have thought that I was abusing them...between their bickering and their whimpering and their hurt feelings because they were not encouraging each other on the first day of this week....let's just say that I was glad that tomorrow was a rest day!

The first time with this schedule went pretty well, even given the above. We had a minor mishap on the first 3-minute son looked back to tell my daughter something and he ended up with a minor knee and hand scrape.  Of course, it was all her fault....that's how the run started and ended.  But, we will survive and learn not to compare ourselves to the other and I swear these two are going to learn how to SUPPORT each other, even given their differing strengths!

While hard, their lungs should have started to see improvements.  I keep on telling them:
  • It takes 2 weeks for your heart to start strengthening
  • It takes 4 weeks for your muscles to start strengthening
  • It takes 6 months for your bones to start strengthening
And you know what...I think at least my daughter sees that her heart is stronger after two weeks of running!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Puberty Sucks for the Girl Athlete

There are a lot of young female athletes....they love playing the "jock" role.  They love the camaraderie of the team.  They love feeling capable.  Unfortunately, once puberty rears its ugly never favors the girls.

Boys, on the other hand, grow stronger, taller and gain muscle mass.  Girls, on the other hand, gain a significant amount of weight pretty fast, their hips start to spread, their balance and coordination falters, they slow down (because of the weight gain and lack of coordination) and they simply do not feel capable any longer.

So, what happens?  Girls quit.  They feel lackluster that younger and smaller girls are faster than them.  They remember when they were the hitting stars on their softball team, and they know that they are simply treading water now, hoping not to be the worst.  Its even more awful when you are the first in your age to start developing hips! So, what to do?

Do not let any girl specialize in a sport BEFORE puberty!  She will only see herself dwindle in skills, which lays a sad foundation for self worth and athleticism in the future.  Now, of course, there will be differences of opinion here....but I read this and its so clear to me that this is a good practical solution to minimizing a girl's self esteem issues as a result of puberty.

Now, the weight gain is a completely different start a new athletic endeavor the focuses on building lung capacity, strength and endurance, which simultaneously rids her of the extra few pounds.  You can't stop can't stop the weight gain that is needed for puberty....but you can surely try to temper it as best you can.  Unfortunately, sports aside, girls can be cruel, and the more fit and confident they are, the less of an impact their puberty will have on their social environment.

So, for all intents and purposes, running fits the bill for my daughter right now.  It will rid her of those few extra pounds, create the endurance and strength that she needs to feel capable, and help her adjust her body's new balance in this new body...a body that she will be in the rest of her life, so the sooner she gets accustomed to it, the better.  All I need to do is keep her engaged, and while I don't expect her to be happy about it all the time, I also hope that she will be happy about it some of the time!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Running with Kids...Week 2 Recap

T-48 days til our first 5K.

Both my daughter and my son are capable of running 90 seconds, then walking 90 seconds now (not without complaining like their limbs are going to fall off, of course)...repeating for 10 intervals.  I get it, trust me!  I find myself focusing on them, so ignoring my own negative thoughts is easier...but they are still there.  I know my son will eventually outrun me in a mere 2-3 months.  Now, throw in 90 degrees which feels like 100 degrees, and you have an easy reason to feel sluggish!

Now, what have I learned in this last week?  My son can run a bit faster than my daughter.  He walked the dog with my husband and then joined us mid-run at a local park.  The problem?  He was full of energy and I could feel that my daughter was trying to keep up with him.  She wasn't listening to her own body's pace. I think forward 8 weeks, and I know that the urge to run faster than you should when you are surrounded by better athletes is going to impact them.  Unfortunately, they have different paces, and I need to acknowledge that and deal with it.  He runs about 1 mile/minute faster than she does.  He should, of course, since he weighs 30 pounds less than her!  But, this means that I need to run with them separately (which is what I was reluctantly expecting).

I know I have to balance their complaints with part motherly support and part "suck it up kid" attitude.  Just like when they complain about homework, they need to just focus and get it done so they can realize that they are capable of doing it!  But, also like homework, they need encouragement and a little guidance so they can address the problem in front of them without me...they need to be capable AND they need to know that they are capable!

  • Keep them motivated through the awful 6-week period, which is the hardest part of the training.
  • Get them to run non-stop at the 5k over Labor Day weekend....even if they are slow as turtles!
  • Keep them committed until mid-October when the humidity just magically disappears, then I just need to maintain their training since they will be running so much more easily.  The humidity just kills you down here, but if you can start training in the summer, once the weather turns, you know you can accomplish anything!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Running with Kids...Week 1 Recap

This post series is going to be a bit different than any other post that I've done.  Why?  Because we are on a new endeavor in our family!  My son has some OT issues that we are working on, as well as some specific learning disabilities.  I want to make him stronger and feel confident about himself.  My daughter is going through puberty and has put on at least 20 pounds in the last year...she is feeling sluggish, and while she wants to be active and be "joke" like, she simply does not have the energy or endurance to succeed.  So, we are venturing on this path together.  5K bound in less than 10 weeks!
Now, do I expect us to walk at all in this race?  Rather, I anticipate it....but getting them out and doing this together is really going to help change our family dynamics for the better.  They weren't even bad at all, but this is going to be a great bonding experience.
  • Time with the kids alone
  • Time to encourage them when they cannot tune me out
  • Forces me to be the encourager, rather than focus on my own physical shortcomings
  • Love seeing them do better each week, which will make them trust me more when they realize it themselves!
  • They may need different training speeds, which means that I have to run more (this could be considered a pro, of course, if I need to encourage myself to run more...or it could mean that I could risk injury more)
  • Time commitment
  • Training in summer...Florida summer
  • Timing runs to meet their personal restrictions
They each have run three times thus far.  We are basically following the "Ease into 5K" training method. 

My son is 9 and is full of energy, but I ramped it up a bit more this last time, and he was hitting a mental block even though he was doing fine.  He is about 4'8" and 70 thin as a rail.  He has a crazy gait, but I'm sure that his body will find the more efficient means to run by itself in time.  He has a lot of energy and seems to enjoy seeing that he has more energy than everyone else! 

My daughter is 10, and she is slow and sluggish, but definitely has a decent gait. She has always been athletic...and I know that this puberty thing is the cause of it (she can't possibly be as energetic when she is weighed down with the new weight!).  If she feels that she can handle a 5k running non-stop, I know that she will feel more confident in everything.  She has participated in ice skating for a few years, softball for a few years, basketball, etc.  Almost always does more than one sport at a time.  I've been telling her that the first 5-6 weeks is the hardest....but that I was just like her and I know that she can do this!  She trusts me, so she is going for it, especially if she has some cute outfits to wear :).

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