Why I have started running with my son

My son started school five weeks ago and in that short space of time, our lives have changed significantly.  

My son started school five weeks ago and in that short space of time, our lives have changed significantly.  

The pace of our mornings has accelerated, stress levels are often higher, and the search for hats, library books and missing notes seems never ending.  

And evenings are not much better. Between walking in the door, making dinner, and donning my armour for the bedtime battles, there’s hardly any ‘quality’ time left.  

Gone is the downtime that we once enjoyed and, to some degree, the connection that we’d built.  My questions about his day are often met with vague responses and communication from him is usually limited to asking to watch TV or to use the family tablet. 

However, all that changed a few weeks ago when I implemented a plan  – something I hoped would help us get back some quality time together.   

A couple of years ago, I’d downloaded an app designed to help you train to run five kilometers, I surprised myself by not only by being able to run five kilometers after roughly nine weeks of training, but more surprisingly I actually enjoyed it. 

So, with a physically active child in tow, I figured it was time to try it again. We decided to train every other day, with the help of the app, to reach our end goal of taking part in a local five kilometre park run…and make it to the end!
little girl running outside
Weeks one and two went well and Mr 5’s enthusiasm was contagious. On days when I was unmotivated, his excitement and energy buoyed me. It wasn’t until week three that things started to change. The longer we had to run, the more his enthusiasm waned. 
It was then that I realised it might be a little unrealistic to expect my son to complete the five kilometre challenge in such a short period of time. It was also clear that what started off as fun was no longer so enjoyable anymore.  
But, because the wheels had been set in motion and its impact on our relationship had been so positive, I didn’t want to give up running with my son.  
So, I adapted my strategy. Rather than training with the app (which I now do alone),  we set aside a couple of days a week when we go out running at our own pace…purely for fun. 
While we run, we talk about school, our days, and life in general.  We also mix up running with hopping, skipping and jumping. To  make things even more interesting we set ourselves challenges along the way, for example, how many lampposts we can reach, how many cracks in the bitumen we can avoid, and how many kookaburras we can spot. 
By regularly heading to the outdoors rather than the couch we’ve both benefitted immensely by developing a healthy and fun-filled exercise habit together,  reconnecting with each other, and reestablishing our bond.    
Communication is back on track, quality time has been reclaimed and both of us look forward to this special time. 
And do we still plan on completing a park run?  You bet we do.   We may not run all the way – or even half – but we will complete it together in our own style and at our own pace.  In fact, it will be much like our running journey so far! 

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