The Summer Solstice has arrived. The longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. It’s the perfect day for a run–though any day is probably quite perfect for one. But it’s an even better day to start running with kids.

Grownups and parents take note: kids make totally awesome trail running buddies. Whether you’re simply toying with the idea of becoming a runner, contemplating signing up for a summer race, or have years of running and racing experience, there’s a lot of value to inviting your child or children (in my case, four of them) to tag along on your runs.

Interruption-Free Quality Time.

Running with your child will give you one-on-one time like no other ordinary day-to-day experience.  The bonding experience of trying out a new trail or even running the same, familiar route over and over again doesn’t quite compare to sitting together on the couch watching television together or standing next to each other in line at the movies, each starring at your handheld screens.

On the trail, you and your child get to soak up the experience of running, nature, and get to know the rhythm of each other’s feet striking the earth. Even short runs, say 20 or 30 minutes, squeezed into the routine of life, will give you important time with your child that will forever shape, influence, and inspire them for life.  That connection to each other and the outside world is priceless.kids as running partners

Kids are Fun.

Kids make great running buddies because they can be so fun.  If you’ve ever thought that your child says the funniest things, just add a bit of trail running to the mix.  The things kids say outside, on the trails, while running and racing are hilarious.

Boredom Busters.

Kids are great for busting up your workouts–in a good way.  While pint sized runners may not be ready for big mom or dad training or intensity mileage, they can certainly infuse your pre or post-runs with zippy speedwork. Integrate a kid into your run, and you’re sure to find the same old run is anything but boring. You’ll find yourself playing games and spicing up runs with competition–“who can run the fastest to tag that sign up ahead on the trail?”  Bigger kids who are ready to build mileage can be the perfect running buddies on your slow days…and sometimes push you hard on your hard days.

If you haven’t tried running with kids, try it!  Seriously. And don’t be surprised if inviting your child or children along for a run becomes part of the new routine. Once they are hooked on running, they might actually be the ones who get you out the door….

Happy Running!
* * Do you run with your child or kids? How often? What’s the best part about it? * * 

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