As the mother of an almost 6-year old daughter, I have learned on very important detail about parenting – kids learn by example.
My daughter watches as I go out for my training runs and has been to nearly all of my races. She listens as the crowd cheers all of the participants on. She sees how happy I am when I cross the finish line, no matter how long it takes me. She’s seen all of the finishers’ medals (otherwise known as *race bling*) I’ve earned over the past four years. And what’s great about that is she loves being a part of it, so much so, that she has asked to race too.
The great thing about road racing is that so many of them are not simply about celebrating who gets to the finish line first, but are also about promoting healthy lifestyles. Because of that, a lot of sponsors will hold a fun run/kids race race prior to the day’s main events.
Most kids races range from a 1/2 mile or less and provide each child with some sort of prize at the end – a bag full of goodies, t-shirt, or a medal. And even though, for Olivia, it’s not about winning, my husband and I bought a bag full of plastic medals in case the kids race doesn’t provide them. Olivia loves her medals. LOL!
Road racing is a terrific motivator, for kids and adults alike. I suggest that if your child shows any interest in racing, sign them up for one immediately (most of these will be free, others cost $10 or less). Use that upcoming event to get them to train. Take your child to the local park, pick to markers, and have them run between them back and forth for 5 minutes. Do this a couple of times per week, and each week ,increase the time by 1 minute. Make it fun by running against them and having them try to beat you, or by giving them a prize each week for all the work they are doing. By the time the race comes, your little one will be prepared.
On race day (and during training), it is important to stress that this is not about winning. The point is for your child to finish the race by putting in their best effort, it’s not a competition against the other kids. Teaching a child pride in completion may be difficult at first, but keep reiterating how awesome it is to work hard and finish the race and your child will eventually understand. Take a photo at the end of the race. Place the photo somewhere prominent in your home so that everyone who enters can see what your child accomplished and celebrate it with them. This will hopefully make them want to train and race more. Fitness is about personal success and by making it fun, we enjoy doing it more.
So here it is, a list of kids races in and around NYC.
- April 21 – City Parks Foundation Run ($6/8)
- May 5 – NYRR Youth Jamboree (Free)
- May 12 – Japan Run ($6/8)
- June 2 – Celebrate Israel Run ($6/8)
- June 16 – Portugal Day ($6/8)
- June 23 – NY Giants Run of Champions ($10)
- June 30th – Achilles Hope & Possibility (Free)
This is just a short list. You can check out Active.com for a more comprehensive list of races for kids.
Now get up, get out, and go!