Running and Racing as a Family! And a Follow-Up to Goal Setting with Kids.

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Gorgeous day! It took a little bit of work to get everyone out for a family walk/run by the river before it got dark, but we did it! And we were all happier for it when all was said and run! A family of Brooks Running runners…Pure Flows for kids for them and Cascadias for mom and dad! Now we just need a Brooks canine line!

Yesterday was one of those rare spring-like winter days here in Central Oregon. Sixty degrees with blazing blue skies, and sunshine that seemed to reach every corner.  I was determined to get the whole family outside on a walk, hike, or run after school.  As soon as the kids got home, I let them know our plan:  “We are all going outside to run on the trails as a family!”  Of course, all three of them sweetly complied like angels.  Ha!  Yeah right!  There were a few arguments.  One child insisted on wearing shorts and a t-shirt because we’d just announced how warm it was out there (not quite shorts weather).  Another child wanted to stay home and roller blade with her friend.  And the other had heard that I needed a photo of all of us running together for a magazine that asked to do a feature on Run with Me Kids so she was prepping to be the next runway fashion model.  Oh boy.  I just want a family run!  Forget the picture and the outfit change!

We finally got outside and everyone was mostly on the same page: taking part in family time, enjoying our trails, and being active. Batman (aka my five-year-old son) had a few choice statements to express his discontent at having to get out of the house but he eventually “warmed up” despite his shorts and t-shirt on a shady mountain path next to the river.  He was stubborn enough to not admit that Mom and Dad were right when they said he should just stay in pants and a long-sleeve shirt…so he just ran faster to keep warm.

When we got home, I was inspired to grab my calendar and pencil in some running events for the 2015 year (in addition to the Boston Marathon and my first 50k ultra)! One of my first races to write in was the four mile trail race held on Mother’s Day weekend at one of the most scenic locations in Oregon: Smith Rock State Park.  This will be a race where I run for free (all Moms do) with my daughters. You can read more about these Smith Rock Races on my Runninghood Post:  Visit Central Oregon on Mother’s Day Weekend: Races for the Whole Family!  During this weekend, there will also be a mile fun run for my son on the same day as the 4 miler and a half marathon on Mother’s Day that I’ll do if I’m feeling up to it so close to a marathon.

Above all the races I added to the calendar, I think the 4 mile Smith Rock trail race with my girls (ages 10 and 8) will be one of my favorites.  Not only is this a race that I can enjoy with my kids, it will provide us with an opportunity for quality time together as we work up to race day.  It will also give us an opportunity to set some fitness goals as a family!  “Training” for this race will mostly involve simply getting outside together to run a few times a week.  The race itself will be about enjoying a 4 mile run together.  No time pressure.  Just running in a beautiful place and feeling proud and happy at the end!

Over the next few months, as a family, we will:

  • make time to run together
  • spend more time than not being active and doing what we love: playing, hiking, exploring, running, etc
  • get excited about our May family race weekend at Smith Rock!

A few afterthoughts from my last post on setting goals as a family and with our kids:

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Having these visual reminders is good for keeping all of us on track! The kids have accountability and pride in seeing their progress and I am reminded to notice and draw attention to more of the positive behaviors instead of nagging so much! I love sticker charts!!

How’s it going?  It’s only been a handful of days since our kids set some goals for themselves and we got a couple of sticker charts on the wall but WOW, what a difference it makes!  It has been a huge motivator for all of us, especially my youngest.  Having a sticker chart on the wall with our goals and progress visible, is not only a motivator for the kids but a reminder to me as a parent to focus more on their positive behavior instead of nagging at them for the things they aren’t doing.

Why set goals? In our last post we mentioned that one of our goals at RWMK is to create an environment for parents who want guidance, inspiration, and information on running with kids. Another goal is to include information on building healthy life habits (mind, body, spirit) with our kids. One of these life habits we think is important is knowing how to set and work towards goals.   For as long as I can remember, I’ve set long and short term goals for my life.   The benefits of goal setting are great!  When we set and achieve personal goals (big and small) we experience motivation and empowerment.  Writing our goals down and sharing them can also provide accountability that helps keep us working hard to achieve the things we want most!  Having goals for our life can also help us feel a sense of control – who doesn’t like to feel in control just a bit??  Um, I will fully admit that I like to feel like I’m driving the life bus (even if I’m not entirely in control)!

Why teach our children to set goals?  Children are people too!  Little people, yes, but the tools and healthy habits that we use as adults, can also be beneficial to them.  Teaching our kids to take ownership over their goals and be intentional about their choices and actions is just one way we are helping them learn skills that will carry over to the rest of their lives in positive ways.  One of my earliest memories involves visualizing goals for my life. When I was around five or six-years-old is when my mom had us illustrate all the fruits of the spirit.  She drew a box for each trait: Love, Joy, Peace, Kindness, Patience, Self Control.  Then we talked about them and illustrated what each one might look like in our life.  This helped me not only understand what these traits meant for me but also to visualize how I wanted to make them part of my life. To this day I think back to that day as the beginning of a goal-driven life!

Are goals just for the new year? Absolutely not!  In fact, understanding that you will likely change your goals a few times throughout the year and being willing to be flexible will set you for more success than if you give up because you realize your goals started to change when you came across new roads/bumps in life.  Goals are simply a framework.  They provide guidance and direction.  Let them help you-not make you feel trapped!

Charts Charts Charts!  I’ve always been a fan of creating sticker charts with my kids to help them work towards goals.  We’ve done this with potty training, chores, working towards earning a trip to Disneyland and so much more.  Whenever we’ve gone a long time without our goals written down where we can see them or on a sticker chart, I wonder why I’ve gone so long!! It works so well with my kids.  Not only is it good for them to have a reminder of what they are working on and to be able to see their progress on their charts, but it helps me remember be mindful of noticing their specific progress.  Win win!

Things I try to remember about goals (and tell my kids):

  • They can be temporary–they aren’t set in stone.
  • Let them change as you change–rewrite as you go.
  • It’s helpful to write them down.  Seeing goals on paper is often the first step to breathing life into them!
  • Put them where you can see them.
  • Celebrate success! As you accomplish short and long-term goals, acknowledge your growth, efforts, and progress!
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After our family run was all said and run, everyone was all smiles!

Thank you for joining our Run with Me Kids community here and on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!  It has been exciting to see this online community come together and we hope it continues to grow!

 Do you set goals for your life (long and short-term)?  Do you help your child set goals?
Amanda
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2 thoughts on “Running and Racing as a Family! And a Follow-Up to Goal Setting with Kids.

  1. Really great post! Oregon sounds beautiful. We dont have any mothers day weekend races here. Bummer! Yes, I encourage goal setting with my son. He has a running “log” of sorts and we have run three 5ks together. But I haven’t tried the visual chart idea..thank you for the continued RWMK inspiration!

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