I get a lot of questions about Bowie’s running, and how I keep my kids fit, in general. I thought I would answer some of the questions I get.
Bowie’s “competitive” career in 2013 when he was 6. After the Boston Marathon bombing, we did a BostonStrong awareness run (organized by Pavement Runner). I printed off bibs and asked my sons to run 2.62 miles around the Baker U campus with me. The thing is, Bowie did it without stopping. We didn’t know he could run like that. I thought Bowie might like to try something with a medal at the end, so I signed him for the the Kids Mile at the Double Road Race. And he won! He received his medal from Olympian Billy Mills — so cool.
From there, I started signing Bowie up for 5Ks. He did that for a year or so. And then he took some time off from running to play soccer. He ran trail with me upon occasion, but didn’t do any racing for a good year.
Bowie got the running bug again recently. I took him on a couple trail runs with me as well as some group runs with the Lawrence Trail Hawks. He was easily passing me up and I decided to sign him up for a trail 5K to see how he would do. He did well at the race so I signed him up for a couple more this year.
Bowie (now 9) is currently training for The Snake, a 10-miler at the Clinton trails in Lawrence, KS. Take the term “training” pretty loosely. Really, I let Bowie decide when and how long he want to run. His last two long runs were 6 miles. This will get bumped up every couple weeks until The Snake. He runs shorter runs during the week, depending on what he want to do. (He enjoys Sanders Mound repeats with the Trail Hawks quite a bit).
As long as Bowie is happy, and his legs do not get sore, I let him dictate his mileage and pace. My goal isn’t to build a champion runner, but to have a happy kid who appreciates the outdoors and being active. I am very careful about his mileage. If we ever get the notion that he is injured, he will work with his pediatrician.
The Rest of the Kids
In a house with 5 boys, activities are hectic and varied.
Dane is a baller. He loves baseball, football and basketball. He has recently chosen to concentrate on baseball since he is on a competitive team that travels for tournaments a lot. He had played competitive (tackle) football and basketball, and parks & rec soccer., in the past. he is 11 and heading into the 6th grade, but the junior high doesn’t offer baseball… so he will be sticking with his Lawrence team a bit. Again. We let Dane decide what sports he wanted to compete in. If he decides to pull the plug, he only has to finish up a season and then he can not play again.
Tatum is the little guy. He just turned 5 and is begging to race. So far, I have let him do some intervals on the trail. He has run 2 miles with jog / walk. We are considering letting him do a jog/walk 5K this summer… but only if he continues to show interest. In the meantime, he likes soccer and basketball. He got a new goal for his birthday and really has a good shot for a little guy!
Emery, the oldest, just graduated from high school. He played baseball and basketball in parks and rec but lost interest as he went into junior high. He actually did Couch to 5K with me when I first started running, and he ran my first 5K with me. So -THANK YOU EMERY for helping me get started with all this craziness. (He got 2nd at his 5K, btw).
Satchel is cruising into high school this year. He is more interested in academics than sports, and that is perfectly fine with me. He does enjoy taking hikes with the family. We are an outdoorsy bunch and we spend a lot of time hiking, climbing, biking and camping. Speaking of biking, in our house, Santa brings you a bike after you turn 5. In the summers, we do a family bike ride nearly every weekend. We load up the bike buggy with a picnic and stop along the trail for snacks.
I guess my recommendation for people looking to keep their kids active is to just keep making it fun. Arrange activities to get them moving and encourage them to pursue the things they enjoy most. Don’t force them to play a sport they don’t enjoy. Don’t relive your glory days through your kids. Keep them happy and healthy. Encourage good eating habits. Soak up some sunshine (with sunscreen, of course). Take in every moment you get to spend with them as they really do grow up way too fast.