Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Interval Training Like a Kid

We did it! My 5 year old son rode his bicycle (no training wheels) all the way around Burke Lake last week. We did have a fairly significant snack break halfway through, but he did it. Mud puddles, roots, dirt, gravel and all. I was sweaty at the end, though it was a warm and humid day. The most impressive sight was certainly the uphills where I pushed the stroller with my left hand and pushed the bicyclist (Tour de France style) with my right. Downhills were super fast, but overall it was slow. If only I wasn't in such good shape ;)

The experience reminded me and perhaps helped me to appreciate that these tiny bodies are much better suited for short bursts - i.e. intervals. Try to pace a 3-year-old. Go ahead. Good luck with that... They run and run and then they crash (hopefully not literally). Why not take advantage of this? I've always avoided "speed word" as it was so much easier just to slog through it at a more even pace with the stroller, but here's a great chance to do a little sprinting.

We'll give it another go next week. For now, we need to get his older sister up to speed so she can come along too. Perhaps we can make a game of it. Sprinting, resting, racing mom, etc. We'll have to do is just the beginning of a long summer.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Wheels Unite!

I recently watched a comedian whose act included a comment about how you would never act in-person the way you act when you are driving your car. i.e. Hey %^&*! Move out of the way! etc.

I find, however, the times I get MOST upset is actually when I am on foot or on my bike with a child in tow (literally) and I have to deal with inattentive and/or impatient drivers. The presence of my children may raise the overall stress of the situation, but they also keep my comments PG-13.

The best solution I can think of is to simply have more places we can run and ride safely away from motor vehicles. There are many organizations that are working to make this a reality. Two of note are Rails to Trails and People For Bikes. The Bike Lane (the local bike store where I work) is having a contest. If you sign up to pledge on the site, you can be entered into a contest to win a $2000 shopping spree at The Bike Lane or a TREK trip.

Wherever there are safe bike lanes and paths, there safe and comfortable places to run with your jogging stroller!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Throw 'em to the wolves

After 8 years of running with a single or double jogger, we are entering a new era. We are soon to be that crazy family you see with 1 to 3 kids on bikes while mom and/or dad are attempting to run for exercise. These are not serious training runs I'm talking about. Just those in-between jogging-for-fitness days.

I have often worried about what happens when your kids are too big for a jogging stroller, but too young to stay home by themselves. Occasional sitters are fine, but it would be way to expensive to hire a sitter for every jog that I go on. So, enter bicycles. We successfully removed TWO pairs of training wheels from the fleet in the month of May, so that puts the 8-year-old and the 5-year-old on two wheels each. The two-going-on-three-year-old prefers her bike as well (with training wheels and tow rope), though she will sometimes get relegated to the jogging stroller once I build up the older kids' stamina a bit. Our current maximum is about three miles.

Some people probably view their kids growing up with some trepidation, but I will say, that I find it incredibly satisfying to give your kids that shove to get them started off on the bicycles. It seems so symbolic of sending them out into the world to sink or float on their own. I'm still running nearby, but there is that big push and then it is up to them.

I hope to get the 8-year-old up to about 5 miles this summer while I run with the single jogger. Though not so much an opportunity for speed-work, it is good enough for daily maintenance running. You know - mental health runs. We'll see how it goes...