Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Daily Biathlon

Thank goodness it is finally summer. We are not a family of winter athletes, and every year when warm mornings mean running in shorts at 6am, I take a huge breath and relax.

This summer, we have instituted the family morning run. Alex, Izzy and I have been working on our morning runs for weeks now, and we finally have begun to make some progress. They both, thankfully, love to run. The whole concept began when I started making them get out of the babyjogger during my morning runs when they were hitting each other, and making them run alongside me until they were tired and in theory, too tired to hit anymore. They did stop hitting, but only because they spend most of the run running rather than riding, and when they are resting in the jogger, they are pooped.

We start with everyone running, and then as each of the kids gets tired, he or she crawls into the jogger to rest and then gets out again when rested. They can run about 1.5 miles during a 5 mile run. I bring lots of snacks and drinks, because they really need them to get through so much exercise. At every street corner, I yell "Stop, look and listen" and after weeks of practice, they get that they are supposed to stop, look and listen for cars, and wait for Mommy to give the "go" before running again.

Recently, because of the heat and the biting insects, I brought their tricycles into the living room. Neither of them can ride their tricycles, but they are trying hard. So, while I spin on my bike, they ride around in front of me. And then we go off for our run. We call this our biathlon, and kids now know that "bi" means two and "tri" means three and we do some lessons on other words that begin with those beginnings. A little mommy school thrown in there.

The kids are very proud of their morning accomplishments. Alex thinks we should go the whole way and add swimming so that we can do a triathlon. We will at some point, but since we don't have a pool, the logistics get slightly more complicated. But, as I promised him, we will add the swim leg. He thinks it should come last since you get so hot and tired by the first two.

Anyway, I recommend morning workout to anyone with the time to invest in it. The kids get their synapses firing in time for school, which helps them learn and focus, and of course, it builds good exercise habits we hope they will take with them into adulthood. And for Alex, whose balance and leg strength is poor, these morning exercises have helped to strengthen his legs and core, and we pray will improve his long-term outcome.