This past weekend was a unique race experience for me. I got to join my 8 year old niece and 6 year old nephew for the Girls on the Run 5k. As soon as we knew it the kids said “It’s starting, we have to go!” We lined up in the back since my sister in law said they would probably be walking most of it. Not a half a mile into it I started hearing the excuses from my niece: “I have to pee”, “My side hurts”, “My feet hurt”, “Can I just sit?”, “How much further?”. Her younger brother was like Superman. You could have just put a cape on him and he would have been gone. He was enjoying himself and taking in the sights along the way. When we got close to the Finish line you couldn’t keep either child from make that quick sprint to claim their medal they earned for their 3.1 mile journey. My niece wouldn’t let the volunteer put the medal on her though she saved that honor for me her Aunt Nicole which made my day. I thought I would share some tips on how to make race day a bit easier on the kids so they can claim their own Finish Line experience.
- Research the pre & post-race day activities and food options that your kids would like ahead of time.
- Choose light breakfast options for your kids to not weight them down but provide enough energy to carry them through.
- Lay everything out the night before so you’re not scrambling to get out of the house.
- Try not to over dress your kids. Check the race temps and dress for 10 degrees warmer. You will warm up within the first mile of starting your activity.
- Check your kid’s shoes before race morning to make sure there is enough wiggle room and the soles look good. Check their shoe laces before the race starts.
- Take them to the restroom 15-20 minutes before the race start.
- Allow them to drink at the water stops but not chug! A few sips will suffice.
- Watch your kids breathing. Quick, shallow breathing will bring on side stitches. Slow your pace. The faster the pace, the shorter the sequence (fast pace = one or two strides per breath, slower = three or four strides per breath).
- Encourage them to keep moving when they want to slow down or stop. Tell your kids you are proud of them and focus on the shorter targets rather than the finish line. Let’s get to that stop sign or next water station.
- If your child has any medical or physical impairments write it on the back of their race bib along with their full name, allergies as well as your name and phone number in case you get separated.
- Don’t forget sunscreen and enjoy this experience with your kids. It may be something they pass on to their own kids one day.
To learn more about Girls on the Run you can visit their website: girlsontherunsola.org or on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/gotrsola