Inspiring the Next Generation

Why I love running with my daughters

by Beca Lyne-Pirkis, Run Buddy

Whenever I get asked about why I love running so much, I usually answer with “it’s my ‘me’ time away from everything, a chance to lose myself in my thoughts and to put things right”, and if I’m honest it’s time away from being Mam!  I’ve been running since I was 15, over 20 years now and I started because I just fancied going for a run as I always enjoyed cross-country at school which is an odd thing for people to hear when I say that I was often last, but that didn’t bother me, I just enjoyed being out and seeing what I could do.  Running has been a constant in my life ever since and has taken me on some amazing adventures by running several marathons as well as an ultra.  Having the support of friends and family at running events is such a motivation boost, and I love nothing more than when my two daughters come and watch me run, waving banners and shouting support at everyone they see; with a beaming smile and a hug I get as I plod past being the ultimate energy boost.

Having two daughters has made me think about how they see me as their mother and what kind of role model I can be for them.  I’ve always loved exercising, from being part of different teams at school and university to running, weightlifting and crossfitting now as an adult.  I’d like the girls to also grow-up enjoying and feeling the benefits of an active lifestyle and as a family we’ll often go for walks, bike rides and swimming together

A couple of years ago, I was lacing up my trainers and getting myself sorted for one of my usual runs, when my oldest daughter Mari asked if she could come running with me one day.  She was 6 at the time and I felt such pride in the fact that she wanted to join me running.  I said that the next time I go out, she could join me and that we could plan a nice route to run together.  After I got home from my run, we sat down and planned when and where we could go together.  Having not taken a child running before, I wasn’t too sure what to do or where to start!  I knew that the girls did the daily mile at school and so knew that she could do a mile without too much fuss.  

We decided to go around Roath Park Lake as it’s flat with plenty to see and a nice loop that would be achievable for little legs!  Mari was so excited that first time, getting dressed in her leggings and t-shirt and popping on her trainers.  When we first set off, she shot off like a whippet and turned around after 10 seconds to see where I was!!  It was quite funny that first time out together, she kept sprinting off and then stopping in a heap, huffing and puffing but beaming and just loving being out running with me.  It was the start of our running sessions together and I too loved it just as much as she did.

Alys then decided that she too wanted to join us on our next running expedition and two years later, we still go out together – sometimes all 3 of us, but more often it’s just Mari and me, and I have to say that although it’s my ‘me’ time to escape from the girls – I love running with them and I hope it’s the start of a love for running that they too will take with them throughout life.

My top tips for running with kids is to make it fun!  You are not going to get a PB and don’t expect to be able to do your usual running training session.  The one thing that running with the girls has reminded me of is just how much fun running is and to not worry about what you look like!  I usually try and keep a steady pace for the majority of my runs, unless I do some hill repeats or speed intervals, but with Mari – one minute she’s jogging along nicely then she’ll dart off to the next lamp post as fast as possible, so I do exactly the same!  We challenge each other and race each other the next park bench, but then we’ll also slow right down and walk and have a chat.  It’s great to challenge her too, by encouraging her to keep running a little longer or seeing how a new route works for her and her little legs.  Don’t push their distance too much to start and be mindful that they will be achy the next day – a nice hot bath does the trick to help ease those achy legs.

I’d love to one day run a marathon with the girls, that’s a long way off at the moment, but I’m clinging onto that dream. In the meantime, I’m just going to continue to encourage and enjoy running with my girls and support them in their new found love of running.

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