You are probably already running after your kids every day, but have you ever considered making it official and signing up for a family-friendly race? Depending on their age and skill level, kids can make the perfect running buddies, whether in the stroller, on the sidelines cheering up a storm, or even running along right beside you. We’ve collected some training tips whether you want to run solo or with kids, and have also rounded up some of our favorite family-friendly races across the country. There’s nothing better than crossing the finish line as a family!

Image courtesy of Giant Race Facebook Page

TRAIN

1. Pick a race date far enough in advance to give yourself time to achieve your goals. It could be a 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Marathon or more! You’ll be surprised with what you can accomplish with time and planning.

2. Build up miles slowly. The hardest thing to do while training is avoiding getting injured. You need to progress very slowly, and add 1 mile to your long run per week tops.

3. Run at least 3 times per week and leave the long run for Saturday or Sunday mornings. The other two runs can be done when your schedule allows. Get up extra early during the week, or fit in that run while your kids eat dinner, watch a movie, or after they fall asleep.

4. If you plan to race with a stroller, train with a stroller. Plan your short runs to they end at a playground where the kids can get out and do their own running around while you stretch it out. (check out our list of stroller-friendly routes right here.) Long weekend runs can coincide with nap time. Don’t stop running until they wake up!

5. Stock your smart phone. Prepare a fun playlist to keep you pumped and motivated and download an app like Runkeeper, Nike Running or Strava to track your progress.

6. For your little running buddies, bring snacks they can much on the go and plenty of water for both of you. Get a small portable speaker so you can all jam out!

7. Plan your routes ahead of time. Run through parks or neighborhoods you enjoy, or maybe end the run at a special café or bookstore.

8. Reward yourself after every run; a piece of dark chocolate or perhaps a nice scrub in the shower.

9. Talk with your kids about your runs and milestones. They will be so proud of you! And it may inspire them to skip the stroller and run right along side you. Many races have mini versions for kids.

10. If you are running solo (sans kids), make sure they come and cheer you on from the sidelines. Besides giving you the push you’ll need to keep going, they will never look at mom or dad the same again: Super hero status for life!

 

Image courtesy of Koloa Plantation Family Run

 

RUN!

Now it’s time to pick a race (or two!). These are some of our faves from all around the country:

Splash Dash 5K in Mansfield, TX

When: July 22, 2017

Where: Mansfield, TX

Details: This water-themed run for kids of all ages combines running with a water balloon fight at the end. A prize also goes to the best costume in 3 categories…Adult, Group, and Child.

Online: splashdash5k.com/

Koloa Plantation Family Run & Walk

When: July 30, 2017

Where: Kauai, Hawaii

Details: Run or walk along four different course lengths for you to choose from while enjoying some of the most beautiful ocean views on Kauai’s South Shore. Special awards will be given to all youth 12 years and under who participate!

Online: koloaplantationdays.com/

 

Kids Race/Family Relay in San Francisco

When: August 26, 2017

Where: San Francisco AT&T Park

Details: A max of four relay members will be allowed per Family Relay (all ages), and the Kids Race is for children from 4 to 12 years old

Online: race-sfgiants.com/kidsrace

Image from Spartan Kids Facebook Page

Spartan Kids

When: Various Dates

Where: Many locations

Details: The Spartan Kids Race is where kids as young as 4 are encouraged to jump, run, get muddy, help each other, and have a good time while conquering obstacles.

Online: spartan.com

Image courtesy of Double Bubble

Double Bubble Run

When: September 10-11, 2017

Where: Frederick, Maryland

Details: This awesome race is specifically designed for families. You will be running through more than 13 stations which include Bubbles, Foam, Slides, Colors and Obstacles! A fun event for the whole family ages 2 and up.

Online: doublebubblerun.com/

Image courtesy of Color Run

The Color Run

When: Various Dates

Where: Many locations

Details: The most colorful run you’ll ever see! Dress in white and get ready to be splashed by every color of the rainbow in this happy race for everyone in the family.

Online: thecolorrun.com/

 

Mini Mudder

When: Various Dates

Where: Many Locations

Details: Mini Mudder is a 1 mile obstacle course mud run designed specifically for adventure-seeking kids. The course gives kids the chance to work as a team, get muddy, and experience the thrill of adventure. Kids must be between 7-12 years old.

Online: toughmudder.com/

Image courtesy of Kids Rock

Rock ‘N’ Roll Nashville Marathon and Half Marathon

When: April 29, 2018

Where: Nashville, Tennessee

Details: This race includes KiDS ROCK, a training program for elementary- and middle-school runners that culminates with a one-mile race at Nissan Stadium and mini-cupcakes at the finish line.

Online: runrocknroll.com/nashville/

Have we missed any of your favorite family-friendly races? Please tell us in the comments section!

—Sonia Gandiaga

featured photo: jona263d via pixabay