Ten Tips to Crush the Fun Run How to Prepare Kids for Mini Marathons!

With Fun Run season upon us, the best thing you can do for your child is get them in tip-top fun running shape! We expect the students to be decked out in the latest running gear, be able to run a full mile in under eight minutes, have perfect running form, and more than anything we expect you to not believe a single word you just read. Of course we don’t expect your kids to be marathon runners!

We want your kids to get exercise, learn more about how to live a healthy lifestyle, raise some money for their school and, most of all, have fun!

But, we have found there are strategies marathon runners use that can be applied to our Fun Runs and a healthy lifestyle in general.

Some of them apply to the day of the Fun Run, others are for your kids and their friends, and the rest can be used at home to bring your family closer together through activity and nutritional eating. So check out these Ten Tips to Crush the Fun Run!

#1 Start Small

Your kids might be doing a lot of laps the day of the Fun Run, so we encourage you to have your kids start walking or running at home ahead of time. Take them on short walks and gradually build up the distance so your kid can feel ready and able to take on the Fun Run track.

It’s also a great time for bonding! The longer the distance, the more time you have to talk to your kids and they will see that you’re making a commitment to a healthy lifestyle as well. >> Training plan for first-time runners

#2 A Judgement-Free Zone

This one’s all about pacing yourself. It’s easy to want to show off when they’re with their friends, but encourage your kids to do what they’re comfortable with when it comes time for the Fun Run. Make sure they understand there is no judgment when it comes to their skill level and that the Fun Run is not a race. If they’re doing their best then it’s enough!

#3 Carb Up

Athletes burn a lot of carbohydrates when they exercise, so we’re sure you’ve heard the phrase "carbo-load." This includes eating large amounts of carbohydrates such as pasta, bread, and nuts to maintain the energy needed for exercise. Well, we believe you can carb-up without the calories and unnecessary fats that usually come with it, so here are a few recipes we love and are sure your kids will too!

Chocolate Cherry Snack Bars

A delicious and sweet treat to keep up a healthy heart & weight. These yummy bars are made with nuts and grains and just a little bit of semi-sweet chocolate for a sugar boost. Check out the recipe from Eating Well, you can make a batch and have them for the whole week!

Pomegranate Berry Smoothies

This one is high in fiber and has five ingredients (& you can pronounce every single one of them), which is always a good sign for anything you’re making. It takes five minutes, and you can make them for breakfast, snacks or an after-exercise treat. Your kids will love them and we think you’ll agree. Get the recipe from Eating Well.

Mini Maui Pizza Pies

Sounds unhealthy we know, but these mini pizzas are only 182 calories because they use flaky biscuits instead of doughy crust! A great snack for your kids and their friends, plus the kids can help make this mini pizzas! Feel free to add your own veggies to the Healthy Eating recipe too.

#4 Don't Skip Breakfast

Here’s a big one, and we believe this tip should hold fast for any day of the week: EAT BREAKFAST.

Not only does it help activate your kids’ brains for school, if your child doesn’t eat and then does physical activity they could get really hurt. So take the time to make sure your kid eats every morning, especially on the day of the Fun Run.

#5 Warm up

One of the most important things to do before physical activity is to stretch. This is one of those fun ones you can do with your kids! Teach your kids some stretching techniques you know, or learn some as a family. This can be as easy as stretching in the living room to some music, or doing a family yoga class, as long as your kids feel stretched and ready to go. If they properly warm up there is less chance of injury and a greater chance their body will be ready to perform at its highest level.

Also, many schools are having group stretches led by the coach or gym teacher or even a special guest before they begin their Fun Run. This is a great idea you can add to your fundraiser! Check out an example warm-up video we made for practicing before your Fun Run.

#6 Hydrate

Drop the soda and juice and stick to water. All those sugary drinks have so many calories, not to mention they are bad for your kids, so get them out of the house and replace them with water. We recommend letting your kid pick out their own special water bottle. It will show your kids you’re putting an emphasis on drinking water, and let them feel like they have ownership of it, plus water bottles nowadays are a lot cooler than they used to be!

#7 run with friends

The easiest way to get your kids to workout and be healthy is to include their friends. Send them outside to play basketball or go for a bike ride. Whatever it is, encourage them to stay active. If they “train” for the Fun Run with a group of friends, they will have a bigger motivation. Plus, they can really get excited about the upcoming Fun Run if they’re all getting ready together. So invite the neighborhood over for some kickball, have those mini pizzas ready to go and you’ll be the coolest parent on the block.

#8 Rest Up

Setting a bedtime schedule for your kids helps their internal clock be ready for the next day. If they go to bed at different times every night there is no way their body can be fully rested and ready for what’s to come. So get some sleep, especially the night before the run. Being tired is the worst way to start the day!

#9 Get Motivated!

What your kids are doing is an amazing thing. They are going to be raising money to fund all the school activities and needs for that year, it’s something to be excited about! The best thing you can do is encourage them when they’re home, explain to them the importance of getting donations themselves, and help them understand what this event will mean to their school. If you’re excited, they’ll be excited.

For Parent Groups, this is why we recommend you make announcements throughout the week leading up to your Fun Run and to speak to the students right before the run begins. Remind them how many goals they've already met, what incentives they've earned, and all of the experiences they will be able to have thanks to the funds brough in from this Fun Run.

#10 Have Fun

Umm, this is a Fun Run remember?

It is going to be one of the most exciting things your kid does all year, so make sure they have fun by making posters, attending the event, helping them dress up, and, most of all, sending them off with words of encouragement!

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Created with images by frank mckenna - "untitled image" • gavinseim - "child people fun" • Pexels - "field playing kids" • jyliagorbacheva - "girl childhood fun"

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