Exercising with your kids: Why it doesn’t need to be a trade off

Stripey Stork is all about family – helping local families in need is at the heart of what we do. A lot of the people involved with the charity have kids themselves and are busy with family life. We’ve picked out some great local gems to consider when training for this year’s Run Gatwick.

Running Track – This is a lovely place in the heart of Merstham to run as a family. Battlebridge Running Track is a 400m cinder track, which is easily accessible. Furthermore, if the kids need a break there’s a long jump pit and goal posts if they want to kick a ball around all in site of the track.

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Local Parks – The location of Run Gatwick itself, Tilgate Park – Crawley. It’s a fab area to run, cycle and scooter. There are some paths that are shaded and a playground with many activities to really make a day of it.

Earlswood lakes is also a great training spot, particularly the lower lake. It has great parking faculties and a new café open throughout the day. Furthermore, Redhill Memorial is another great park in the local area. It has a renovated kid play area as well as a café. And some may not know there is a route for joggers which goes around the park! After all you can always motivate the kids with some snacks from the coffee shop after completing their runs.

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Bike it / Run it

Another option is to take your kids for a bike ride while you’re jogging beside them. Not only do you get to run at a good pace, but the kids get some exercise without them realising.  You can stop off at a nice pub afterwards for a nice drink for the adults and some food for the kids. The top of Reigate hill is perfect location for this – It’s relativity flat as well as bike and runner friendly and not forgetting the unbelievable views over the North Downs.

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21 Cycle Route

Recently I discovered this section locally. Not only is it partially shaded but pretty flat and you can see lots of wildlife along the way. Redhill (near Warwick school) is where I join it and it takes you all the way to Merstham/Bletchingley (around Hawthorns School). We do warn you however, you do pass The Inn On The Pond, which is a family friendly pub with some lovely outside seating area. (You can do with that information what you will!)

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Hikes – Boxhill is a lovely place for a family hike with some lovely scenic places. There is a free self guided leaflet to help you walk from the top.

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Interval Training – A cul-de-sac or safe road can be a useful place for interval training while your little ones play. Ideally you have some neighbours that would like to join in or you could take it in turns to look after the kids. Redstone Hollow is a lovely place where I have started taking, my 9 year old (bare in mind its not a cul de sac).

This is a steep hill in Earlswood, which running up and down a few times is a great workout. He’s managed to do it 3 times so far, and loves to time it to see if he can beat his previous. If he needs to sit out he can sit halfway up the hill which allows me to keep an eye on him at all times.

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Challenges

Kids always love some sort of challenge as it gives them a distraction and something to work towards. Whether this be ‘I bet you can’t run all the way up the hill’ or ‘Let’s count how any animals we spot on our run’. Keeping these goals attainable is important to ensure they are motivated and not disappointed. Be realistic about your child’s physical capabilities, after all the most important thing is having fun together.

Child Swap

Whilst all these fun games are going on, if you still feel you need to cover some more distance, you could take it in turns to go for a quick run whilst your friends hold the fort and you do a tag team effort.

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Timing is Everything

Looking to mix it up a bit? Why not also try a family mud run, inflatable obstacle course or colour run, the kids will absolutely love it and what special memories you’ll be making.

As your child recognises the joy you have when running they will most likely want to take part themselves – After all we are role models! If nurtured from an early age running can become second nature to children when growing up. As Emma from Reigate Junior Joggers said, “my daughter thinks nothing of coming for a run with me, in fact, she often asks if she can”. Exercising and spending time with your children doesn’t need to be a compromise and everyone can reap the benefits. And I think the below image sums up beautifully why you should involve your children in running.

So what are you waiting for? Run Gatwick here you come. And don’t forget, we’d be honoured for your family to be a part of Team Stork.

If you have any ideas on how to get your kids involved in running we’d love to hear from you.