Running With Your Kids

When To Start, How To Start, And What To Expect

Running With Your Kids


I've always been a bit of a runner. Well, since adulthood, anyway. As a child I didn't participate in any track and field or running-heavy sports, so running came later in life as a fitness-oriented activity. I've run varying amounts for 15 years and I really enjoy it.

Once in a while a client expresses her frustration with never having been able to find joy in running. To which I say, "Then don't run." Running is not necessary for fitness. It's a great skill and a cheap, healthy hobby. It's not for everyone.

If you like to run, you want to share your passion for running with your children. My daughter, Sweaty Kid #1, turned 6 this spring. For a couple of years she's been expressing interest in joining me on runs and I've started to test her out, asking her if she wants to start running with me soon. She is proud of her running and knows she is fast and fit. Naturally, she wants to pursue what she is good at. 

Last weekend, we at YMC ran a lovely 5K in midtown Toronto with RBC in support of Sunnybrook Foundation's Family Navigation Project. I was joined by a couple of the Belly Bootcamp mommies (and little ones), and by Sweaty Hubby and both Sweaty Kids, 6 and almost 4 years old. We ran and walked in the pouring rain and had one of the best family outings we've had so far this year!

Sweaty Hubby pulled up the rear with our littlest, who — at not quite 4 years old — is running short spurts as little children do. My eldest and I ran ahead, taking walk breaks as needed. I am proud to say Sweaty Kid #1 ran almost 2.5 km with just short walk breaks and tons of confidence and gusto. People turned their heads to see a child so small racing through the crowd. Maybe some thought I was forcing her. Probably most just admired her energy. 

That was all the proof I needed. She is ready to run. And, more importantly, she wants to run.

Here are my tips for spreading the running bug to your littles, without the drill sergeant attitude that creates a stigma of punishment instead of shared hobby. 

  • Run! Let your child see you take time out for running, however frequently that might be. Tell your child you are running, and express running as a hobby. DO NOT explain running in terms of weight loss or appearance. DO explain running in terms of fun and healthfulness. 
  • Run when your child runs. OK, sometimes you have an Americano in your hand...I get it. But if you are on your way to the park and your little one breaks into a full-on sprint to get to the swings, follow her! Begin running in sync with your child. Have a foot race at the park. Set up an obstacle course when the playground is quiet and your little one wants you as a playmate. Bond over running.
  • Compliment your child's running. Little kids are praise monsters. Running is one of the earliest physical sports skills they master and — guess what? — they do it better than most adults and they are PROUD of running. They want to be fast. They want to be the fastest. Encourage. 

Now here is the most important part of pulling the whole starting-to-run thing together and managing your expectations:

  • Expect only to run/walk. Here's something you need to know about small kids when you are coaching/teaching/training them in pursuits of a physical nature: kids are wired to exercise in intervals. When they have energy, they run, skip, spin, jump, etc. When they feel tired or bored of said running/skipping/spinning/jumping they rest by doing something less exhausting. Expecting your young children to run more than they feel up to will create negative feelings around running. Tell her to stop when she needs to stop, and stop with her. Ask her to squeeze your hand or clap her hands (something fun) when she is ready to go.

It's okay to challenge your little one to improve her skills. Coming up to a hill? Ask her if she wants to race you to the top! Scared of declines? Hold hands and lightly jog together. Gradually, her endurance and skill will improve. 

Don't expect to get the same level of workout or cover the same miles you would without an ankle biter by your side. When your little one can't run anymore, walk another kilometre or two together. Or, throw her on your back and burn extra calories trekking around with your very own 50 pound weight vest hugging you tight. 

Sounds like the best workout ever, to me. 



How Many Calories Are In My Halloween Candy?

A moment on the lips, an hour on the treadmill

How Many Calories Are In My Halloween Candy?


If this doesn’t scare you, nothing will. In fact, if this doesn’t make you squeamish, you should probably consider approaching Quentin Tarantino for an assistant’s position.

Here are the calorie counts for the most popular Hallowe’en candies. Remember, this is per piece. 

1 treat size (fun size)

Milky Way - calories: 76, sugar: 10.9 g

Butterfinger - calories: 100, sugar: 10 g

M&Ms - calories: 90, sugar: 11.5 g

Peanut M&Ms - calories: 93, sugar: 9.1 g

Nestle Crunch - calories: 51, sugar: 5.6 g

Kit Kat - calories: 73, sugar: 6.7 g

Skittles - calories: 80, sugar: 15 g

Hershey’s Bar - calories: 66, sugar: 7.7 g

Snickers - calories: 72, sugar: 7 g

Mike & Ike - calories: 50, sugar: 9 g

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups - calories: 80, sugar: 7 g

Source: FitSugar, 2010.
Now, calories we sort of understand these days but how bad could 7, 8, or 11 teensy grams of sugar be?
4 g sugar = 1 teaspoon sugar. OK, just to drive it home because I can be a bit of a pushy bitch sometimes, you are consuming 2-3 teaspoons of sugar per piece of Halloween candy. Eat 10 pieces in front of the TV and you've stuffed your face — and poisoned your body — with 20-30 teaspoons (we like to call that about 1/3 cup, by the way, which is an easier and more revolting way to picture it). Now think back… how many pieces did you eat last Hallow’en? How about the days before and after Hallowe’en?
Now imagine this (other from the liver damage). How many minutes, roughly, would you have to exercise to burn off those itsy bitsy, teeny, harmless little treats?…

1 Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup (80 cals) (this is hubby’s favourite… or one of his favourites…)

Walking 4.0 mph – 14 minutes

Hatha Yoga – 30 minutes

Belly Dancing – 15 minutes

Bootcamp – 10 minutes

(based on a 150-lb woman; if you weigh less, you burn fewer calories, and if you weigh more, you burn more calories)
Not quite so yummy-looking anymore, are they?
Check out this Hallowe’en Hangover guide… just in case you didn’t read this in time.
Happy Hallowe’en!
Photo credit: Steveydphoto,

Check out more scary secrets for making this Halloween terrific-ly terrifying.