4 Ways to Incorporate Your Family in Your Cross Training
Running is primarily a solitary sport. Whether you’re training for a 5K, a marathon, or simply in maintenance/injury prevention mode, you undoubtedly have a routine centered around you. For many, this is a perfectly fine set up, but for those with spouses and kids it can feel like you’re isolating yourself in your training.
Your family may not love to run like you do, but there are plenty of fun ways to include them in your cross training (you are cross training, right?!), allowing you to stay fit and injury free while having quality family time!
Here are 4 ways to incorporate your family in your cross training.
Take a Class
Group fitness classes are awesome for a few reasons. There is a different energy when you’re in a room of people working hard towards the same goal, whether it’s strength training, yoga, or kickboxing, you’ll challenge yourself just a bit more when you aren’t alone! You also have the luxury of letting someone else take charge. Instead of figuring out how many reps to do, what weight to use, or what exercise to do next, all you have to do is follow the lead of a certified pro!
Lastly, classes have a start and end time, making it easy to put on your calendar. Taking a class with your family is the perfect way to bond with them while not being the one telling them what to do. It gives you all a set weekly time to spend together, and each can challenge themselves at their own level.
Another way to use classes as a family cross training experience, is to lean something new by signing up for lessons. Learn the skills of a new sport like tennis, or go out of the box and take a salsa class! You’ll get your heart rate up, work different muscle groups than those you use to run, and you’ll have a fun getting out of your comfort zones together!
Create a Challenge
Get creative with this one! You could create an obstacle course in the back yard (or house if you have some room!) and compete for time solo or on teams if you have a big family. Circuit training is another option. Set up stations – you don’t need equipment, bodyweight exercises like pushups, burpees, squats, and lunges are perfect – and challenge each other for time or how many reps of each exercise. Make it a weeklong challenge where you see who can do the most pushups, burpees, situps, etc. over the course of the week (or go for time). Play an active game like tag, wheel barrow relay, or card draw (assign an exercise for each suit and draw; spades could be jumping jacks so a 10 of spades means everyone does 10 jumping jacks). Make an obstacle course out of playground equipment and even get your kids’ friends involved!
Have a Destination
Make cross training the side effect of a fun day. Take a bike ride to a local hot spot or end with a picnic, walk the long route to the park and include sections of long jumps, side shuffles and squat jumps as you go, or go on a hike! Having a fun activity to do when you arrive is a reward for your cross training AND family time. In all honesty, bike rides with my husband often end with ice cream, but at least we’re doing something active before indulging in a double scoop of butter pecan!
If you’re like me, you have a show – or shows – you religiously watch at home with the fam. This is bonding time in its own right, so instead of cutting off the tube, incorporate cross training time into it. Decide on a theme for that show and do corresponding exercises during each commercial break – or if you DVR or watch via Netflix, pick a trigger like voting discussions in challenge shows or fight scenes in an action series. For example, if the theme is legs, you can do squats during the first commercial, a wall sit during the next and alternating lunges during another. Here is a core themed workout to try out:
While you’ll have cross training workouts you prefer to do on your own, incorporating at least one family centered session a week makes a big difference in the eyes of not only your family, but how you view training. It keeps it fun, and puts your race goals in perspective when you get caught up in split times and mileage. Getting your family to workout with you is great for them physically, and helps them understand what “training” means to you and how hard you work for your running goals. Have fun!