4 Genius Ways To Get Your Family Running These Holidays

Only runner in the family? Not this year, after a holiday ra

Jeff Galloway |

There’s good reason to run while you’re on a family holiday: nothing fires up the appetite quite like a morning run, and starting the day with a dose of sweat helps you feel a little bit better about post-run indulgences. (Plus, a rush of endorphins can help deter any family drama!) But if your family isn’t full of runners, it can be a schlep to head out on your own.

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That’s why, this year, I suggest everyone pins on a race number. You can start the day together, and crossing the finish line as a fam will strengthen your bond. Not sure how to convince them to lace up? Try these tricks.

1. Give Notice

When you’re five to eight weeks from race day, plant the idea. Say something like, “Hey, I’m going to do the [insert name of race] Fun Run on the first Saturday of our holiday. It’d be awesome if you came too.” That lets relatives know you don’t con­sider this to be ‘me’ time, but it doesn’t put a ton of pressure on them if they’re really not comfortable. Be sure to check the race website to see if it’s walker-friendly (if it’s a 5-K and the cut-off time is an hour or longer, it probably is). That may be all you need to get them to join you.

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2. Offer Your Expertise

If you’re relatively new to running, you’re uniquely positioned to give advice to other newbies – after all, your first kays are probably still fresh in your mind. Share things you wish you’d known when you started. Promise to stop and take selfies. (It’s a guilt-free break, during a casual holiday 5-K.) And pass along a plan to practise, like this one: walk or run/walk for 20 to 30 minutes twice during the week; then do a longer, slower outing each weekend. Begin with 2 or 3km; add 1km each week until you’ve reached 6km the weekend prior to the race.

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3. Share The Load

It’s true: the time you spend running that morning is time you won’t be contributing to prepping for an indulgent holiday feast – did anyone say ‘braai’? So if you want everyone on board, help as much as you can with shopping or other preparations the day before. On the day, if someone has to stay behind, then volunteer to set the table when you get back, or promise to pack away (or, um, eat) leftovers, or offer to do the dishes. Then everyone’s done their fair share of not-such-fun stuff, regardless of how many kilometres they’ve logged.

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4. Make It Fun

Fun runs are meant to be no-pressure events, so don’t worry about crushing a PB. If it’s a themed race, challenge the family to dress up in their finest fancy dress, and stick with the first-timers so someone’s there to motivate them. If they want you to go ahead, park off at the finish line and high-five the crew as they run in. And don’t forget to host post-race awards: e.g. the one with the best costume doesn’t wash up, or – better yet – gets to choose what to watch when you’re all dozing in front of the TV after you’ve eaten.

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