Now, at age four and a half (he turns five June 28 this year), he can run two miles at a 13-minute pace, which is what we did yesterday, along with my husband who pushed our 11-month-old son in the jogging stroller. Can I say PROUD? Yep, I am one proud mama!
Here are five things Avie has taught me about running.
Avie walks when he feels like walking, sprints, slows to a jog and still finishes in an impressive time for a tiny tot. The point is, runners need to do what the body feels is right. If the legs need a walk break, walk (psst... walk breaks do not strip you of the title 'runner.')
2. Taking yoga breaks is acceptable.
"Mom, I need to do a pose," Avie often tells me on our runs. "Down dog!" or "Plank!" he announces, then busts his selected move. Does something feel tight, or do you feel like strengthening mid-run with push-ups? Then do it!
3.Sipping water frequently prevents dehydration and fatigue.
Avie learned this the hard way. When he first began running, he refused water. Then his energy would plummet, tears flew and the run was no longer fun. He was, after all, only three years old. As time passed, he began asking for his water bottle often and taking tiny sips. Ahhh, the wisdom of a seasoned runner... Now he knows that sipping keeps the belly feeling good and the energy levels steady.
4. Running downhill with wild abandon is the way to go.
Does anyone else fear running at top speed downhill? I do, or I did, especially on technical single track trail, my (and Avie's) terrain of choice. Avie rejoices when we approach a descent and, heart pulling him forward, smile wide, he runs as fast as he can, giggling the whole way. So I follow suit. And I never, never tell him to slow down. Instead, I cheer and join in the fun. Now, on my solo runs, I channel Avie's approach and let my heart lead me down, down, down!
5. New shoes motivate you to get out the door.
Buying special running shoes for my toddler son might seem crazy, but, as all runners know, new shoes can motivate like nothing else. The same is true for Avie. I make a big deal out of giving him his new running shoes, and he cherishes them. Plus, saying something such as, "Let's put on your new shoes and go for a run," really gets him moving.