By the end of the school year, I created a pretty good routine to make sure I was ready for my first half marathon. I would come home, change, and take Banjo with me on a short run, picking Liam up from school and walking home together. Now that we are both out of school, I pondered how to get in my runs as I begin training for my second half. When a friend asked if Liam and I would be interested in training for a 5K in the fall, it seemed like a perfect reason to introduce Liam to running. He is excited to run with his friend.
When we decided that we would begin running with the dog in the morning, Liam had many of the same fears I did when I began running. He questioned his ability, could he run far and fast enough? We set out with a goal of running one mile. I asked what a good time would be to run. His reply: “3:28 in the morning.” We agreed that a fourteen-minute mile seems a reasonable first goal. We set a few norms to keep either of us from getting frustrated or discouraged:
Liam decided the course.
We run no more than a mile.
Walk when you need to walk.
We set out, walking a block before beginning to run. Liam took off, which I knew wouldn’t last but let him play it through. After a few minutes, he was tired. I set the one-minute interval on my app that I usually use for speed training. He did fine with this, then decided to use landmarks as goals. “We can run to the main road, then walk to the next street, and run again.” It was a perfect setup! When we were close to the one-mile mark, I noticed our pace was 13:35; I decided to push a little further so we could finish at 13:30.
We walked the rest of the way home. Liam was great about celebrating what he accomplished. When he started putting himself down, I reminded him that it took months before I could run a mile. “Now you can run thirteen.”
“Yup, I can. And it took me over a year of running to be able to do that.”
I am beyond thankful that Liam is interested in running. I hope it becomes something we can enjoy together. Much like our daily walks with Banjo, I appreciate the opportunity to connect with Liam and talk about life. I only have a few summers left in which he will want to spend most of his time with me; I need to enjoy them while they’re here!