The evening runs

My daughter is a very determined little girl, who likes to do her best at everything she does. And if she’s not naturally good at something, she will try even harder until she is good at it.

She doesn’t understand that she’s not a fast long distance runner and that it tires her out. She’s a good sprinter, so she thinks that should make her a good runner full stop. It frustrated her that she did her first Parkrun in 38 minutes, her second in 39 minutesย and that she had to abort her third after just one lap because she felt so sick.

She wanted to improve on her time, but she thought she would never manage it. There was no way she was going to give up and stop doing Parkrun just because she found it difficult.

(At this point I must say that I know adults who run regularly who run a mile in about 14 minutes. The Parkrun is three miles. So my daughter was running a mile in 13 minutes. There are many adults and kids who can’t run three miles, or even one mile, but my daughter still felt she wasn’t good enough and was determined to improve.)

While the boys were on Scout camp, Daddy decided to join us on the Parkrun. Daddy is highly competitive (the kids had to get it from somewhere) and thought he could help my daughter to improve and run faster. He had it all planned out – how he would set target lap times and let her have short fast walks etc etc). Well, it paid off. Because she ran it in 34 minutes, knocking four minutes off her personal best. But Daddy thought she could do even better.

He came up with a plan. Daily runs.

Every day, one of us would run a lap of the local park with my daughter. It’s only about three quarters of a mile, but it’s long enough for her to control her breathing and get used to that feeling of being out of breath, as well as build up her fitness and stamina.

On her first run, she did a lap of the park in 7 minutes and 49 seconds. I was pleased that she knocked five seconds off her time on her second run. On her third run, with Daddy (who she says ‘nags’ her), she got her time below seven minutes. It hovered just over seven minutes on her next three runs, all with me (she says I’m ‘kind’ to her).

Running, Daughter, 365

I’ve been trying to encourage her to run at about 4pm, before tea and with lunch properly digested. But she likes to run in the evenings. This makes it a little bit difficult with digesting food and we often end up running at about 8.30pm.

After her three seven minute runs with me, Daddy and I were struggling as we’d eaten too late and weren’t sure we would manage a run. So we decided to let her run on her own and we would just be walking round the park and keeping time.

I walked behind her for a bit and she was soon a blur in the distance. She was moving very quickly indeed and I realised I would need to turn round and get back to her finish point quickly to check the time. As I looked at her in the distance and saw her incredibly long stride and how fast she was moving, I thought she’d cracked it.

She was running fast. She wasn’t tired and out of breath, her legs didn’t ache and she didn’t feel sick.

She was doing it all on her own. Without Daddy nagging her or Mummy being kind to her.

She ran the lap of the park in 6 minutes and 15 seconds. She’d knocked 40 second of her previous best time and over a minute and a half off her initial time – not much more than a week beforehand.

The evening runs had turned my daughter into a long distance runner.

And, just to prove it had really worked, she ran Parkrun on Saturday in 32 minutes and 59 seconds. She was 4th in her category – girls aged 10 and under – and 65 people finished behind her! Not bad for a 9 year old!

Running, Daughter, Runner


Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. Oh, this is fab. Well done to her. Just shows what determination (and a bit of parental support) can do. Brilliant! We’re really excited to be getting a parkrun soon in our home town. It’s a great way to motivate the whole family.

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    • Thanks very much ๐Ÿ™‚ That’s fab, you will love it! We’ve got hooked on Parkun now. Hoping to get my boys to join us soon.

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  2. How fantastic! My children are a bit running/sport phobic which really saddens me as when i was their age it’s all I did!! The boy loves throwing a rugby ball around so I’m going to look into a rugby club – but he doesn’t have the confidence to want to go. The girl has come running with me a couple of times and I have a virtual runner medal ready for her once she decides to try again! Trying not to be a nag but I want them to love sport!

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    • I can totally understand your feelings! I would hate if my kids didn’t like sport, but luckily they all do! Rugby is a great experience if you can persuade your boy to give it a go.

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  3. Not bad?! That’s amazing!
    She really is a determine soul isn’t she? You should be really proud of her mental and physical strength of character. Xx

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    • Thanks very much! She is amazing. I don’t know anyone as determined as her. My husband says she’s a ‘force of nature’ and I think he’s right ๐Ÿ™‚ x

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  4. Wow Sarah, that’s amazing! That determined nature will get her far. x

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    • Thanks very much! Tell me about it – she has such a positive attitude towards everything she does ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • Thanks very much! She is brilliant and we all love running, so it’s perfect for us!

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  5. Well done to her. Running long distance is hard to improve. It sounds like she had the incentive and commitment to really go for it this summer and it’s really paid off!

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    • Thanks very much! I knew she could do it, she just needed the determination.

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  6. Wow, that’s impressive and just shows you how important the mind is as much as our bodies in meeting challenges.

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    • Thanks very much. Definitely! She was afraid of feeling out of breath and just had to get used to that feeling and know that she would recover quickly, then she could push herself a bit harder.

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  7. Wow Sarah that is amazing. What a determined young lady she is, and to be only 9 and achieving those times is incredible. I keep meaning to get the husband and son involved in the park runs as I am sure they would love them #countrykids

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    • Thanks very much! She doesn’t believe her times are good, just because she’s not as good as her best friend, but her best friend is incredible! I’m sure your husband and son would love Parkrun. It is very addictive!

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  8. That is amazing, well done her! She is obviously inspired by you which is amazing and the running will really help her fitness. The boys wanted to do a park run this summer but we never seemed to find the time and now we are back on football and rugby so maybe next summer.

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    • Oh yes, the break from football and rugby isn’t long! Thanks very much. It’s great that she’s got running to keep her fitness up while she’s not dancing over the holidays.

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  9. Well done your girl and you and your husband for taking her out and building her stamina up. Very impressed and there’s some good ideas for those thinking up taking up running too.
    Thanks for linking up with #SSAmazingAchievements

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    • Thanks very much! Building up stamina and getting used to the feeling of being out of breath were definitely the key for her. She’s proved how easy it is to do well with a bit of determination!

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  10. Brilliant! I’ve started doing a bit of running with my eldest, but it’s been too hot over the last month or so! We’ll get back into it once the kids are back at school, he wants to improve his overall fitness levels to help with his swimming stamina. To be encouraged! Your daughter is a very determined young woman ๐Ÿ™‚ #countrykids

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  1. Small Steps Amazing Achievements #SSAmazingAchievements » AutismMumma - […] was really impressed with @sarahmo3w ‘s daughter’s training and Park Run finishing […]

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