How We Got A 3 Year Old to Complete a 2k.

As I have mentioned in a previous blog post weeks ago, in the summer, the family enjoys taking part in a local Tuesday night run called the Reith Runs.  It is held at 6:30PM at the Reith Interpretive Center in Goshen, IN. The course is run on a crushes limestone trail along the canal as well as sections of wooded trails.  

The run offers 3 distances: a 2k, 3k, and 5k. All ages are welcomed to take part.  All of last summer, either my wife Tina or myself, pushed Derek in the jogging stroller while Chloe and Emma ran the 2k. The 2k course does not have any wooded trails so it’s a good course for pushing a stroller.  At times Derek wanted to get out of the stroller and run and then get back in and rest before doing it again. 

We started doing the same thing this summer until Derek, early last week, mentioned that he wanted to run with Brayden.  Brayden is my coaches son and is only a few months older than Derek. Brayden had completed a few Reith Runs already this summer.

Well, happy to say, Derek completed the whole 2k by himself. No stroller was used and no carrying.  So how did we pull this off?  There were a couple of things.  

1. We didn’t even bring the jogging stroller.  Usually it is in the trunk, but we took it out and left it at home.  Not even letting him have that option.  Out of sight, out of mind. Obviously, if he threw a fit and wanted to turn around early, we would have done it. But the goal was to finish without it.2. Let him walk.  Ok, so most of it was walking. The key was to finish.  When he wanted to walk, we let him walk.  After a little bit we did encourage him to run but by no means did we push him. 

3. We Brought Water along.  It was a warmer evening so we did take water along for him to drink. If we would have let him, he would have taken a drink every 10 feet.  Which brings me to number 4…

4. Gave him a goal of where to go before getting a drink. For a 3 year old, a time goal does not work.  They don’t understand time too well (ever tried putting a 3 year old In time out for 3 minutes?). We set up physical goals such as running 5 telephone poles or to a bridge on the course.  Something he can see. 

Basically what it comes down to is that we made it fun for him with no pressure.  He completed it in 27:57 (like I said, mostly walking) but man was he proud of his 5th place age group ribbon.  How will his second 2k run go? We will find out tonight.  


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