Maybe you take Father’s Day off with the kids. Maybe you indulge yourself in a long run. It’s a great time to check in on how you are balancing such things for the rest of the year.
There’s no doubt that running can make you a better father. There are the benefits to your health and your mood, not to mention your physique. That’s going to make you more likely to become a Dad in the first place and to be able to deal with it when you are one.
I agree with personal trainer and blogger Eliot Hulse. He says it’s all about being able to bring the best version of yourself to the family table every day.
I don’t advocate forcing your kids to get into running. But if they should see you enjoying your sport. And they should be offered lots of opportunities to find something active that they love.
However, running can take a lot of investment in time, focused attention and even money. If you are not careful, this can come at the expense of your family. This is particularly so if your running is causing arguments with your partner. It can be particularly acute when your children are very young. During those years they are unable to participate in what you are doing.
So what's really motivating you? Are you running towards something, away from things, or for the sheer joy of it?
Here’s some questions you might want to ask yourself.
1. Do you spend long periods of time unable to run and play with your kids because of running injuries or the fear of them?
2. Are you training and competing in a way that ensures you will be able to keep up with your kids for years to come? i.e do you injure yourself a lot?
3. Has your partner or children ever said they want you to run less? How did you deal with that?
4. When you daydream, do you think about achieving things alone, or with your family?
5. Do you claim even more time running from your family if your partner does something on their own, or do you have a joint plan of time management?
Many runners choose to tune their running while the kids are young to allow for more family time. This will put you in the best position to stretch your legs once your little ones have left the nest. Put your head down into your running too much, and you will miss these years. No amount of PBs and medals is going to make up for that.
A good coach should be able to provide you with a balanced plan that fulfils your running goals. But it should also allow you to fulfil the potential in your family.
By all means get some time for yourself to run. Dads need it. But for Fathers, lifelong wellbeing is not found in the loneliness of the long distance runner.