2020, the year of the pandemic. Stopped, postponed, cancelled, changed and waiting to hear what the way ahead is. Running parents have been home with their children for more time than any other time in their lives. Home-schooling, job loss, working from home, multi-tasking, stressed about money, job security, fear and anxiety about COVID-19 and struggling to unplug children from video games with few other options or activities.
If 2020 were a marathon, it would be one you started, had a herd of feathered hippos run through at the 10k mark and you then find yourself on a hamster wheel—all by yourself—with no end in sight and no idea what is going on, with no medal or water station, banana or shirt.
It got weird fast.
Runners with kids have normally looked to their love of lacing up to help them relieve stress, keep them happy and give themselves something to look forward to during hard times. Running has personally accompanied me through 33-years of my life and helped me navigate a few dips and dark valleys in my life.
Running to stay in shape, to feel good or to train for a marathon, race, or goal, in the gym or outside has been something runners have in their lives to help balance things. People may not consciously realize that their sport plays such a positive or important role in their lives, but it often does. Running often does not solve problems, but it can help in difficult times.
- Keep running – its like life, you need to keep moving forward
- Find the joy in running – that at the heart of it is why you do it
- Be grateful for every time you can do it
- Every run is a chance to get out of the house
- Runs are stress relief, a chance to think and relax
- Find the fun in your runs, explore and try something new
For many reasons running has become difficult in 2020. But it has also been difficult for the kids in runners’ lives. Sometimes children do not talk as much about their fears or anxieties, but they are often there. Young people can pick up on the stress of their parents, the mood and it can affect their mental health. Remember your kids have had their schedules disrupted, not seen their friends either and are also trying to figure out what is going on.
To get to the point where you have the right frame of mind, are calm and positive, to be able to be kind – you need to run. What? Why?
To be a good parent, to be there for your children you need to take care of yourself and be healthy, happy and positive. Running helps you. Putting in your shoes to get outside lets you think, breathe, get rid of the stress of the day, and make the best decisions for you and your family. The gel or air or new lacing system in the shoes will not help you figure out whether to keep your kids at home or send them into whatever schooling scenario your province or city has come up with – but it will help clear your mind. A clear mind makes better decisions. Runs will help you make it through every day.
Running will also show your kids how you deal in a healthy manner with stress and an uncertain world. You are their role model, their guide and an example for how they should act, talk and behave.
You runs will not solve your problems but they will make you a calmer parent and teacher and help you navigate life. The feathered hippos have left the course, the hamster wheel seems to have slowed, but, as move into September, the weird run of 2020 is not over, but we are all in this together. Keep running.