Juggling life, work and training can be an ever evolving balancing act for the best of us, but adding a family into the mix really takes things to the next level. This Father’s Day, we're celebrating the dads who run by asking five of the dads in our Tribe to share their inspirational and uplifting running adventures with us. Here's what they had to say.
‘Running is a form of meditation. It allows me to clear my mind, reduces anxiety, gives me the sense that I am in control and helps me to sleep. When I run, it gives me time to process thoughts that often just go round and round in my head. By the time I get back from a long run, these thoughts have been filed. No longer do I get into bed and have difficulties switching off.’
‘Running has massive mental health benefits and is the main reason why I run. Back in 2019, I had a mental breakdown due to complex PTSD resulting in a 12 week hospital stay. During my time in hospital I was unable to do much and felt like I was bouncing off the walls. When I was released, I made the decision to set a challenge and run an ultra marathon.’
‘Running around parenting commitments has presented its fair share of challenges. However, I do not let these hold me back. I now run when they are all at school or late at night when they are all in bed and my wife is home. Weekends are normally rest periods.’
‘Having three children during a period where I was extremely unwell mentally was really hard. I now want to improve my mental health as much as possible to prevent myself from ever being in this place again. Running has been life changing and gives me the chance to make my children proud of what I can achieve.’
Top tip: Believe in yourself. Honestly the first run you do will always be the worst. You will be amazed just how quickly you improve your fitness and most of all the mental health benefits are massive.
‘As cliché as it sounds, I run because I absolutely love it. For me, it's the best way to keep in shape and improve my fitness levels. I like the camaraderie within the running community and have met some really great people along the way. I also enjoy running races and picking up the medals at the end because for me personally, each medal I earn represents a step further away from my old lifestyle.’
‘My main reason for running was to lay a foundation for a healthier future. I wanted to be able to keep up with my kids and chase them around. That is still the case, however now that I’m reaping the fitness benefits, I’m starting to look towards a few personal goals. I’ve entered a couple of ultra marathons and just want to prove to myself that I can do it.’
‘With kids, you have to be smart with when you go out. In the pre Covid days I used to go out and get my long run done at 5.30am before work, so that when I get back I can dedicate my time to my family. I’ve been working from home the past year, so I’ve been able to get out for a run on my lunch break. I’m also extremely fortunate that my wife Sophie is very supportive of my running. You just need to find a balance that works for everyone.’
‘I’ve got a running buggy so used to take my daughter out with me for a run. I’ve run races whilst pushing her. I take my son in it now and I’m hoping to run a couple of races with him this year. My wife and children always come with me to my races and cheer me on. You can’t beat that feeling of seeing your family at the finish line.’
Top tip: Start small and keep chipping away at it. It does get easier and you’ll be surprised at how far your legs can actually take you. Don’t be a thinker, be a do-er, just get out there and get it done.
‘Show up, even when you don’t want to – you will be amazed at what you can achieve when you overcome thoughts that would otherwise hold you back.’
‘I run for a few reasons, mainly my mental health. It seems to be often mentioned alongside running and for good reason – you can put the world to right while out on the trails ticking off the miles. Being a parent can bring with it some loss of identity as you go all in to provide and ensure your kids have all the love and things they need, running gives me that something that allows me to clear the fog and just be. I’m not anybody when I’m running – I’m just me.’
‘My whole mindset changed after having kids, I never understood my parents when they expressed that you can never love something as much as you love your kids. I get it now; those feelings are what gets me through at mile 40 when I want to give in because it hurts. What would hurt more is telling my kids I gave up – knowing full well they are routing for me. They would never judge me if I did give up, but we really want their attitude to be a can do one. So, on that basis they have really shifted my mindset, I am no way the fastest or the fittest – I am proud to have been the last one over a few finish lines, but I made it there when I could have easily thrown in the towel.’
‘Running makes me a better version of me, not only for myself but for those around me. I want to achieve crazy things and show my kids that anything is possible, just try. It’s a way of achieving something as well, it's a constant positive cycle.’
‘I am lucky as I have such a supportive partner and we allow for each other to do the training as much as we can. It's been a lot of early morning starts, running late after work or after my partner finishes at the gym. If you really enjoy something and really want to do it – you will find a way. Even if it means a 4am alarm after a sleepless night with kids! It doesn’t always go to plan and if I miss a run here or there – it's not the end of the world.’
Top tip: There is no day like today, take the first step and see where it takes you. You will be amazed at how big and varied the running community is and how many others there are just like you.
‘Running for me is the best way to squeeze big adventures into small spaces. What would take hours now takes, well, less hours! I get to see amazing places more frequently, and of course, I feel better for it. I've not always been the healthiest person, but now that I have kids I think it's important to set a good example. I also want to feel more capable for longer, so I can keep up with the two of them!’
'Time can be a bit of a luxury with kids, so being able to move faster means I can do bigger adventures in shorter times. Once they're both down I tend to set off into the hills. It's a good way to wind down the day, find a bit of ‘me’ time, and know that the wife isn't been given the run around by the two of them, although they do sometimes wake up and put her to the test whilst I'm out!'
'George, my eldest at 2 years old, is super active and likes it when I challenge him to a run in the garden, I have no doubts he will join me on a few runs in the not too distant future, and also his brother once he's caught up a bit!'
Top Tip: Plan. Talking with your family and setting time aside, maybe on a regular basis, is important. That way other commitments and tasks can be dealt with ahead of time.
'Running is all about consistency. Fall in love with the process and the results will come. I started my running journey for fitness and weight loss after turning 50, by following a Couch to 5k plan and managed to succeed on both counts. I got hooked!'
'Running for me was an easy choice of exercise as my wife has been running for many years. Having a large family and being a father to 4 amazing kids of various ages, I tend to get my training runs in early, 5am alarm then out for 6am which frees me up for family commitments.'
Top Tip: Don’t worry about pace, times and distance, that will come with consistency. Remember it’s progress not perfection !