Speed work. How do you get that in when a track isn't readily available near you? Yes, of course we could drive somewhere about 30+ minutes away, but I'll be honest, well at least I don't want to. Not to mention with 4 kids and a very very busy schedule for all of us, we had to figure a way to get some sort of resemblance of speed work in while the kids were in tow. This is how "Let's Race!" came about.
The concept is so simple and I am sure many people do it. As with all the tips, planning the course is a must. Where we are going to run, the number of stoplights, the distance between those stoplights - are all vital parts of getting anything close to what we can call speed work.
We live and run in suburbia so stoplights are a fact of life. Some streets have more than others which can be helpful with the youngest child. Once we have the street planned, we pack up the youngest and the rest of us lace up the running shoes and head out for a warm up. When we are approximately 100m (sometimes more) from a stoplight one of us says, "ready, set, GO!" Off we go at a fast speed but not full on sprint. Basically we are racing to the cross-walk button. Once there, the 30 seconds to 1 min wait time is the recovery and once we get the green light the next cycle begins again.
The end result? Enough pick ups to help us feel like we got a little speed work in, heck, with the older children some of those "race to the light" dashes are at sub 7 minute pace! We'll take it. The children have a blast racing us or each other. I'll be honest, we throw the races at times. It puts a smile on their faces and they enjoy "teasing" us a bit feeling that they are faster than mom and/or dad. Pretty soon they will be. It's a definite win win. Everyone gets outside. Those who need it get some sort of speed work. Best of all we are together as a family.
Give it a try, snap a pic. Tag us! We would love to see the blur of family feet as they race to the stoplights!