How to Improvise a Family Weekend Workout

Last weekend I was without childcare for my morning workout routine. So instead of cancelling my run,  I enlisted the kids to come along and they far exceeded my expectations.


Even though I changed up my run format a bit, we all  managed to work up a serious sweat and it turned out to be a fun outing for all of us!!

The Setting:

 A five mile paved loop around a local lake in San Diego.

Though the initial disaster of hunting (and fighting) for parking in the lot was stressful, we ultimately landed a great spot and were quickly unloading and gearing up for our Saturday morning “mommy and me workout”.

The Gear:

A 16” bike, sans training wheels (only recently removed), a Razor Ripstik, two helmets, a pair of running shoes, and sunscreen.

My nine-year-old daughter is currently addicted to her Razor Ripstik, in fact, she loves it so much, the Ripstik has all but completely replaced her bike as her choice transportation. If you are not familiar with this sensation, the Ripstik is made by the same people who brought us the Razor scooter that was all the rage not so long ago.

The Ripstik is a trendy little board that resembles a skateboard. However, with only two wheels on casters, it requires some extra balance and coordination to maneuver and control the board. I was terrified to allow my little girl to attempt the whole five mile circumference of the lake, complete with hairpin turns around its several protruding fingers, abrupt dips, and saucy little pitches along the way.

To add to my Mommy Safety Supervisor stress level, my seven-year-old son has only been riding his bike without training wheels for two short weeks. He is my much more reticent and reserved child, careful to do things in his own time and in his own way. Riding a two-wheeler has never been a priority for him. To the contrary, even a discussion about removing training wheels proved to be a great source of anxiety in his little world. I made it my mission to get him comfortable on a “big kid bike” this summer, but he continues to be very wobbly and, at times, out of control.

Was I making the right decision? Was my desperation for a workout impairing my judgment and jeopardizing the safety of my children, though willing participants in this joint venture around the lake? What was driving my determination? I wanted to sneak in a little run and get the kids moving, as well, but at what cost?

The Outing:

We decided to run/ride the lake clockwise, in the hope of finding our bearings with the smoothest section and then easing our way into the bumpier, less forgiving cracked sections of asphalt near the finish.

It was a picture-perfect day, very few clouds in the sky, and temperatures in the mid- sixties. It was also early enough in the day that this popular weekend destination wasn’t completely hectic with other walkers, runners, or cyclists. While I had to run back and forth between kids to help expedite some of the hills and turns, they did beautifully, overall. The Ripstik was slower going than the bike, naturally, but it was a lesson in patience for everyone, mom included. I also like to think that I got in some extra mileage with all of the distance I logged back and forth juggling the kids.

The Outcome:

What began with some serious heart palpitations, turned out to be a highly enjoyable and exhilarating morning. The lake was a scenic and unique choice for us; the kids had never been before, and it was an educational opportunity. We talked about the wildlife and varied plants that make their homes around the water. We also used it as an opportunity to discuss traffic rules and how to navigate them. The conversation and time we shared ended up far outweighing my initial hope of just breaking a sweat for the day. It was truly a Momtastic morning.

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