Get into a Back-to-School Running Routine

By EVA DUNN-FROEBIG

The mornings are cooler and the kids went back to school last week, which means that autumn is here.

Autumn is one of the big running seasons, with a race scheduled for pretty much every weekend in our area. I find that this time of year is also one of the best times to train and to start getting into a running routine.

Surprisingly, summer is one of the more difficult times to run for me. It’s always hot and summer vacations can throw one’s training out the window. I went on vacation for five days this summer and was only able to run once during that time.

Now that school is back in session, my son and I have a routine where he rides his bike to school and I run along side him. Riding his bike is a new development as of a few months ago, and it’s given me a new sense of freedom that I haven’t felt since the days when my now 6-year-old was in a stroller.

We enjoy talking side-by-side while he pedals and I pound the pavement. His school is a little over two miles away, so it allows me to run four to five miles in the morning. I also have the option of running back to his school in the afternoon to pick him up or, if I’m short on time, I can ride my bike to pick him up and we ride home together.

Eva and her son Milo get ready to run and bike to school.

Eva and her son Milo get ready to run and bike toschool.

I’m finding that I can fit running into my busy life if I find creative ways to sneak a run in. On occasion, when I don’t necessarily need to look nice when I’m meeting someone, I have run there. I can fit my key, credit card, and phone in my shorts pocket and can carry a notepad and pen or other items I might need for a meeting.

And I’m setting a good example for my son that I hope he will duplicate as an adult. It would be easy to hop in the car and drive him to school every morning, especially since we have to cross four busy streets to get there.

But I would be putting more miles on my car and spending a lot on gas. It can be stressful to make sure we are staying safe from traffic on our way to his school, but we are both getting exercise and he’s learning bike and pedestrian safety at a young age.

Some days I am exhausted, not so much physically from running, but mentally from making sure my son is making safe choices on his bike– and I think it could be easier to drive him to school.

But for me it’s more pleasant to travel on foot or bike than by car, where we spend time at stoplights and sitting in traffic. We also get to spend more time together, talking about school or his favorite subject, Legos.

We all have so many things to do and it’s easy to tell ourselves we don’t have time in the day to exercise. How do you fit running into your busy life? Email me at eva@runwildmissoula.org or leave your story in the comments section below.

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Eva Dunn-Froebig is the executive director of Run Wild Missoula and has been running since the seventh grade. She moved to Missoula 12 years ago from upstate New York to attend the University of Montana’s Journalism School graduate program. Eva never dreamed that she would have a running-related job and feels lucky to be a participant in Missoula’s vibrant running community.