5 Reasons to Run With Your Daughter

Daughterrun 315

Running Empowers
Running does wonders for your body … sure. But the real wonder comes in how it makes a person feel. Running is feminism at its finest. When you run, you OWN yourself, your body, your breath, your thoughts and your intention. I can make it run, leap, laugh, think and sweat. I am one with it. It’s mine. I own it. Running with your daughter provides her with the experience of body ownership.

Running Is Time Together
The TV is off. The to-do list, cellphone, homework, housework and bills are at home. For 30 minutes, you’ve got the air around you, the sunshine, your feet, your breathing, your words, your voice and your hands, should you want to hold each other’s. Running or walking together can satisfy that yearning you’ve both had to connect, love, share and just be together.

Running Is Quiet
Do this. Don’t do this. Try this, buy this. Eat this, don’t eat this. Listen to this. Don’t say that. Lose weight. Add these. Apply that to those. Take this. We are constantly hit by advertising messages that have, over the course of our growing up, replaced the “knowing and strength” of our own inner voice. Running with your daughter provides an amazing opportunity to intentionally NOT talk; to just share the space, the time and the quiet. Who knows what your inner voice might tell you? “You’re beautiful just the way you are” might actually be a phrase that makes its way back into your self-talk.

Running Is About Setting Goals
Face it, sometimes it helps to have a goal … you know, to put a little money where your mouth is. So, to provide some incentive to get out there together, pick a 5K race or walk event and put it down on the calendar. If your finances can support a road trip to a fun destination, go for it. If not, create a fun weekend around an event in your own hometown. Girls on the Run has more than 180 5Ks in cities across the U.S., and any one of these would make for an awesome girl’s weekend. Celebrate, honor and activate your power by setting a goal and going for it with each other.

Running Is About Making Memories
There are these really wonderful things called endorphins. Maybe you’ve heard of them. They visit you 20 to 30 minutes into a mild to moderate physical effort. Endorphins are small chemicals that are released in your brain during exercise. They elevate your mood and can actually heighten your memory of the experience that is creating them. When my daughter Helen was only 6, she did her first 5K with me. We walked the whole way. We were also dead last. Heck, there was just too much to look at along the course. Don’t run too fast or you’ll miss the pretty flowers, puppies and people. At the end of what I had expected to be a life-changing experience for the two of us, Helen crossed that finish line, somewhat nonchalantly, and turned to me and asked “NOW, can I have that doughnut?” Memory made.

Molly Barker is the founder of Girls on the Run and a mom to two teens.