To me, one of the best parts of summer is the opportunity to be active outside. In particular, I challenge myself to do a few what I call “tri” days: run, bike, and swim on the same day.
Saturday, I pulled that off! (And if we look at a 24 hour period, rather than a calendar day, my husband and 12-year-old did too!)
I got up and ran with Jane, who graciously agreed to run slowly. We did a touch over 5 miles. It was a beautiful morning for running, about 60 degrees, and I caught whiffs of honeysuckle along the trail.
Then, after lunch (and after a “train with dad” morning at karate) my husband loaded all our bikes onto our two cars. Since this was our first bike ride of the season, we had to evaluate everyone’s capabilities. The 7-year-old had learned to ride without training wheels last summer, but had been very cautious about it. She got some individual practice this spring, and so we decided she could bike independently on the Schuylkill River Trail. That left the question of what to do with the 4-year-old, since he’d also learned to ride without training wheels this spring. We decided that he might be a bit erratic on his own bike, so we put him on the tag-along behind me.
The ramifications: No Burley! Every kid is old enough to pedal. He loved being up on the bike behind me, and occasionally pedaled so furiously that I had to watch my balance. But he had no trouble staying on. Indeed, our only real close call is that one of my (independently riding) older sons decided to pass the other just as a pack of spandex-clad speed bikers were coming the other way. Fortunately, the bikers hit their brakes and we had a discussion about…not doing that.
My husband biked with our daughter, who was going at a very deliberate pace, but I think she’ll figure out that she can go faster soon. She was so happy about biking that she asked when we could do it again. This is great, as it’s a fun family activity (even if getting 5 bikes plus a tag-along loaded onto the cars is not a swift event).
We came home and went in the pool. It was a little chilly (weather that’s good for running and biking isn’t always great for swimming) but it was fine for a bit.
As for my husband and 12-year-old’s “tri” days, they’ve been going to the gym together to run on the treadmills and lift weights. Another plus for the YMCA: it’s incredibly family friendly. Kids over 10 can go work out with their parents in the regular facilities, and my 12-year-old has been quite proud of his increasing strength!
Now on to Vacation Bible School for three of the four kids this week…
10 thoughts on “Weekend: The first ‘tri’ day of summer”
Fun! My 7 year old and I went on a greenway ride last weekend and it was awesome! She’s going a very reasonable pace and made it 5 miles. Her younger sister is desperate to get rid of the training wheels but isn’t there yet. Definitely looking forward to family bike rides!
@BethC- I think our bike rack (Thune), the Burley and the tag-along have been among our best investments in family fun. If your little one is able to stay upright on a bike with training wheels, she might be able to do a tag-along sitting behind an adult and then she’d be able to participate in the family bike ride more fully!
My 7 year old learned how to ride a bike without training wheels about a month ago. When we recently went on vacation to Vancouver, she was able to bike around Stanley Park on a regular bike with us, and we all had a BLAST. I’m considering dusting off my old Cannondale and getting my husband a bike so we can do it again as a fun weekend activity now that we’re back in Philly. I’m a little afraid of the Schuylkill path with her because of all the pedestrians and other bikers, though. The path seems packed most times during the summer. I know you guys go to Valley Forge too. Have you tried Forbidden Drive? Are there other locations in the Philly area without a lot of cars that you guys go?
@omdg – Stanley park is amazing for biking. Such a fun thing to do in Vancouver. Yes, the SRT is pretty packed on nice summer weekends but we were mostly fine. If she knows to stay to the right that should be good – we didn’t encounter many walkers/runners — pretty much everyone was on bikes, and since they were all faster than us we didn’t have to do much in the way of passing.
We often go to the Valley Forge parking lot across the river from the main VF area – Trooper road by Oaks. We’ve also done Conshohocken on the SRT (you can park in the SEPTA lot on weekends I believe). We haven’t really biked on Forbidden Drive, more just walked around there.
If you’re looking for a longer day trip, we’ve gone up to the Jim Thorpe area and done the Lehigh Gorge Bike Trail, which tends to be not so crowded most days.
A “Tri-Day” is a great idea! Since I don’t have a bike, I have challenged myself to do “Swim/Run/Swim” workouts. I’ll swim 1,000 yards followed by a 5K followed by a 500 – 750 yard swim. It’s a great workout and I always feel invigorated afterwards! I try to do one these every couple of weeks just to see if I can improve my time, especially on the 2nd swim when my legs are not as fresh. It’s also refreshing to jump back in the pool after that run, especially in the Middle TN summer humidity!
I enjoy swimming laps in the pool with the kids. My 11-year-old son loves it because he can now brag that he is faster than Dad!!
@Royce – a swim/run/swim workout sounds nice! A good way to cool down. Though if you’re interested in biking you might be able to get a reasonably priced one at a garage sale or on Craigslist – it’s the kind of thing people are sometimes offloading…
I also really recommend the YMCA for families! Ours has specific “family boot camp” classes and I’ve also found that most instructors are flexible about allowing a parent to bring an older child to some classes. I am really enjoying checking my little ones into the child care there and doing a workout class with one of my older girls.
@Kaethe- that sounds great! It gives you the chance to spend some time with the big kids, and get a workout in too.
Our family bike rides look very different right now – I ride an electric cargo bike with both kids on the back (2 y.o and almost 5 y.o), and my husband rides with us. We use it more as a method of commuting, both kids still enjoy the rides but it’s much more passive for them!
Some of my fondest childhood memories are of family bike rides so I hope I get to do the same with my own children once they’re both old enough. My son can ride a bike without training wheels now but he’s still mostly only comfortable on flat ground – hopefully soon he will be able to ride his own bike when we head out on adventures!
I love this idea! My almost 4 year old sports training wheels, but I’m thinking we could do a short ride. I may want to invest in a seat for my almost 2 year old. The swim and run are an easy sell for the husband and kids. What a clever idea for summer fun!