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An 80 km Run Challenge to Spice up our Healthy Lifestyle

Updated: Dec 25, 2023

We ran 80 kilometers for the Canadian Cancer Society in April 2023. My favorite way to spice up my healthy lifestyle is by adding fun challenges and races throughout the year. I decided to do this 80 kilometers challenge this year, and my four children joined me. I knew the youngest two couldn't run 10km in one go, so I had to change my schedule to accommodate them. In this article, we'd like to show you how we prepared for the run and the benefits we gained from participating in the challenge with the Canadian Cancer Society.


Preparing For Our Healthy Lifestyle Challenge

As a homeschooling mom of four, everything we do is a possible learning experience. At the time of that challenge, my children were 2, 7, 9 and 14. My goal was to plan the month so the younger ones could participate without feeling overwhelmed and the older ones could have fun.

Planning our healthy lifestyle 80km challenge

To complete the challenge, we sat down before the first of April and calculated how many kilometers we would need to complete each day. As the month had 30 days, we needed to run 2.7 km daily. Due to our plans and activities, we also subtracted a few days we knew we couldn't complete. We planned on finishing earlier to leave ourselves enough time in case something went wrong. As a result, we used 20 days instead of 30. In total, we had to complete 4km on 20 different days.


After the older children calculated this, we wrote down the days we planned to run our 4km on a calendar. It was important to us that our last day was not on the 30th, so if we missed a day due to weather, sickness, or other issues, we would still be able to finish. The children were excited to see those days on the calendar, and it helped everyone stay organized and know when we were going for a run and when we had activities to attend.


With the calendar in hand, we had to plan a route that would be easy for them to follow. With an app that helped me count the kilometers, we found a few roads that were 4km long. We chose routes with playgrounds so the younger ones could stop and play as a treat for finishing their day.


Having fun and challenging ourselves is an integral part of our healthy lifestyle. Imagine the excitement of the children as they ran towards the park. Our goal was to make it fun and include everyone. Due to this, I could not just run 5km quickly before our day began in the morning like I used to. Although I knew it would take time and we would need to adjust as we went, I was proud that my children wanted to be involved.


In addition, having a very young child also had its challenges, she liked running most of the time, but she got tired faster, and some days she didn't want to run the whole way. Since she really wanted to be a part of this challenge, we decided to include some walking. It would take longer, but she would also learn a lot during that challenge.


During the week leading up to the challenge, we took one walk in the morning and one in the afternoon to help them get used to walking long distances. To keep everyone hydrated, we also packed water bottles, including healthy snacks, and found a suitable bag to bring with us.


The Beginning Of Our Healthy Lifestyle Challenge| Running 80km

80 km path| our healthy lifestyle challenge

The first day was a Saturday, and we hoped to start that day. Although we didn't plan that Saturday as a challenge day, we still managed to get some kilometers in. This half-run was very exciting for the children. We decided to take a different route because it wasn't a planned challenge day, and we didn't pay attention to our km either. They all ran 2.7 kilometers, even the two-year-old. When we returned home, the two-year-old was eager to tell everyone what she had accomplished. The older ones thought it was so funny, and it motivated them to continue with her.


We ensured we were physically prepared and avoided any injury throughout the challenge. We started with a warm-up session accompanied by some music. If we skipped the warm-up, we walked first to get the little hearts pumping before running. Occasionally, we sprinted the last stretch to the park, and even the 2-year-old gave it her all.


For a realistic challenge that we would all be able to complete, we made sure to have a stroller on hand on the days she was more tired, and some days I brought an ergo baby and gave her what she calls a monkey ride back home. Even though we walked part of it, we still logged those kilometers.


Our goal throughout the month was to stay on schedule as much as possible. Things came up, and we had to switch things around a little, but we managed to finish. The look of accomplishment on the children's faces when we ended was priceless. It felt like they'd achieved something important and knew they'd reached their goal.


How Did The Challenge Benefit Our Healthy Lifestyle

Our first point is that doing something like this for charity is one way of giving back when you don't have the time or means to volunteer in your community. Being able to contribute more kilometers and do our part for Cancer research made us very proud.


There were many ways in which it contributed to our healthy lifestyle. We all benefited from spending so much time outdoors and engaging in physical activity. We often spent a few minutes playing at the park, which added to our physical activity time.

A distance of 80km results in an average of 4 960 calories burned and about 100 000 steps taken. Since we live in the mountains and constantly walk uphill, we burn a lot more calories. In addition, we added a few more steps and calories in the park by playing tag and climbing. Because we were having fun, we didn't realize how many calories we were burning. Being outside for more than 20 minutes almost daily gave us a good vitamin D dose.


In addition to improving blood pressure and our immune system, doing these types of challenges reduces cholesterol levels and the risk of coronary heart disease. Besides giving us more energy, it also improved our sleep.


What We Learned From Our Healthy Lifestyle Challenge

We felt much more energized and ready to do anything when the month was over. We still feel that drive, which made us add personal challenges to our healthy lifestyle. Knowing that walking 5km a day, which is about 30 minutes, gives all the health benefits mentioned above, we decided to see what 10 000 steps, which is about 8 km a day, would do if we did it every day.


The children also learned to plan and adapt their schedules to different needs. It helped them overcome setbacks and not get discouraged when we didn’t reach our km one day. They also learned to cheer and encourage one another a lot more than they did before. They told me they felt their leg muscles working and felt they had tighter muscles from all those hills. They learned the importance of warming up and cooling down during intense physical activity. They also learned the importance of drinking water before they left for their challenge. My children feel like they can accomplish anything they set their minds to now that they finished the 80km challenge.


Now for the month of May 2023, we are doing our 10k steps every day to see how our cardio and muscles react. The children are again invested in the challenge and excited to see what happens. We are still including parks and special hikes in that challenge. Even though we are already doing many physical activities and I work in this field, the added km greatly impacted my energy, health, mood, and physique. We will let you know how it went at the end of the month.


Meanwhile, we would love to know how you spice your healthy lifestyle to remain healthy and physically active.

  • Do you like to include challenges or races?

  • Do you participate in the 1000 hrs. outdoors?

  • Do you have fitness goals that are a little more challenging to spice up your routine?

We will be doing a run in June, and this challenge, including the one from April of 80km and the one in May of 10k steps a day, will help us prepare for that race.


Make sure you follow us on social media to find inspiration and ideas. Look through our other blogs to learn more about living a healthy lifestyle. If you want help creating a fun plan tailored to your needs, click here.


References

PubMed, Health benefits of physical activity: a systematic review of current systematic reviews, Darren E R Warburton, Shannon S D Bredin (Sept, 2017) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28708630/

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