What’s better than that feeling of crossing a finish line at the end of a race? Crossing the finish line with your child!!

But where do you start?

While your first instinct may be to hit the track or trails for your family training sessions, race prep isn’t just about logging miles. Stability, strength training, and stretching need to be a part of the plan. Lucky for us, acac Timonium wants to help you and your kids get in on the 5K action. Their wellness experts are dedicated to keeping your whole family healthy — and they are proud to be only fitness center in the area to allow parents and kiddos to work out together. Hello, new (bundle of energy) workout buddy!

At acac, family members ages 9 to 12 are welcome to use fitness equipment and take most group exercise classes with active adult supervision. (BODYPUMP and kettlebell classes are reserved for members age 13 and up.) As a bonus, acac offers complimentary orientation sessions to help kids and parents get started safely — taking into consideration any past injuries, current goals, and how each person runs.

“For any runner, it’s very important to help prevent injuries by doing strength training, along with flexibility and mobility work,” said acac personal trainer and health coach, Margreta Rempert. “Strength training helps maintain healthy glutes and IT bands — and having a strong core benefits every type of movement you do in your life. Often times, runners will experience imbalances in the body from front to back and side to side. A good trainer can help you minimize your risk of injuries by tailoring your workouts to your personal needs, interests and fitness level as you progress.”

Training for a 5K with Your Kids - (cool) progeny

We invited Girls On The Run (GOTR) coach, Kristen Cooper, and her daughter, Kate, to help us show just how beneficial (and fun!) it can be for families to work with a personal trainer at acac.

Not familiar with GOTR? Your should be! Girls On The Run is a non-profit organization that inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using an experience-based curriculum that creatively integrates fun running exercises. At each season’s conclusion, the girls and their coaches complete a 5K running event together, which gives them a tangible sense of achievement as well as a framework for setting and achieving life goals.

“As a busy working parent, the one thing I don’t want to do is spend time alone at the gym. I want to be with my family,” said Kristen. Working out together — safely — at acac ensures that she gets the best of both worlds.

Take a look at how Margreta customized a workout program for Kristen and Kate!

Training for a 5K with Your Kid: A Look at a Personal Training Session


acac personal trainer Margreta Rempert started the session by taking some time to learn more about Kate and Kristen’s running experiences, as well as their current workout routines. An experienced trainer will know when to push to help you achieve your goals and when to modify or skip certain exercises. A short chat can reap a lot of benefits!

Training for a 5K with Your Kids - (cool) progeny

Stretching for Runners

Margreta led Kristin and Kate through hip stretches, foam roller moves, and lower back and hamstring stretches done at the barre. All of these moves focus on the same area: the IT band, glutes, hamstrings, and lower back. Why? “These are key areas that runners must focus on to help balance out the body and prevent injuries,” said Margreta.

Stretching ended with arm and shoulder stretches to help warm up the upper body for running.

“Often times runners forget how much their upper body comes into play,” said Margreta. “Stretching all over before your run can help lubricate the joints and get the blood flowing.”

Working the Core

Up next, Margreta challenged Kristen and Kate with a core workout that was, surprisingly, enjoyable. She started the ladies off lying on a foam roller for a move called the Dead Bug. (With a name like that, how could it not be fun?!) They laughed (added ab workout) their way through this intense core exercise that left their muscles shaking from fatigue, which is a good sign of strength building.

Then Margreta led them through leg circles on the foam roller, which not only worked the lower abs but engaged the glutes, lower back, and leg muscles. “Keeping the core and glutes engaged during this exercise is key,” said Margreta, “since you’re most likely going to take a tumble off the foam roller if not! This move is especially helpful in balancing runners out from side to side, but it’s good for everyone, since many people spend so much time sitting throughout their day.”

Training for a 5K with Your Kids - (cool) progeny

Hitting the Treadmill Together

Finally, the dynamic duo was ready to run. Kate was especially excited to be able to join her mom on the fitness floor, since this was her first time using a treadmill. (She’s a natural!) Side by side, they followed Margreta’s lead through a customized cardio workout designed to mimic a real-life road race.

“Treadmill training should include incline and decline work to help you prepare for outside running conditions,” said Margreta, adding that there are two ways to approach co-training for a 5k when parents and kids are different heights and run at different paces.

“If you and your child are planning to run the race together, then it’s ideal for the adult to match the child’s pace and encourage them along,” she said. “But some training buddies are happiest starting a race together, running at their own pace, and meeting up at the finish line to celebrate. Do whatever works for you!”

Training for a 5K with Your Kids - (cool) progeny

Kristen and Kate say they’ll likely stick together — and both expressed a big sense of accomplishment after just one training session.

“It was so much more fun to work out together,” said Kate. “Now I want to come back and try all the other equipment around the club!”

The perfect ending to this Mom and Daughter workout date? A smoothie from acac’s cafe.

Training for a 5K with Your Kids - (cool) progeny

Want to trying working out with your kid? Join us for our first Workout with Your Kids Night at acac Timonium on April 25th! We’ll be offering family-designed TRX cross training, yoga, and mini run clinics on the treadmills. Guests will have access to the entire Fitness Center. Trainers will be on-hand offering fitness demos on all equipment so that kids and parents know how to best use the equipment. Cost is $5/family. We’ll have healthy snacks and fun surprises, too! Come for the entire two hours or just a 30 minute class. Register in advance here.


Editor’s Note: This article is sponsored by acac Timonium. To learn more about them, visit their listing in our Health & Wellness directory. Photography by Laura Black.