Involving family, friends makes workouts fun

During one of her training runs, Summer Sanders offers some words of encouragement for fellow runners.

Summer on the Run is a 12-week blog and video series that follows former Olympic swimmer and avid runner Summe Sanders on her journey to train for Disney's Princess Half Marathon on Feb. 24.

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, she will share training tips, and a little inspiration, as she gears up for the main event. Use hashtag #GoRun on Twitter to follow Summer and be part of the ongoing conversation.


Learning from our parents and providing a good example for our kids is such a beautiful thing. You can't get around that. I learned so much from my family while growing up without even knowing it. That's what made it so valuable -- it felt natural.

We become our kids' heroes. Whether we want to or not, the next generation looks up to us. I guess it's a lot like being a sports figure. The best way to teach others is by living a certain way and doing the best you can as often as possible. Being true to yourself gets you noticed, and it's something you can't fake.

No one is perfect, we're all far from it! As I get deeper into my training, it gets even harder to fit in everything I want in my life.

While training for the Chicago Marathon, my husband, Erik, recognized my commitment to the race. At that point, he had two choices: feel slighted because running took up so much of my time, or become a central part of it. He chose the latter. We were all better off working together as a family.

Erik has been known to get on his bike and help pace me for a tempo run. He has also agreed to bike alongside me and keep talking, so I stay preoccupied. Sometimes getting a workout done is as simple as listening to his stories. When I was working too hard to talk, his voice kept my mind off the pain and I was able to push through my least favorite workouts.

It is such a gift to have someone in your life who supports you. Knowing that Erik and my kids are by my side always makes my workouts go by faster, and it definitely makes them more fun.

Summer realizes how hard it is to fit everything into one day, so she's been known to run a package to her local post office or squeeze in a workout between her kids' swim and soccer practices. She suggests wearing workout gear all day if it will help -- it doesn't have to be pretty!

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