Nutrition & Health
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Date Posted: 30 September 2023
Supporting your children in whatever sport they choose is important, whether that's touch rugby, soccer or dance. We are sharing Paul and Michael's stories on how they involve themselves in their daughters' hobbies as well as balance their own exercise.
Paul Gourlay, @run.train.achieve
How many children do you have and how old are they?
Isabel 8 and Ruby 7
What is your sport/exercise of choice and how long have you been doing it?
Running and soccer. I grew up in Scotland playing soccer almost every day from the age of 10. I continued playing right up until 2018 when I decided that my body could no longer deal with the demands of the impact and contact of soccer and I decided to focus more on my running. I was never a runner growing up but I kept myself fit through all the soccer I was playing. In 2015 I decided to enter a half marathon as motivation to lose weight. I needed a goal to aim for and since then I have never looked back. Running got me physically into the best shape I’ve ever been in during my adult years. It changed my life as I subsequently became a personal trainer, joined a running group and then later founded my own running group (RunCo) in 2020. I predominantly exercise on my own as I enjoy that me-time. It’s a great way for me to clear my mind and just focus on something I really enjoy doing. I do at times run with friends, which is also great. I have made many friends since I have taken up the sport.
Do you have a favourite location or national park to exercise?
I love to race on the road, but when it comes to training there is nothing better than hitting the trails. I enjoy the peace of the trails. Some of my favourite locations include Bunyaville, Clear Mountain and Lacey’s Creek. My favourite though would have to be Mount Glorious.
What is your favourite piece of equipment that you always use before/during/after your exercise?
I have to say I don’t really have anything that I always use. I enjoy the foam roller from time to time. Mostly I keep my running exercise separate from my strength exercise where I like to focus on resistance training.
What is something you have learned since combining exercise and kids in your life?
Keeping exercise fun. Not putting pressure on my kids. Isabel and Ruby are so full of life and I love to see their smiling faces and how much they enjoy running around, playing games, and kicking the soccer ball. When you put too much pressure on your kids to do something then you remove the fun aspect.
What are some challenges you have faced? How did you overcome them?
Injuries. Dealing with lengthy setbacks. Recently I had an achilles injury that took 18 months to overcome. It was physically hard but even more mentally challenging. I changed my mindset to focus on the positives and being grateful for what I was still able to do. This was a huge part of the healing process as I believe my change in mindset and my positive attitude helped to aid my recovery.
What has been your greatest achievement in your sport?
In 2020 I won the Gold Coast Half Marathon virtual event and I was awarded the Queensland and Oceania Half Marathon Championship Medals as part of this win. It was really cool to be acknowledged by all three parties and it was a great way to stay motivated during the pandemic. My favourite memory would have to be running the Queenstown Marathon in 2019. We made a holiday out of it and it is a runners paradise. The actual course itself is awesome, but there are also so many other beautiful trails to run on and explore. A top destination for any runner.
Do you have any future goals for your sport?
I have always been highly competitive, so I would like to keep improving over all distances from 5km to the Marathon. I would like to run the London Marathon and Boston Marathon one day. I also plan to venture into Ultra Marathons and challenge my body to see what it is capable of achieving.
Do your children have any involvement in your sport?
Both my girls have done a few Parkruns and Isabel recently started playing Soccer. This is something she decided herself that she wanted to do and we support her 100%.
How do you encourage your children to be active?
Simply by being active myself. Both Alice (my partner) and myself are very active. We are both runners and regularly use the gym or do fitness classes. I often take the girls to work with me and they love being exposed to all things exercise.
How do you incorporate sport into your daily/weekly routine?
I always allocate time to run. There’s always free time during every day, so I use this time to run. On the weekends Alice and I will alternate, so one of us gets to do a long run on the Saturday morning and the other on the Sunday morning.
What advice would you give to another dad wanting to get into exercise/sport but may be unsure as to where to start?
Find a local group of like minded people. Head along to your local Parkrun.
Michael Duggan, @trailcowboys
Michael is the cofounder of the NFP Fathers of Girls aiming to empower and raise confident women by building strong father-daughter relationships.
2 girls aged 10 and 12 years
Running. Over 35 years. Started running cross country in grade school. First Marathon in 2009 and 100km ultramarathon in 2014. I run with training partners on the trails around SEQ.
Camp Mountain Queensland.
Yoga mat and body wrench
Never step back from a challenge.
Balancing time training and racing with time spent with my kids doing things they love and connecting. I've involved them in my sporting pursuits and I involve myself in theirs, whether that be dance practice or touch rugby training.
Finishing Western States Endurance Run 100 mile race in under 24hrs to earn a silver belt buckle (2022). Finishing the Guzzler 100km in 2020 tied for fourth place with Ben Duffus and Alex Murphy. Ben led the race all day but couldn't continue without support from the 84km mark. Alex and I escorted him to the finish and we all went over the line together. A special moment of camaraderie on the trails.
As the President of the Trail Running Association of Queensland we have just launched our Trail Running 2032 campaign to get trail running into the 2032 Brisbane Games. This is my next 'ultramarathon'. #trailrunning2032
Touch rugby for my 12 year old and dance for my 10 year old.
By modelling a healthy and active lifestyle myself and supporting them to engage in activities that they love.
Through a disciplined routine and early morning starts. I love the morning when everything is quiet before the day really gets moving!
'It's ok to walk' both physically and metaphorically. Take your time to get into a routine that works and blends into your day/week; and take the time needed to do it well. It's ok to miss a training session. I was too rigid with my training at first and this led to feeling guilty or trying to pack it in and overextending myself. I learnt that it was Ok to walk and that helped me to balance life and sport.
Is there anything else that you would like to share?
The poet Willian Blake said 'Great things are done when men and mountains meet'. This is so true. Strive for your goals in sport and family life. Amazing things happen when you have a mountain to climb and the tools to climb it.