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My son is 5 1/2 and has shown an interest in running also. He did a 1/4 mile kids run back in Apr, and this weekend I'm doing a 10km and there's a 1mi kids run. I think 1 mile is long for that age, and have been stressing with him to take it easy and not start too fast. Mom will be running with him, and I'm actually more worried about her!
But my real question is about him 'training'. I really really don't want to be 'that' dad, so much that I worry I may overly discourage him for fear of pushing him. Are there any guidelines for what's a reasonable distance for kids to be running?
my 4yo wanted to run the pittsburgh marathon kids mile, so I let her, she did awesome running the whole distance and ended up with about a 10:30 pace, we did not "train" she runs when she plays and stops when she's tired. Sometimes we go for a run together at her request, usually she's good for .25-.5mi and then she wants to stop, so we stop. She continually expresses interest in running races and as i will not discourage her fitness is fun mentality, but then I live in an area where everyone knows my kids and the running and other athletic activities they are involved in are at their request. I am frequently having to tell my 11yo to slow down and take days off from her busy life, I dont think i am seen as "that" mom, but then again maybe complete strangers do see me that way, but i dont care because those that know me know I am not, so I say see what he is able to do, but dont "train"
2009: Opperation Troop Appreciation 5k oct 29:44 (first race), Greensburg Turkey Trot 5k nove 31:09
2010: On Deck for the Cure sprint 1mi 1-4 9:00, Race for Grace 5k 3-20 32:11, Yough River Council 1/2 marathon 4-10 2:16:39 (goal for 1st 1/2 2:25) 3rd in AG, Pittsburgh Komen Race for the Cure 5k 5-9 30:08, Jerry Mahar Jr Parkinsons Awareness 5k 6-5-10 29:28 6th in AG
Las Vegas Rock N Roll Marathon 12-5 5:01:?? FIRST FULL MARATHON (with calf tear)
2011: Race for Grace 5k 3-19 30:56, Alpha Fitness 5k 4-9 28:57 8th in AG, Pittsburgh Half Marathon 5-14 2:17:52, 9/11 Heroes Run 5k 9-11 27:34 (PR) 5th in AG, Pittsburgh ZooZilla 5k 10-2 28:03, Greenburg 5k Turkey Trot 11-24 28:35
NEXT PLANNED EVENT: Race for Grace 5k 3-31-2012, Pittsburgh Marathon 5-6-2012, Great Race 10K 9-30-2012
I have a 5 1/2 year old who "caught the bug" after watching me complete my first 5K a year ago. She immediately wanted to start running. Everytime I went out she would ask to go (when the weather was nice). After those runs, I would run past the house and pick her up for a run (she had to ask first). I would set my phone for intervals (following a c25k plan) and let her do run walk segments with me - it was a a good cool down for me. A full year into it, we are still on week 1. You gotta love a 5 year olds attention span. My thinking is that she has to be able to do all the intervals for three days before moving on. Some days she will do 4-5 of the intervals for a mile to a mile and a half, other days whe will go the distance, but has never done it three run days in a row. I don't make a big deal to compare run to run (although I do track it). Also there are many days she does not want to go, when I circle back. I try very hard to only be positive and have a no big deal approach. I also never ask her if she wants to go, it has to come from her.
Some of the reading I have done has suggested max distances for age groups (sorry I don't have the links but you can google kids running). Most suggested that 5K is too long of a distance to the 5 year old to run others say its oke with training to do once a year. A mile race is good. We do a lot of hiking with her 3-5 slow miles every other weekend so we are confident in her ability to do a 5k if she is doing a run walk approach. Either my husband or I are with her during the races and she knows we are "in charge" she can try to set the pace but we oftern tell her to slow down. For her first race we said she could run the first mile and then run walk the rest. She did the first mile in 10:15 and then slowed down significantly whent he run walks kicked in - finishing in 41:03. 4 months later she did another 5k on a hillier route and she chose to start the run walk about 3/4 of a mile in finishing in 48.12. We have pictures of her finishing each race on her wall, but have never discussed race times.
Only you know your kid, our pediatrition who saw our daughter runnings through we had a good approach for our active/healthy child, but it has to be a case by case basis. And perhaps most importantly, as parents, we have to keep our attitude in check. If you are hyper competitive like me, that's always a challenge. I often ask myself, why am I running with her to keep me in check and sometimes I even ask her - why are we running together.
That's our story, good luck and enjoy!
Started C25K 3/29/11 for the third time - Graduated 7/1/11 - some of us take longer
Webster Co. Woodchopping Festival 5K (5/28/11) 38:03 "Holy crap! Did he just say 38 something? I was hopinig for 45 minutes"
Never underestimate yourself!
That Dam Race 5K 7/23/11 44:46 - a challenging route & a hot day- but I will do better next year!
"Run for the Ta-Ta's 5K 10/29/11 39:54 in the snow!
Woodchoppers 5K 5/26/12 36:08 My 5 year old was 5 minutes behind me. Way to go Liat!
Fly By 10k 6/16/12 1:24:12
And the dream race...
"Flying Pig Half Marathon" Cincinnati, OH (May 2013)
Its rare to find kids that age catching the bug and ultimately its up to you to be the voice of reason. It sounds like you are on the right track. My 2 older boys were 8 and 9 when they ran their first 5k. I kept it fun which was no easy task in a house full of testosterone. I then gave them distance goals. For example, if they wanted to continue running, that was fine, but they couldnt go past the 5k mark until they were 10 and I didnt let them move up to the 10k until they were 12. Those numbers were derived based upon the physical and emotional maturity of my kids. Ive coached a few locally that have started around 7 and are now successful high school runners. I think it all depends on the kid. Best of luck to you and your son!