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2436 Views 13 Replies Latest reply: Aug 28, 2007 12:18 AM by running_chef
MomtoNewbie Amateur 11 posts since
Jul 9, 2007
Currently Being Moderated

Jan 31, 2007 9:07 AM

13yr old Running 1/2 Marathon?

I have a general opinion question for all of you whose expertise I respect! My 13yr old son is training for the Country Music 1/2 in Nashville in April.  To my non-runner's eye, this seems like a reasonable goal for him.  He is a good runner for his age (PR of 5:42 mile, 21:00 5k)and is really excited about doing the 1/2.  His current training level is approx 6-8 miles 3-4x per week, which he is completing fairly easily at roughly a 7:45 - 8:00 pace. His goal is to break 1:50 for the 1/2. He is trying not to increase his mileage too rapidly, and seems to have plenty of time left for increasing mileage and tapering.  My question is this - the reactions from area runners and non-runners alike range from amazement to mortification that he would attempt this at his age. Am I a "bad Mom" for encouraging this, i.e. is it truly a bad idea for a 13yr old to run that distance? By the way, there were a handful of runners in his age group last year, although I'm not sure that makes me feel any better.

Thanks for the insight.

  • Joe_h1 Community Moderator 1,833 posts since
    Jul 9, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Jan 31, 2007 9:58 AM (in response to MomtoNewbie)
    Re: 13yr old Running 1/2 Marathon?

    you should be aware of risk involved. you should research some more but I recall issues w/ adolescent runners and damage to their growth plates - that could be a big problem. here's an older paper from AAP that was pretty good:

    http://www.aap.org/policy/03326.html





    goals for 2011:

    break 19minutes for 5k

    break 2:42 for olympic triathlon probably Anthracite olympic

    break 3:16 for marathon ( a long shot but it's fun putting yourself out there)

  • carolcrc Pro 110 posts since
    Jul 9, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Feb 3, 2007 11:29 AM (in response to MomtoNewbie)
    Re: 13yr old Running 1/2 Marathon?

    Distance running, especially when the kids are growing fast, can cause the leg muscles to develop unevenly, pulling on the knee or hip connections (causing pain).  My daughter developed this issue running cross-country in her mid-teens and has had to do extensive physical therapy to create the proper muscle balance.  You might want to discuss with his pediatrician and see what he/she recommends to avoid this. 

     

    Actually, I'm surprised he can register for the 1/2 marathon- many of them have 16-yr age cut-offs, and higher ages for marathons.

     

    Hard call to make - you never want to discourage your kid from setting goals, working toward them and being active!  But a little caution could prevent a lot of future problems.  Good luck!

  • gcliechtyllynch Amateur 32 posts since
    Jul 9, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Feb 3, 2007 12:50 PM (in response to MomtoNewbie)
    Re: 13yr old Running 1/2 Marathon?

    1.  My little sister ran the Indy Mini (13.1 miles) when she was 9.  She didn't train, but played soccer most days of the week.  She ran the whole way and finished in 2:20. 

     

    2.  Here in Indy, there is a middle school where they train 6th graders to run the Indy Mini.  I think around 20 - 30 of them do this per year, and it's been going on for over a decade.

     

    Good for you for enocuraging your son to stay in shape!

  • gcliechtyllynch Amateur 32 posts since
    Jul 9, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Feb 3, 2007 12:56 PM (in response to MomtoNewbie)
    Re: 13yr old Running 1/2 Marathon?

    Also...

     

    I understand the worry about injury. But, there is that risk no matter how old you are.  I did a marathon in October and had to do physical therapy too, and I'm not 13. 

     

    I read an amazing article in Runners World about a coach in inner-city LA who trains high school students (some not much older than your son) to run the LA Marathon.  Apparently the kids that have gone though his program nearly all graduate from high school, a stark contrast from the rest of the school population.  That says a lot about the power long distance running can have on self image.

     

    I guess my point is, many kids have run this distance and been fine.  Many adults have run this distance and gotten hurt.  You just never know, but that isn't going to stop me from running.

  • matlombardi Pro 93 posts since
    Jul 9, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Feb 4, 2007 12:11 PM (in response to MomtoNewbie)
    Re: 13yr old Running 1/2 Marathon?

    In my own childhood, I had a tendency to overlook aches and pains. Kids do not think about being 40, or even 20. With that in mind, I say let him run, but make yourself and your son aware of signs to look out for that might signal something serious. The articles mentioned in earlier post and your doctor are a good place to start.

     

    I mean he could be playing football, soccer, videogames, riding a bike, eating McDonalds every day, or any number of things that people let their kids do that have much greater downsides than running.

     

    It never ceases to amaze me how scared non-runners are for runner's health and well being.

     

    mat

  • avalosdesign Rookie 2 posts since
    Jul 9, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    7. Feb 7, 2007 12:44 PM (in response to MomtoNewbie)
    Re: 13yr old Running 1/2 Marathon?

    My niece would love to run in a half marathon. she has not done one yet, but is very active in soccer and track and field at her school. She is 11 years old and we are trying to find a half marathon event she would be able to run in despite her age. I am hoping someone out there might be able to direct me to a half marathon for kids.

  • avalosdesign Rookie 2 posts since
    Jul 9, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    9. Feb 8, 2007 9:06 AM (in response to MomtoNewbie)
    Re: 13yr old Running 1/2 Marathon?

    Thanks for letting me know about the Country Music Half. Her birthday is before March. It's to soon for her to do this one. We are looking for something in the fall this will give her enought time to train. Good luck to your son in Nashville. I think your a good Mom to encourge your son to do something he loves.

  • rodney800 Rookie 7 posts since
    Aug 24, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    10. Aug 24, 2007 9:04 PM (in response to MomtoNewbie)
    Re: 13yr old Running 1/2 Marathon?

    basic response. 5k is a more age approprite distance for a developing body. work on the tempo, increase the mileage later. 5k is about the limit of where i have the kids in my squad and have produced several national champions over the years

  • jinja Expert 42 posts since
    Jul 22, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    11. Aug 25, 2007 4:04 PM (in response to avalosdesign)
    Re: 13yr old Running 1/2 Marathon?

    The Atlanta Half-Marathon is November 22nd, Thanksgiving Day and has a minimum age of 12.  Maybe this one would work for you.

  • into Rookie 10 posts since
    Jul 15, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    12. Aug 27, 2007 12:37 AM (in response to MomtoNewbie)
    Re: 13yr old Running 1/2 Marathon?

    Good luck I'm sure he'll do well, maybe better than 1:50; but 1:50 sounds right. I would make sure he has a couple good pairs of shoes that fit and switch off, don't wear the same shoes every day. At that age one of the main warning signs of over training are frequent colds, flus, sore throats. So if you find him getting sick, have him back off on the training. Also as his Mom you can help out a lot with good nutrition. Buy him whey protein and mix up a shake with milk after workouts. His growing body needs the added protein. Also supplement his diet with vitamin C, B, E and beta carotene. Definitely keep the communication channels open and treat any injuries while they are in the minor stage. Rest days are important. If possible have him work out one day every week, or twice a month with a personal trainer. The muscle groups of a runner at that age can become unbalanced or over developed due to the repetitive one directional nature of running. A trainer or coach can develop specific stretching and plyometric/functional drills to balance out these tendencies. Stay involved, keep it real.

  • running_chef Rookie 2 posts since
    Aug 28, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    13. Aug 28, 2007 12:18 AM (in response to MomtoNewbie)
    Re: 13yr old Running 1/2 Marathon?

    I really don't like the idea.  There's a difference between keeping your child healthy and promoting sports and competing in a tough 13.1 miles.  Think of how hard it is for adults to do it.  I think the constant pounding on his legs will have long term affects.  I trained like an animal in HS, but as a result had nothing in college.  It's very common to see good runners at an early age and then either loose interest in the sport or just the body giving up.  I think he's in those important years of his life when he's growing at a rapid pace.  I'm sure he'll do just fine during the race.  Kids have lot's of energy, but you have to ask yourself.. what's the point of him racing that distance?

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