Distance Running for Children

by Jennifer
(Atlanta, GA)

My father, an avid runner, is wanting to run a 10K with most of his grandchildren. He is now 72 so his running is more like walking BUT I worry that completing a 10K at age 9 is too much for my son.

My son is a great athlete and wants to run more than anything but my job is to protect him.

Any expertise on distance running for children... I guess I'm just looking for back up on that this is crazy...

running tips

Answer by Dominique:

Hi Jenny,
Thanks for your question about distance running for children.

Running 10K at that age is definitely a long way, a bit too much if you ask me.

You'd need to do it with walk breaks.

Or walk all/most of the way, that's not too much of an issue.

Sure, he'll be very tired after it, but it sounds like a pretty important event for your dad.

In the large running events around the world you always see whole families joining in. Whether it is 5k, 10k or even 15k there are always families there. They usually walk most of the way or do the run/walk thing.

And most of them still smile at the end of the day, happy that they have accomplished something together.

One thing I am not a big fan of is doing this structurally. When kids want to run there are plenty of runs around for their age and their ability, usually at much shorter distance, e.g. 800m-2k or so.

When I first saw your question, I worried that this was going to be another request to help a kid train for a (half) marathon. I am definitely not a big fan of that and would not have helped.

I think in this circumstance, provided he can do walks, rest in between, have a drink and a snack etc, this should be a great experience to do with his granddad.

Kind regards,

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