But somewhere along the line, kids loose some of that natural ability for running. They go to school and learn how to sit still. They start spending hours behind little screens, and have fictitious characters run f'ór them. And once they hit puberty, running no longer feels like the most natural thing to them.
Do what comes naturally?
'Do what comes naturally,' the saying goes.
But what if you don't quite know how to run naturally? Or running dóesn't feel natural at all! I know it certainly didn't feel natural to me when I was a teenager. Nor when I was in my twenties for that matter. It wasn't until I had 4 kids and was in my thirties that I discovered the joys of running (away).
Help your kid lay a healthy foundation for later life
This is where you as running mom come in! You can help your kids discover the joys of running. But because running is a high impact sport, you should proceed with caution. You don't want your kid to get injured or do too much too fast. Luckily Tim Noaks provides a handy table about kids and running in his book The Lore of Running! You can use it to check how much your child can do when it comes to sports and running.
Here are some of the high lights.
6< it's all about play
When your kid is younger than six you can encourage him to be physically active by playing. And that shouldn't be too difficult because their are lots of great outdoor toys available. You can help your kid ride a bike, jump about in a bouncy castle or climb a tree house or something. Anything to get them moving.
6 to 10 year olds: awaken interest in sports + basic skills
Now your kid can learn some basic skills. Noakes says that if your kid want to come running with you, that's alright. Because at this age kids won't do anything that doesn't feel good. Don't expect your child to go further than 8 to 10 km at this age.
11-15 year olds
Teach sporting versatility and proper techniques. Kids at this age can train intensively for no more than 10 to 20 minutes, according to Noakes. Encourage your child to try out all kinds of sports. Because all these different sports will provide a great base to become a runner later.
16-18 year olds
Kids are ready for an increased training load, specialized training and use of weights. But remember: they're still kids!
Kids and running: general guidelines
The most important thing about kids and running is to be gentle and relaxed about it. It's way more important that your child has fun and learns to appreciate sports than to be the fastest or the best. There's lots of time for competition later. First you have to make sure your kid feels positive about his or her body.
The best way to make sure you kid hates running is to get all competitive about it.
Do you encourage your child to run or do sports?