Running and kids

Kids are naturals at it. Running. Running and kids go hand in hand like a horse and carriage!

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?


Pam Rote said...

my kids are very much into sports--soccer (my son NEVER stops running on the field) volleyball, swimming and gymnastics. My daughter has already said she want to learn tennis this summer too. I'm NOT as active as I've been in the past...but my daughter has encourage me to add some sprints into my walking routine and we have some great bike trails at out local park.

I LOVE the final point you make about making running competitive --focusing to much on "WINNING" can take the fun out of any spot for kids.

Dominique Goh said...

I encourage my kids to do sports- the kids do swimming and badminton at the moment.

Columba Lisa Smith said...

My girl (14) and I have been running at the beach lately. What a wonderful blessing that is! She's not terribly motivated about sports, but she does love swimming, and I'm sure we'll be doing plenty of that, too, this summer.

Kathleen said...

We had all of our kids involved in sports as they were growing up. We went to and coached basketball, soccer and baseball. When the kids got into the 7th grade, they all decided to be on the track team. Lots of practice there, but they enjoyed it and it kept them fit.

Matilda said...

My daughter enjoys running more so than my son, only because he has asthma and he gets puffed.
But they still have fun running at run club when we go.
Miss K also does Ballet and she loves it. While Master M does gymnastics, and yep, he loves it too.
Oh and swimming is mandatory, but it's just as well they both love it.

Andrea said...

I LOVE this age guideline! My boys are 3 & 5 and I have wondered if I am pushing them too much or too little with sports and exercise. This is an excellent guideline to help me understand where they are at.

nicoleao said...

Yes I really liked it too. Often advice can be so general! This is nice and specific and therefore really helpful.

nicoleao said...

Sounds like your kids are getting lots of healthy exercise!

nicoleao said...

That sounds lovely. And it must be a great way to spend time together.

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