Raising A Runner: 4 Active Lifestyle Tips For Parents
Children don’t get enough time to exercise. 74% of kids between the ages of 5 and 10 get less than 60 minutes of physical activity each day, which may be hard to believe if you have an elementary schooler who is constantly running around your home, jumping on the bed, and spinning in circles.
The best way to increase your children’s exercise and improve their cardiovascular health is to encourage them to run.
The most important thing to do when encouraging your children to run – or building other healthy habits – is make it fun for them. You can ask them to run around the block, in the park, or along a trail in the woods.
Runners get bitten by the bug, but even those who don’t will build a foundation that will serve them in other athletic endeavors and teach focus and commitment.
While running can result in scraped knees, it is relatively safe. It is not like many popular child sports, like soccer, football, and baseball, where balls are thrown badly.
There are several things you can do to prevent running-related injuries, the first of which is to ensure your children’s sneakers fit correctly.
You should encourage children to walk and jog around the store when fitting running shoes. You should also ensure the shoes provide adequate support for the foot shape of the child.
Kids with flat feet need different shoes than kids with high arches in their feet. Improperly fitted shoes can cause blisters, pain, and increase the chances that your child will fall, sprain their ankle, or otherwise become injured.
Create A Game
Running is the common activity of many children’s games, so please ask your child to run on a track or go on a running trail. You can also ask them or encourage them to participate in running-based games like a land adaptation of Sharks and Minnows, old standards like tag, swimming game, and various other relay races.
You can also create games that include running with physical activities such as skipping, hopping, jumping, or creating an obstacle course.
Join Running Group
Most adults are solo learners, which means they can run individually and don’t need a companion with them. On the other hand, kids prefer doing activities in groups, whether playing a game or training for a race. If your child enjoys running, find a local running group in your area and enroll your child.
Most of the major cities have clubs like Girls On The Run, a nonprofit organization that helps promote health, confidence, and positive body image in girls.
Supporting Super Runners
Some of the kids have a passion for running compared to any other sport. Your child may even say that he wants to run a marathon.
But, before you let them do such great activities, it is important to support your kids to master the basics skill.
Without developing proper running form, they can’t run a marathon. They need to practice running many short races before running greater distances.
Also, you should provide proper training to the kids for running greater distances, or they might get injuries majorly in the growth plates.
Running can benefit your children in their growing age. It will also provide them benefits in the other aspects of life where they will be their own competitor. You must always support your child and not push them hard for anything. Some children are runners by default, while others may run at their speed.
Your primary goal as a parent should be simply to encourage your kids’ overall health through nutritious diet and exercise. This goal is supported by Running. Apart from this, ask your children to follow their passion and cross the finish line.
Tips to prevent injuries
While training the young kids, you must always ensure that you prevent the injuries. Here are a few tips that you need to consider when training a runner child.
- Make your child do some stretching exercises before and after they run.
- Change their shoes after they run 500 miles with them.
- Increase the running mileage by only 10% each week.
- Make a schedule that includes hard workouts/running after every easy day.
- Avoid running on slanted or uneven surfaces.
- Teach them to consider pain as their guide and motivation, as the ‘No pain No gain’ is always said.
The training intensity for kids who want to perform any sport must be decided as per their age. There are recommendations for level and intensity which we must consider while training them. But, apart from this, ensure that they are having fun, feeling safe, and fit to start with the training.
Running Distance Recommendations
Here are some of the running distances recommendations you must consider for children of different ages.
Age & Maximum running distance
- Under 9 – 1.5 miles
- 9-11 – 3.2 miles
- 12-14 – 6.4 miles
- 15-16 – Half Marathon: 13.1 miles
- 17 – 19.2 miles
- 18 – Marathon: 26.2 miles
As per the expert recommendations, weekly training shouldn’t exceed twice the distance of the competition. Therefore, allow the middle school kids to run only up to 12.8 miles per week if they have planned to run in a 10k race. Kids till the age of 14 must run only 3 times a week. And, athletes above the age of 15 can run up to 5 times a week.
Encourage kids to exercise through Running games
Exercise is considered as one of the most boring physical activities by the kids. So why not turn this activity into fun with the games. Kids enjoy playing games, so here are some of the games that can make your exercise fun and enjoyable.
It is like a relay where the kids have to pass on the baton to their teammate by completing a circle. Once all the team members have done their running part, the team which has quickly done the relays wins the game.
It is a treasure hunt, where the kids have to search for various things. There will be a clue to reach the destination, and once the kid reaches there, there will be another clue. You can keep as many clues for the teams. And finally, the team which finds out all the items quickly wins the game.
Capture the flag
It is a fun game and competitive as well. In this, both teams have to get their opponents’ flag but not get tapped by their opposite team members. The team which collects most of the flags wins the game.