As a parent when we love something we naturally want to show our children in hopes that they will love it as much as we do! I'll be honest, I love to run and want my kids to love it! So how do we introduce the sport of running in a way that it will be enjoyable and something they can do for the rest of their lives???
I'm often asked by other parents how old a child should be before they run a 5k. I always stress that running should be FUN for kids. If it hurts or is too difficult, kids will not want to do it again. I cringe when I hear a parent forcing their child to run or see a child crying during a race because their parent is desperately trying to coax them to keep going. It doesn't look pretty and I can't imagine the child has any interest to try racing again. So how to get them to think its fun???
Here are some important tips:
• Don't bite off more than you can chew! Just like you wouldn't want to run a marathon as your first running race, children should build up to a longer distance. Start with the kiddie dashes, build up to the one mile fun run, and when ready go for the 5k.
• Make it a family challenge! When everyone is involved it becomes more fun! Include the dog as well!!!
• Walk! Run a little, Walk a little. When starting out, walking is a great way to allow for little breaks so that running is not overwhelming. Make it a game,
Run to the mailbox walk to the next driveway..
• Most important..KEEP IT FUN!
Let the kids lead, let them be silly or run funny, whatever they need to do to keep it fun!
Some local events for introducing running to your child:
Lake Takanassee has a one mile and 5k every Monday night during the summer starting at 6:00 Pm. These races have been going on for over 30 years by the Shore Athletic Conference.
RTC running camp- area runner Rob Cavanaugh offers a running camp for kids of all ages.
Little Silver 5k- Oct 5th, Offering kiddie dashes, one mile fun run, and a 5k.
A great family event!