One of our favorite parts of SOS is seeing families come together to race for such a great cause. We welcome children of any age to participate. Adult runners may bring race approved strollers for little ones. We also encourage children to sign up for the Kid’s Marathon. This year we are so excited to make the kid’s marathon a bubble run! It will be a great time!
What if your child wants a bigger challenge than the Kid’s Marathon though? What can you do to help him prepare? Here are a few tips to help you decide if your child is 5k ready and how to train!
First of all, we do not have any official age requirements for running any of the races. Children as young as 7-8 have run our 5k in the past and performed very well. You know your child’s activity level and stamina, so we leave it up to you to decide if he is ready.
After determining your child is physically able, discuss the focus required to be able to train for the 5K and the reasons behind the interest in the race. It’s always touching to know that our kids want to be able to do the things we do as parents, but that alone may not be a good reason for your child to participate. Make sure it is a goal she wants to tackle for personal reasons, and let her know you want her to have fun while taking on this new challenge. It is easy for us to get competitive and have high expectations of our kids, but remember the 5k is designed with adults in mind. Any level of participation made by children is a win in our opinion!
Does your child have an understanding of how long a 5k is? Map out two points of interest she is familiar with that are about 5k apart. Go on a test run to judge what she can do now, and discuss again if it is still something she wants to do.
Make an individualized training plan
Sit your child down and write down a plan of action. Include him in the planning process. Make daily goals such as adding a fourth of a kilometer to training sessions. Record distances, evaluate with your child as you go, and adjust goals as needed.
Invest in good running shoes
Up until now, your child may just have an everyday tennis shoe. These shoes are not designed with running in mind. Although kids outgrow shoes fast, if she is serious about this undertaking, it is a worthwhile investment. Not only will running shoes be more comfortable, but they may also provide protection from running injuries. We don’t endorse any particular product; however, there are many good lists you can find of running shoes for children such as this list at Runner’s World.
Make it fun
Your child is more likely to stick to training if it is fun. Make time to train with her. Allow her to invite friends along too.
Celebrate important milestones reached while training with small gifts such as cooking her favorite meal, letting her pick the restaurant or movie on a night out or new music for training sessions.
Take advantage of the opportunity to model good habits
If your child wants to participate in a run, you have a great opportunity to instill good habits in him. The door is open for great discussions about nutrition, good running form and other forms of exercise to make him race-ready.
We hope this exciting time spent with your child allows some great bonding time and many opportunities for you to let him know you are proud of him.
Have questions about our races? Check out our FAQs page!
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