DISTANCE FOR 10-YEAR-OLDS
Dear Coach Ed, |
My 10-year-old son has begun to run with me lately and has now run two races, a 5-K and most recently a 5-mile race which he easily completed in 48 minutes. We currently train approx 2-3 times a week with an easy (10.5-min miles) 3-mile run. Is this harmful to him and is it abnormal for a 10-year-old to train at this level? He is eager to continue racing and (of course) wants to go faster and faster. Any advice??
Is it abnormal? Sure is! How many 10-year-olds were in that 5-K race? Is it harmful? It doesn't have to be. As a matter of fact it can be one of the most healthy things he could do.
Don't over do things and keep his running fun. I think the schedule your son is on is fine. He will get faster just by doing what he is doing. I would not encourage 5-mile races for this age but 1 or 2 a year would be okay. A -K, about 6 a year max.
A real good idea would be to get your son involved in a youth track program or youth cross-country program. The race distances are much shorter so he can compete more, and really work on his speed. If there are no such programs in your area just continue with what you are doing. The only speed work I would recommend is this.
Run for 8 minutes at his normal 10.5 min mile pace then run fast and controlled for 45 second. This is not a sprint it is fast and controlled! Now run at his regular pace for 45 seconds. Repeat the fast 45 seconds and regular pace 45 seconds 6 times. Follow that by a regular pace 8-minute run. He can do that once a week or every other week to prepare for a 5-K.
Schedule in some down time too. It is okay to take a couple of weeks off training. That's it Phil, It sounds like you're doing a great job. Keep it fun, keep it easy. On this Web site check out, under Coach Ed's Archives, "10-K for 11-year-old" and "Distance for Young Kids." I think it will be helpful.
Ed Poirier, "Coach Ed", recently was invited by the United States Olympic
committee to attend a workshop and training seminar at the Olympic training
center in California.