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A while back I put together a kids' distance chart. You can find it here. It's a compilation of distances organized by age, program, and or event meant as a general guide. It's both liberal and conservative if such a thing is possible. But a chart alone shouldn't be the only standard that you judge distance to be run. Sometimes it's common sense and just knowing kids. In this open letter, Ed talks about kids and distance.
- Carol Goodrow, Founding Editor, KidsRunning.Com
DISTANCE by Coach Ed Poirier|
My experience with runners aged 7 to 10 years, running 3 miles once a week has always been positive but the athletes never time themselves. They laugh and talk during the 3-mile run, maybe even stop to pet a dog, pick a flower, or throw a rock in the nearby pond. Sometimes it may take them 30 minutes or 40 to do the run. As a matter of fact we don't even know if the run is 3 miles 3.2, 2.8, 3.4. We change it and keep in interesting.
Kids are getting in great shape and really enjoying themselves. Who would object to kids playing non-stop for 40 minutes? Sure we do speed work, drills, and some repeat sprints on other days but when it comes to long distance, it's all fun.
To beat your time every time you run is something that I see in adults too and the running program usually ends in injury or disappointment. Two things that should not happen to anyone especially a child.
Since your child is focused on improving there are some great things you can do. Calm that 3-mile run down and make it fun. Change the route, run on different terrain, throw the stop watch away. Mix in some short quick sprint training to build speed once a week. My advice would be about four 5-K RACES a year. Make those races a real special event for her and the family. She should look to improve her time IN THE RACE. Not in weekly training sessions. Your daughter/son comes across as being determined and focused. Now it's up to you to help guide all that determination into a program that will keep her healthy and physically active for the rest of her life. What a great job to have with a willing enthusiastic child.
Ed's page can be found here. Ed's Page.
Coach Ed is a Youth Fitness Specialist with the Attleboro YMCA. The Attleboro (Massachusetts) YMCA is the first YMCA in the nation to embark on a healthy youth initiative.