Sharing Your Love for Running:
5 Tips for Running with Your Kids
Running isn't just a solo activity; it can also be a fantastic way to bond with your children and instill in them a love for fitness and the great outdoors. In this blog post, we'll explore three tips for running with your kids, making it a fun and rewarding experience for the whole family.
Tip 1: Start Slow and Keep It Fun
When introducing your kids to running, it's essential to start slow and keep the focus on enjoyment rather than performance. Begin with short distances and slow paces, gradually increasing both as your child builds stamina and confidence. It does really help if you go into it knowing; this is NOT your workout, this is you sharing your love with your kids. (I always ask; "Why is it so dang hard to do fun things with kids?!?!" I am not sure I'll ever know. But just keep trying.)
IDEA: Make the experience enjoyable by incorporating games, challenges, or themes into your runs. Consider turning your run into a scavenger hunt, where your child can search for specific items along the route, or play "I Spy" to keep them engaged and entertained.
I would keep track of how much time they are able to "play". That time will grow as they build the stamina and confidence.
Tips 2: Teach Them How to Pace Themselves
Once they are able to go longer amounts of time, they will need help with pacing. Kids often start out in a full sprint and move to a dead walk. You want to use these tips to keep them running at a more constance speed/pace.
IDEA: Introducing the concept of pacing to your kids by using fun and relatable terms. For example:
Turtle: Walking pace
Pig: Jogging pace
Horse: Running pace
Cheetah: Sprinting pace
Teaching your kids about pacing not only helps them understand different levels of effort but also encourages them to listen to their bodies and adjust their speed accordingly.
"Let's do "Pig Pace" to that tree, then Horse to the light poll, etc."
Tip 3 & 4: Set Realistic Goals and Celebrate Milestones
Setting achievable goals can help motivate your kids and provide a sense of accomplishment. Whether it's completing a certain distance, running for a specific duration, or participating in a fun run together, establish goals that are realistic and age-appropriate.
Celebrate milestones along the way to keep the momentum going. Whether it's reaching a new distance record, improving their pace, or completing their first race, acknowledge their achievements with praise, high fives, or even small rewards like stickers or a special treat.
IDEA: sign up for a local short race, as a whole family! Many great ones are listed here. Then on the days your kid does not feel up to running, remind them of the race goal they have coming up.
Tip 5 & Bonus Tip: Lead by Example and Foster a Positive Mindset
As a parent, you have a powerful influence on your children's attitudes and behaviors towards running and exercise. Lead by example by demonstrating a positive attitude and enthusiasm for physical activity.
Encourage a growth mindset by emphasizing the importance of effort, perseverance, and enjoying the process rather than focusing solely on outcomes. Remind your kids that it's okay to take breaks, listen to their bodies, and have fun along the way.
Enjoy your time with them and remember - they might just be faster than you before you know it! (I currently can't keep up with my 13 year old, no big deal.)
What age "should" kids run?
It is important to note that a child’s individual rate of development and desire to run is what matters more than his/her actual age. But the guidelines I like include:
Running with your kids can be a rewarding and memorable experience that fosters a lifelong love for fitness and outdoor adventures. By starting slow, setting realistic goals, fostering a positive mindset, and teaching them about pacing, you can create a positive running environment that encourages your children to stay active and embrace the joy of running.
So lace up those shoes, hit the trails or pavement, and enjoy the journey of running together as a family. With patience, encouragement, and a sense of fun, you'll create cherished memories and instill in your kids a love for running that will last a lifetime.
Additional tips include:
Encourage your child to "run laps" during recess. Many of our local elementary schools have "lap days". If your school does not, talk to the PTA about getting it setup for your school
Sign your kids up to join a youth running group: Velocity Kids
Get your kids running shoes. As they start adding up the miles, the Vans will no longer be good for their running. If you run-with-kids, comment and let us know any additional tips you would add.
Our your running group -Velocity Kids - has 5 seasons a year.
Race Ready, Track, Summer, XC, & Christmas break. Goal of fostering a love for running at a young age. More on Velocity Kids here!
Want more help?
Join our Running Workshop here!
Learn how you can run more efficiently Running Assessment
Get your FREE Strength Assessment here!
Join our online 12-week strength program here!