In Ask the Trail Sisters

My daughter is 10 and wants to be a runner like her mom.

Can you recommend a distance or any training tips that I can share with her? 



Trail Sister Katelynn WagnerKatelynn: It’s so exciting when your child wants to join you in your passion! My daughter is only 3 but she wants nothing more than to join me when I head out into the woods, and its a great bonding activity. I would suggest starting small and fun. A 5k is a great starting distance, and they usually have a very fun atmosphere. In training together, take it slow and remember that keeping it lite, fun, and interesting will lay the groundwork for a lifelong love of running, and many more bonding experiences for the two of you! Maybe try a “couch to 5k” program together, set goals and have rewards for reaching those goals. Good luck, and I wish you many fun filled miles together!

Deserae ClarkeDes: That’s exciting that your daughter is interested in running, it’s always fun when we can share our passions with our kids. As a general rule of thumb kids can build up to race distances equal to the number of years they’ve been in school, so your daughter should be able to do 3-4 miles.  Start with a run/walk program. I find with my kids it’s good to set visual goals (…We’re going to run from here to the post office, and then we’ll walk for 2 blocks).  You know your daughter best, and every kids is a little different. If she’s very enthusiastic you may need to temper that with realistic goals and pacing. Other kids might need little nudges to make sure they’re challenging themselves enough. And keep in mind the most important part is that she’s having fun and the two of you get to spend time together.

trail-sister-bree-lambertBree: I think it’s pretty awesome that your daughter enjoys running and clearly admires what you do. First and foremost I HIGHLY recommend you encourage her to have fun! Her goal should be to develop a love for the sport based on her enjoyment and desire to maintain a healthy active lifestyle.  She should go out and run FUN 5k races. At her age, there should not be an emphasis on competition unless she demonstrates this independently.


trail-sister-sandi-nypaverSandi: The number one thing is for her to learn to enjoy running, but I’m guessing she has a great mom and that won’t be a problem! For training I think it can be helpful to remind kids to pace themselves and that when building endurance it’s good to have runs that are slow and easy, even if training to run 1 mile. Those are sometimes hard concepts for kids to understand, but if/when they do a race it’s much more enjoyable. Your daughter is 10 and probably doesn’t need to do any traditional speed work just yet (she’ll get faster just running a little more or even playing other sports), but taking her on some roads or trails with some small hills could benefit her. You could even introduce her to fartleks by having her run fast from one tree to another and then jogging to the next tree.

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