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When Can I Start Running With My Kids?

By dadcamp |

kid running to catch upMy wife and I are currently training for a big race next month. We’ll be running the Reykjavik Half Marathon as a part of Team Diabetes. Yes, Iceland.

As our training ramps up, we head out for longer and longer runs each weekend. Last weekend, when we were running in Montana, I took the boys to meet my wife near the end of her 10k training run.

Zacharie has been asking to go for a run with us for weeks now. He bounded alongside her with glee for the final few hundred metres of her workout.

So this morning I decided to test out exactly how far a 5 yr old can run.

Mark Halstead, MD, a pediatric sports medicine specialist at Washington University, in St. Louis, told Health.com the desire for participation matters more than the age of the child when it comes to determining distance.

“Running by itself sometimes gets a bad rap because people worry that it’s too much stress,” says Dr. Halstead. “But then you have kids 3 and 4 years old out on the soccer field taking soccer lessons. And research shows that a soccer player can run up to 5 miles in a single game, so it’s really not so different.”

My scheduled run was a light 2 miles, but I decided that might be a little far for our first trek together.

There’s a nice half mile loop around our subdivision that we did together and it was perfect.  He got the thrill of the run, and I had a nice easy warmup before heading out to complete my mileage.

Dr Halstead’s 6 yr old has actually completed  a marathon – that took 9 months.  There is a school program called Read, Right, Run where kids are encouraged to read 26 books, run 26 miles, and do 26 good deeds over the course of the school year.  They break the running up into 52 half mile chunks and by the time June rolls around, they’re marathoners!

For my next longer run, I’m going to ditch the trails in the woods and stick to the sidewalks so he can pace me on his bike.

This weekend my son will run his first real race. A 600m (almost 1/2 mile) gallop around a track.

What about you? Are you running with your kids?

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About dadcamp

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DadCAMP is Buzz Bishop, a dad, broadcaster, writer, and runner from Calgary, Alberta. When not working the mic on XL103, or wrangling his two boys, he's always training for another Team Diabetes marathon somewhere in the world. Read bio and latest posts → Read Buzz's latest posts →

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2 thoughts on “When Can I Start Running With My Kids?

  1. Mary @ A Teachable Mom says:

    My 8 year old daughter and I ran together for the first time this year as we trained for the Girls On The Run 5K in early June. We had a great time yet I don’t anticipate us continuing to run together until training starts for next year’s run. The Read Right Run. program sounds wonderful. I’ll check it out. Good luck to you, your wife and your son as you compete in these races – very cool bonding indeed!

  2. Stephanie says:

    My husband and I are both runners – and our 5-year-old is beginning to express interest as well. In fact, my husband pushed her in a jogging stroller in a recent 5K. After the race, she said, “Next time, I want to run!” Perhaps it’s time we try inviting her along for 1/2 of a mile to get started? :)

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