Answered By Michael Bergmann
My son started running at Age 6 and progressed thru distances up to 5k, his best is 25:35. We are not a family of runners, but he seems to have natural aptitude and desire. After an initial burst of enthusiasm, he hasn't shown a lot of interest in "training" between races. We have not pressured this in any way, striving to make it fun. He is involved in many other sports: basketball, baseball, tennis, etc. He wants to run a 10k this year but we have thus far nixed anything beyond 5k. Any general comments about our approach, health, training, would be helpful. Thanks.
Thanks for asking. I would not recommend for him to run in anything further than a 5k at his age. I think it is critical for a young athlete to play as much basketball, baseball, soccer, tennis, and run when he wants to at that age. I would add swimming into the list because it builds strength and aerobic capacity and is not hard on the growing joints. Swimmers at a young age that became very successful...Alan Webb, Lance Armstrong, Jeff Hess... Soccer players that became great runners in HS...Galen Rupp, Kenny Klotz...There ability to be a great athlete was directly connected to doing a variety of sports at a younger age and not going overboard on one too soon. A 7 year old's joints and bones are in very early development stages and I don't let any of my athletes below age 10 race anything over a 3k... Keep him healthy and keep it fun!