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8-12 year olds

Answered By Mick Grant & John Molvar

Question

We have recently initiated a running program for 8-12 year olds in Bermuda. We meet once or twice per week for 'training' and introduce the kids to various forms of workouts (intervals, fartleks etc.). We focus on technique, speed development, pacing awareness and fun, and the gains in fitness are a complimentary component. Our workouts never exceed 1.5 miles in total volume. Our recommendations to parents is that 1 mile should be the maximum race distance for our athletes and that the remainder of the athlete's week should include participation in a range of other sports activities. Our goal is to have the kids ready to engage productively in more formalized training once they pass 12 years of age. Any suggestions or comments?

Answer

Your program sounds good. As long as the kids are enjoying themselves and stay healthy, you are probably going in the right direction. For training, you can gradually increase volume over time. For example, an experienced 12 year old can do more than an inexperienced 8 or 12 year old. I think something in the 10-15 miles per week range for a 12 year old is fine, depending in the individual. The longest "track workout" I'd recommend for 12 year old's is 6 x 200. The pace would depend on the individual, but would not ever be faster than their 800m race pace (race prep), and would usually be closer to their mile race pace for much of the year; in other words, start slowly and gradually get faster over time. Try to make training groups. This develops team chemistry and keeps the runs ability appropriate. Youth coaches should always think about long term development You are doing great work; Keep it up

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