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Hard and fast every day?

Answered By Not an expert

Question

Dear Coach, My son and I argue constantly about how much he can safely run at his age. He is 11 and hasn't hit a growth spurt yet (65 pounds). He loves running and has run in several 5k's - his best time was 19:59. We took him to a physical therapist who recommended no real training until he is older and to limit 5k's to one per month. He still wants to run every day, hard and fast, and doesn't know how to take it easy. What would you recommend as maximum weekly or daily running? What do you think? (He also plays ice hockey and enjoys the drills as much as the games!) Thanks, Dawn Manley

Answer

Dear Dawn, My most experienced 11-12 year olds run about 20 miles per week as a maximum. We vary hard and easy runs and NEVER run road races longer than 1 mile. We do cross-country, which is 3k, and focus on the 400/800 in track. We practice usually five days a week during the season and run only on trails or grass, if possible. One measure we use to monitor training is resting heart rate. It will vary day-to-day and even week-to-week, but over time, the resting heart rate should go down. When an athlete's resting HR is above his norm, we will ease off his training (intensity and/or volume) until it goes back down. Have fun, running is a lifelong sport., Coach Mick and John

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