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Running distance at age 11

Answered By Mick Grant & John Molvar

Question

Recently my son asked to go for a run with me. He knew I was going to run a 5k on July the 4th and wanted to see if he could run a longer distance. We ran about 3 miles without any problem and he then ran the 5k with me. He ran a 28:00 total. He is 11 and a half and has always been athletic and plays a number or sports. Based on what I saw on your website it would appear that you might think he should not be running any longer distances at this time. He is interested in maintaining endurance and would like your suggestions. Is better off simply going out and running sprints and quarter and half mile repeats for now? We sure enjoy the camaraderie of running together and I look forward to when he can run with me on a regular basis. How long should he wait before he begins distance running. Thanks in advance for your response, John

Answer

Dear John, Fun running or jogging longer distances with your children is fine and ok. Racing 5k at 11 is not. The distinction is between what is fun and what is racing. You will know if it is fun. Developing speed and smooth efficient running form is more important at 11 than endurance. To develop distance running, weekly mileage and longer runs should increase over time. Next year he should run more than this year, etc. I hope you and your son can enjoy years of runing together! Fun first, Coach Mick and John