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9 year old

Answered By Mick Grant & John Molvar


Hi, I saw your column on the web and am hoping you can provide me some guidelines/advice. For the past several months, my son (age 9) and I have been running together on weekends. We run between 3 miles and 5 miles, have run one 5K, plan another this weekend and were notching up the distance for an eventual 10K later in the year. I noticed you aren't recommending that long a distance for his age group. Are there particular physical concerns that are contributing to limiting the recommended distance for a young runner? Lastly, he appears to run on his toes rather than having his heels strike first. In your experience, does that present a training concern? Many thanks for your comments, Joyce


Dear Joyce, I have many reasons for recommending that kids do not run that far. The main reason is I don't believe kids are physically strong enough to handle the distance. Plenty of kids have run that far (10k), but that doesn't make it a good idea. I have concerns about bone development. Running should be approached with a long term approach. Another reason is that I don't think kids enjoy the experience which defeats the whole purpose of running. Kids must have positive experiences with running. If your son is running on his toes, I would check his achilles and overall muscle flexibility. He definitely shouldn't do lots of distance running on his toes. Fun first, Coach Mick and John

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