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My son is 12 and running since he was 6

Answered By Mike Fleming

Question

Hi coach, my son is 12 yrs old. He has been running since he was 6. We started doing 1/4 mile per day and worked up in 1/4 to 1/2 mile increments. He is now up to 20 miles a week in 5 days of running with a longest run of 6 miles. We do this long run every 3 to 4 weeks. He does 5k in 19:50, 2 mile in 12:30 and 1 mile road race time of 5:30. Question is considering his running age and actual age, what is a safe amount of mileage to let him run per week, and at what age should we start with more challenging training runs, ie light tempo and intervals?

Answer

Warriorrunner: Thank you for the opportunity to answer your training questions. At this point in his development I would suggest not increasing his mileage until after puberty. Right now his body is still growing and tendons, joints, and ligaments are still developing and getting stronger. If you continue to increase his mileage it may become too much for his body and will start to break down and may cause permanent damage. My philosophy is never over train but under train so injuries are at a minimum especially before puberty. I would suggest adding some variety such as strides and short easy tempo runs within his existing mileage. Start slowly and run on soft surfaces. He can also work on plyometrics, agility drills, and try other fun linear activities like swimming. You want your child to have all around fitness. That being said I would highly recommend no structured workouts until after puberty.

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