12

Half Marathon for my 11 year old (Read 2244 times)

Jedi Knight


    Just want some thoughts on my 11 year old entering a half marathon.  The short story....

     

    We are going to Utah to visit family June 25th.  We've done two 5Ks so far this year (his time is around the 25 minute mark).  he probably runs about 2-3 miles three times a week plus has soccer practice & tennis practice weekly.  He's participated in the last 2 years in about twenty 5K runs, so he is very comfortable running in a race.  I'm with his younger brothes in the 5K, so the general rule is "Hey Nathan, just wait for Dad and your brothers at the finish line!!!).

     

    I'm nervous that he won't be able to handle the 13 mile and I won't be running in it..  He says he is able to but I wonder if he can fathom what 13 miles is.

     

    Last summer he did a 9 mile trail run in about 91 minutes.  He was exhausted but did a great job.  The race we are looking at is in American Fork Canyon, Utah, and it starts at 6500 feet and ends at 4800 feet and it really a long gradual down hill race.

     

    Just wondering if anyone had any thoughts on it.  Today is May 1st, and I thought about upper his distance to get him psyched for this race.

     

    Thanks in advance.

      Have you checked the age limits on the race? The half marathon I am doing this fall restricts registration for the half to runners 14 years of age and older.

      "Don't feel like running today...suck it up and run ...you're an athlete." (John Stanton, founder & owner of The Running Room)

       

      Three half marathons later, I got a number. Half Fanatic #9292. :)

      Jedi Knight


        Yeah, the website says there is a 14 & Under group, but of course I will verify.  I have no issues if he had to run a 10k, I just a "Nervous Nellie" that I imagine at the Mile 11 mark he totally craps out and of course his Dad won't be around to help him.

         

        Just want to see if experienced runners think I'm setting my kid up for failure.

          I would just make sure he is prepared, I don't care how old you are, you can't transition from a 3 miler to a 13 miler without proper training. He is still developing, so make sure there is adequate time for him to train and adjust his body for the long run. Best of luck to both of you!

            I dont think I'd let my son do a Half under these circumstances unless he has decent base mileage and a few 10 milers under his belt........

             

            Kids that age think they can do anything and in the case of a young kid, he may or may not be able to do so.........I (like you) would have no problem letting him enter a 5 miler or a 10K but there's a lot of difference in what he has done and what he wants to do........

             

            My vote is NO until he gets some decent 'running' training that will carry him thru the distance with some level of success.....

            Champions are made when no one is watching

            MrH


              As you've asked for opinions, I'd vote a definite no until he gets some training that's appropriate and some longer races. I think it's a poor choice for an adult to try a half marathon at altitude when so unprepared, but a child running alone?  

              The process is the goal.

              Men heap together the mistakes of their lives, and create a monster they call Destiny.

                The good news is, it sounds like he wants to do the race.  The bad news is, he hasn't trained for it at all.  I would agree with some of the other folks that made similar comments, I would not recommend anyone run a half marathon with an average training base of 3 miles/day.  There is a reason why training plans/programs are popular for races that are 1/2 marathon or longer.  It is because you need some kind of plan the first time you do this distance. 

                  Don't underestimate the downhill nature of the race. Assuming the course profile is accurate, it looks like from about miles 4 through 7, the course drops close to 1000ft (maybe 700ft) (about 4.5%, which isn't particularly steep, but might be noticeable after 3mi).  Admittedly, the lines are hard to read. Overall, the course seems to average about 2.5% decline, which IS a fun downhill. So except for that one pitch, the downhill probably isn't that big a deal.

                   

                  If he's done a 9-mi trail race (or just a training run), then he may be most of the way given that HM training pgms sometimes top out at 10mi long runs. Trails are usually kinder to one's feet and legs than roads are but usually have more hills so he might already be there. But it sounds like his recent runs are a lot shorter - BUT he does run in soccer, etc. Do you do any hiking or backpacking where his legs might be getting strengthened for downhills?

                   

                  There are ways to train adults for downhills, but given the nature of the adaptation, I'm not sure that would apply to an 11yo. OTOH, 11 yo may not need the adaptations.Wink  If you have some hills near you, you could try some training on that or use lunges or other leg strengthening.

                  http://www.pponline.co.uk/encyc/fell-running-strengthens-an-athletes-hamstrings-and-quads-517?#

                  http://www.sportsinjurybulletin.com/archive/quadriceps.html

                  (some overlap in the 2 articles)

                   

                  Is there any adult supervision available for him on the bus ride or in the race, like someone you know in the area? Many times, racers under 18 (or 16 or 12 or whatever) need to have a parent with them.

                   

                  Also, the 14 and under age group is for the 5k and involves lower registration, plus separate age group. I couldn't find anything on the HM to see if there is an age limit or if it's just that everyone is lumped together.

                   

                  Just some things to think about.

                   

                  I'll admit the HM looks like a more fun course than the 5k, given how it starts in the mountains.

                   

                   

                  (This time of year, I regularly train on a road hill that is about 1300ft of climb in 3.7mi, then back down again. That *is* noticeable esp. early in season, until I've had more asphalt time on legs on hills.)

                  "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog
                  DanMoriarity


                    Why not suggest he run a shorter race? I ran a half marathon at age 11 but I would never suggest it for anyone, including my own kids, knowing what I know now. 5km races are plenty long enough for kids this age, IMO.

                       

                      I'm nervous that he won't be able to handle the 13 mile and I won't be running in it..  He says he is able to but I wonder if he can fathom what 13 miles is.

                       

                       

                       

                       

                      personally I think you should be very nervous about your son running in this race!  this may be one of those times (there will be many more) where the parent has to say no.  so you are "thinking" of having him up his mileage now, May 1st for a Hm 7 1/2 wks away?  going from 2-3 miles/day to running a HM?  sure he is young & also has soccer & tennis but those are both a different kind of running & not in the heat/elevation of Utah. Curious of where you are from & what the terrain & weather is like compared to what it will be in Utah at the end of JUNE!  Obviously you know your son better than any of us, but add one more to those posting here that would not recommend this. just MHO

                        Last summer he did a 9 mile trail run in about 91 minutes.  He was exhausted but did a great job.  The race we are looking at is in American Fork Canyon, Utah, and it starts at 6500 feet and ends at 4800 feet and it really a long gradual down hill race.

                         

                         

                        If he can do a 9 mile trail run, I don't see any reason why he couldn't run 13 road race (it is a road race correct?) as long he gets some longer runs in by then.  At least get to a 10 mile training run and have a go at it.  How was his training last year when he ran the 9 miler?

                          FWIW, here's the race report of a 12yo and his brother (10yo) - Top of Utah HM. BUT their family runs a lot and the kids run at school, and their race distances were supervised as they grew up. It can be done safely, but it's not clear that your son has trained at the same level as these kids have done. I had to laugh as they played basketball after the HM. (The Dad let his older son post reports on his account on usenet, and it was fun watching them develop over the years as their distances got longer and they got into hs competition. If you search on TenKMan in that group, you will find more background on how they developed.)

                          http://tinyurl.com/3mcf3jg

                          "So many people get stuck in the routine of life that their dreams waste away. This is about living the dream." - Cave Dog
                          Jedi Knight


                            thanks all for the responses....there was some good insightful info.  I actually found another 10k/5k race that same day in Lehi, Utah, where we will be visiting (we're from Philly, PA).  Most likely the 11 y/o will do the 10k with my brother, and my younger son, Noah,  (age 7) will do the 5K with me.  No worries about Noah, he's been doing 5Ks since last summer.  (His PR is 28 minutes, but usually we come in around 30min).

                             

                            I guess I'm sorta bummed as what more fun, running and seeing some kick @$$ canyon views or some city streets.  Oh well, his time will come.

                             

                            Again, thanks all.

                             

                            Mark

                              thanks all for the responses....there was some good insightful info.  I actually found another 10k/5k race that same day in Lehi, Utah, where we will be visiting (we're from Philly, PA).  Most likely the 11 y/o will do the 10k with my brother, and my younger son, Noah,  (age 7) will do the 5K with me.  No worries about Noah, he's been doing 5Ks since last summer.  (His PR is 28 minutes, but usually we come in around 30min).

                               

                              I guess I'm sorta bummed as what more fun, running and seeing some kick @$$ canyon views or some city streets.  Oh well, his time will come.

                               

                              Again, thanks all.

                               

                              Mark

                               

                              Glad you choose this route.  If you were running it as well I would have been all for it.  If you are not then no way would I let him run this.  It is not dependant on if he could run it by himself or not.  It is leaving an 11 year old alone to run this race.

                               

                              I freak out about what I am going to do in the middle of a race if something happens to me.  I can't imagine how panicked a little kid would be in the middle of a place he does not know.  Plus I don't trust other people.  Someone might try to take advantage of the moment.  Not much of a reason to tempt fate in my eyes.  Glad you are not and good luck with the 10K race. 

                              2014 Goals: (Yeah I suck)

                              • Sub 22  5K
                              • Sub 1:35 1/2 marathon 
                              • Sub 3:25:00 Marathon
                              MrH


                                Plus I don't trust other people.  Someone might try to take advantage of the moment.  

                                 

                                Why don't you post some crime-scene photos while you're at it.

                                The process is the goal.

                                Men heap together the mistakes of their lives, and create a monster they call Destiny.

                                12