How fast/far should I run with my 7 year old? (Read 2861 times)

Amok in Sacramento

    My daughter, who turned 7 in February, is showing signs that she might grow into a decent runner with the right encouragement. I'm rehabbing a cycling-induced leg injury after nearly a year off of running and running fairly slowly right now and keeping my runs to around 5 klicks at @11-12 pace.


    She will be visiting me (I'm divorced) with her older brother (who doesn't like to run, he's a swimmer) the next two weeks, and I'd like to take her with me in the mornings and see how she does, but I don't want to wear her out, either. What has been others' experiences with taking their young children running with them? Thanks. SAC

    L Train

      I just recently have been taking my 7 YO son on a few runs.  He loves the time together, and I think it really gives him a feeling of accomplishment.  Our pace is the same as you say, and we started at 1 mile and have gone to 1.5.  I won't go further than that with him for a while because I don't want him to have a bad experience and then no longer want to do it.  Good luck!


        I would try to keep it as much like play as possible.  A totally steady pace in a perfectly straight line is boring.  Try throwing in some slight sprints.  Stop to look at anything interesting along the way.    Do what every you can do to make it as fun as possible.  I don't think you have to worry about over doing it.  Most children when they are tired, they just quit.  They will let you know when they have had enough.

          A little different situation, but I take my 4 year old out with me every other week or so (whenever he asks).  My keys for making this time enjoyable:


          • I try to keep the pace slow ... he wants to run fast but cannot do so for more than ~50 yards (then gets discouraged if he has to stop)
          • If he seems to be slowing down, I find a point close by and say "let's see if we can make it to that mailbox/driveway/etc.".  Having a series of these mini-accomplishments makes him enjoy the run tremendously
          • We never go over ~1 mile (again, he's only 4), and walk whenever he wants / needs to.  Sometimes this means we only walk, but this is becoming more rare
          • I try to separate my own run, and not go out for a "real" run afterwards.  I don't want him getting discouraged that he's slowing me down or that I'm running with him for his benefit only

          Misinformation Officer

            My 6 1/2 yo son wears. us. out. so we do not think twice about taking him on a run with us, IF he suggests the idea.  He INSISTED on running a 5K with me 2 weeks ago, so I just let him keep his own pace and trotted along behind him, and he finished in 36:16, then wanted to ride bikes together later that same day!


            I'd say, don't push it, but enjoy the time together.  We have a great time running, but only b/c it is DS's idea when and for how long he wants to join us.