6 year-old wants to run too (Read 1213 times)


    I have just started running again for the spring. My 6 year-old son has been a great runner since birth. (He was so fat when he was 18 months old I joked that he would be a 6'6 340 lb cross country runner). Anyhow, he really wants to go on my longer runs with me. I worry that running much more than 1-1.5 miles is too much for his little body. He probably has the conditioning to do 2-3 (i would think) I have refused to let him go further than 1 -1.5 with me. What are your thoughts? Sara
      There have been children as young as 5 who have run marathons (before most marathons required runners to be either 14 or 18), but that doesn't necessarily mean it's healthy. My personal feeling is that more than 1-2 miles for a 6 year old is too much. My XC coach's son was the same way (~20 years ago). His approach was to set limits ... at 6 his son could run ~1 mile, at 7 it was 1.5, at 8 ~2 miles (plus 1 mile races), etc. I don't think he had any quantifiable evidence that the miles were bad, but he erred on the side of caution and wanted his son to enjoy running (he ended up a national class XC runner, so it seemed to work).

        That sounds like good advice. I think he really enjoys our running talks. He always tells me all of this thoughts and dreams...its sort of special for both of us. One mile is good for me. I don't ever want it to be "not fun" or feel like I am pressuring him to do so. I think he wants to be like me Smile I Sara
          First of all, that's awesome. If you could give your son the love of running as opposed to video games, he's set. I have an almost 5 year old who wants to start running with me. From what I've learned, there is some risk that excessive running can damage the growth plates but no one can really define 'excessive'. It's a bit arbitrary. Most people stress making sure that younger kids run slow and enjoy themselves. Take it slow and steady and see how he reacts. Nothing more than 5k in any one bout, and nothing other than easy runs. Some people have run marathons when they've been 5 and have been lifelong runners. That's obviously the extreme, but I say, see what he can do! EDIT: Apparently I've repeated what LucyLindy said, I swear I started my response when there were no replies!

          Creator of RunForth@robraux | shodless.com


            First of all, that's awesome. If you could give your son the love of running as opposed to video games, he's set.
            He loves his video games too! A mix is good though. He has done a few of the kid fun runs when I have done races. He almost always wins. LOL. My favorite line from my 3 year-old "Mom why does Andrew get a medal...and you don't?" ME: "Because Mommy is painfully slow Smile"
              Maybe let him run 1 to 1.5 miles, then have him grab his bike to ride the rest with you?
                For a 6 yr old I would think that 1 mile is plenty. Don't "make them run slow" - this will restrict their enjoyment of running. If they want to let fly and run fast then let them. Just don't let them run far. I see my 4 year old niece having a ball sprinting down a gentle 50m grass slope barefoot and think "wow, this is fantastic training for her - and she thinks it's all a game". She sprints down and then walks back up for "another go". She may do this 10 - 12 times before she gets tired and looks for something else to do. As far as i know she has never run further than about 150 - 200m without stopping. The best distance runner in my school ran from the age of 6. The 100 and the 200m only until he was about 10. Then he was allowed to run the 400 and 800m. He also did as many other events as possible: long jump, high jump, javelin, hurdles. By the time he came to secondary school (age 12) he was running 3 miles about 3 times per week (and had more speed than anyone in the school). I'm waffling. 1 mile is loads for a 6 yr old. Forget stories of 5yr old Indian boys running ultras.

                Prince of Fatness

                  I agree that you don't want to rush him into a bunch of mileage at only 6 years old. One thing you may want to look at is that some of the bigger races have kids races the day before. These races aren't competitive, but may satisfy his hunger to participate. Plus you get some quality time with him as a bonus.



                    I think it's great that he wants to run. both my daughters want to run with me. The older one has run 1 mile (she's 8) but now I think she can get ready for a 5K. But since I have the younger one too, (she's 5), its a little tricky getting the running in. good luck. I think that it's so much fun to get out there and run with your kids.

                    12-week layoff

                      I started a thread about this very topic about a month ago. My daughter wanted to run, and I wanted her to be able to run. I got a lot of good advice, and we've been running about 15 minutes together after school, then a longer run/walk on Sundays, with the dog. She ends up running about a mile each day. If she doesn't want to, we don't. If she wants to go further, we don't. So far, so good.

                        Thanks for the advice. I think we will still with or little 1 mile jogs and call it quits. The bike might be a good idea if I can keep up with him.