How to Run a 5k with Kids


Running has become a hot new favorite sport for families with children of all ages.  Whether you are rolling tots in a stroller or taking stride with your older kids, the 5K is the perfect distance for children to take their first steps into the racing world.  Running with the family can create memories to last a lifetime as well as start your kids on a journey to lifelong fitness.  This article will provide you with a few steps toward successful racing experiences with your whole family.

Shoes are the most important purchase you will make when starting your child out in racing.  Do not think that even a short distance can be traveled in typical tennis shoes from the local shoe mart.  Good shoes make the difference between a successful race and an injurious one.  Running shoes for kids should be assessed by the local running store where a veteran runner can take a look for pronation or stride correction that needs to be made with a good pair of shoes.

Training should be taken slowly enough to allow kids to build a training base and handle the steady distance with comfort.  This means that at least six to eight weeks should be devoted to training, and it should begin at the child’s pace.  Slowly build distance with recessions and recovery runs included in the plan.  It is a good idea to include a fun run into the training program to allow the child to get a taste for the race to curb any nerves that might pop up before the longer runs.  Successful experiences are the best way to build confidence in new runners of all ages.

Cross training is a great way to help kids get ready for both a training program and the race it produces.  This can fight fatigue, hold interest and keep kids fit enough to keep going when the running gets tough.  Running is a great aerobic exercise that is made better when complimented with workouts that target different muscle groups.  This will build better strength as well as promote endurance and recovery from running.

Hydration is key to successful training for runners of any age.  Children are no exception.  It is important to increase water intake by at least 30% when training for a race or even starting to exercise.  Incorporate foods that are rich in water content as well as nutritional value.

The day of the race, make sure that the children do not try anything new that may throw them off from their training.  The 5K experience should be a fun one that leaves the desire for repetition.  Arrive early and allow the kids to get a feel for racing.  If there is an expo, make sure to stop by and allow kids to take in the experience through the atmosphere.  When tired legs and lungs lead to fatigue, the energy of the race can carry runners a long way to the finish line.  Be sure to take pictures and revel in the experience so that the kids get to bask in their accomplishments… then be sure to sign up for another race!

This article was written for by Kari H., a guest author

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