How to Train a Child for a 5K Run

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A great way to spend time with your child and practice a more active lifestyle in the process is running together. The rewards are actually triple fold—this sport offers a long-term chance to bond! Many parents are looking for a means to become closer with their children. Working toward a common goal is a definite step in the right direction. An excellent mutual objective is entering a 5K run. These tips are helpful to beginners and seasoned runners interested in bringing their young ones into this energizing activity.

  1. With your child’s input, determine your goal, write it down, and keep this motivation where you can see it, reminding you that this quest is attainable. Magnet this impetus to the refrigerator. This may also help you leave the ice cream alone in the freezer! In this initial discussion, choose a prize for achieving your aim—competing as a team on that 5K run.
  2. Purchase proper running shoes and attire for both you and your child/children. You can’t run if your feet hurt or you’re sweltering in sweatpants in the summer heat.
  3. A visit to a local or private track will allow you to measure your child’s ability. Ask him/her to jog around the track (speed not an issue) and record the distance he/she can comfortably run. These figures are useful in deciding your child’s capability at the moment and the distance to add in your preparation for the 5K.
  4. As your child’s running capabilities increase, start using a timer. Keeping track of your progress is encouraging and allows you to monitor your speed versus time.
  5. Every other day should be a rest day, which can be used for strength training, i.e., crunches, squats, pushups, and pullups. If you run with your child and exercise with him/her, you are helping keep both of you motivated. Learn about positive running techniques and share with your new running partner. You can find a multitude of guidelines and training schedules online. If you don’t know, Google it!
  6. Staying hydrated is very important. Take enough water on your runs to quench the thirst of exertion. You might want to include some electrolyte drinks.
  7. If you can enlist your child’s friends to accompany you on a training run, you will be giving him/her a chance to measure his/her ability against them as well as providing some peer camaraderie for your young athlete.

When the time has come and you actively participate in that 5K run, don’t believe that you have failed if you don’t finish or run the entire course. You’ve met your goal to get there and have fun! Family fun is a wonderful goal to pursue, and the time together makes every footstep in that run worth it. You can always walk or take small breaks. Tomorrow is another day and another run that you’ll train to ace.

Have fun for a good cause—your child’s and your own health and happiness. Everyone—old and young—wants to be special in someone’s eyes. Sharing a mutual goal is a good way to fulfill that need. At CASA Child Advocates of Montgomery County, we are devoted to help find safe, and loving “forever families” for children in the child welfare system due to abuse and neglect.

Looking for a fun run to participate in? Join us for the CASA Superhero Run on October 28th at The Woodlands Christian Academy in The Woodlands. We’ll be hosting 5K & 10K trail runs through W.G. Jones State Forest, and 1K Fun Run. Every child needs a hero… Abused children need SUPERHEROES!

Sign-up For The Annual Superhero Run!