How to Train a Child for a 5K Run

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A 5K run is an exciting athletic challenge for a child. The distance is great enough to have to train well in order to compete but not so far as to be impossible for most kids. Parents need to be prepared to help a child who expresses interest in running this distance. Map out a plan to train your child in terms of her technique and endurance. This is an opportunity to increase the parent-child bond as you work toward a satisfying goal.

Step 1

Write down your plan of action in a notebook. Involve your child in the planning process by having him share suggestions. List daily goals such as adding a fourth of a kilometer to your training runs. Leave room to record distances and times when you practice.

Step 2

Buy good shoes for your child for his training. According to Orange County Foot and Ankle Group, you should always outfit your child in shoes specifically constructed for running to guard against injury and help aid performance. Take him to a sporting goods or athletic shoe store to have his feet measured by a knowledgeable sales person who will take into account arch height and foot width when making purchase recommendations.

Step 3

Take your child to a local track for a base run. Tell your child to jog around the track at a comfortable pace. Note the distance she is able to run without stopping and the time it took her to complete that distance. These starting measures will allow you to decide how much distance you need to add overall and what completion time your child should aim for.

Step 4

Run with your child every other day. The day off in between needs to be taken for rest and recovery. Work on strength training during off days by performing crunches, squats, pushups and pullups. Do these exercises with your child to help keep him motivated.

Step 5

Work on your child's running technique. Observe his natural running stride and encourage him to maintain it during the entire run rather than just at the beginning. Teach him to keep his head up and still while he runs so his overall posture will be natural and correct. Mark Springer in an article for Kidsrunning.com, says kids need to lean forward very slightly and must never slouch their shoulders when completing a distance run.

Step 6

Take plenty of water with your for runs. Hydration is important for energy and endurance. Encourage your child to drink frequently before and during runs -- and even more after finishing practice.

Step 7

Enlist a few of your child's friends to run with her during some practices. This allows her to measure herself against peers. It also provides entertainment and camaraderie while working on training for the 5K run.

Tip

Run with your child to show him you are invested in his pursuit. Model good running form and keep a positive attitude so he will do the same.

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