How to Increase Running Speed for Kids

a group of young boys walking across grass
Make running fun to increase a child's speed. (Image: Sean Murphy/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Most children enjoy running, and they get even more excited about running when they can run fast. Speed is a valuable aspect of being successful in any sport. Good running technique significantly affects how fast a child can run but does not always come naturally to a child. Coaches and parents can use drills, motivation and nutrition to increase a child’s speed.

Step 1

Tell the children to pretend they are answering two telephones, one on the outside of each hip, while running. This helps them focus on bringing their hands to their hip and then take the hand up to the same ear. Running using this technique can increase momentum from the arms and improve the children’s running times.

Step 2

Encourage the children to run fast like their favorite animal. Tell them to imagine running like a cheetah or a dog. Or use other visualization images such as running on a hot floor to help children understand how to get faster.

Step 3

Direct the children to do long distance runs, easy runs and fun runs on separate days to keep them motivated. Using different runs also decreases the risk of injury by training the muscles in different ways.

Step 4

Facilitate relays or races to keep fast runs fun.

Step 5

Provide the proper fuel for children before, during and after a run to keep their bodies energized and strong. Offer carbohydrate-rick snacks before runs, such as peanut butter and apples or yogurt and berries. Encourage children to eat food that contain protein and carbohydrates after runs, such as hard-boiled eggs, snack bar or nuts.

Step 6

Show the children how to stretch after each run. Increasing flexibility increases how fast their legs can move. Make stretching fun for the children by having them lead the stretch sessions or use games like Simon Says.

Tip

Make sure the children have running shoes that fit their feet and are not worn out.

Ask children how they feel before each run to ensure they feel well enough for the physical challenge.

Warning

Do not increase intensity or distance by more than 10 percent each week. Build workouts slowly to prevent injuries.

Do not let children go more than three to four hours without eating. It is best for them to eat soon after a running workout.

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