River Run for Orphans

How to Train Kids to Run a Mile

How to Train Kids to Run a Mile

original article by Jenn Hadd

Make sure this is an activity the child wants to participate in. It should be fun for them. Forcing them to do something they do not want to do will not help them stay active in the long run.

Always warm up with a fun activity for at least 5 minutes. You can do something as simple as writing different activities (like jumping jacks, bunny hop, jump on one foot, etc) on pieces of paper and having the child draw out slips and then both doing whatever activity is written on the paper. Or you can have the child pick your warm up so that they feel involved.

Training KidsYou want the child to have proper form without getting too focused on running perfectly. Make sure they keep their back and neck straight, arms pumping to the side and tell them to smile. This relaxes the muscles and reinforces that the activity should be fun.

Make sure the child is properly attired: good running shoes, socks, shoelaces tied, and clothes loose enough to run in. Avoid overly long pants or bulky jackets. Also make sure they are dressed for the weather.

Emphasize pacing themselves. Children get excited and want to go out and run fast, which will wear them out fast.
If the child is not used to running, start with a quarter of a mile and use the Galloway method: have them jog for 30 seconds, walk for a minute, jog for 30 seconds, etc, until you have finished the quarter of a mile. Each time you run with the child, increase the jogging sections. The second session, you can jog for 45 seconds, walk for a minute, the third session, job for a minute, walk for a minute, etc.

As the child progresses, increase the distance. This will be a subjective task, depending on how well the child is doing. If you have a specific race day, you can plan the increase in distance by progressing up to the one-mile mark the week before the race.
Cool down by walking or stretching for at least five minutes.
The week before the race, take it easy on the running, and build up the excitement of the big day.

Be encouraging, no matter what. Half the job of coaching a child is being a cheerleader. Always end each session with a 'Good job!' or high-five.

Never take the training too seriously. You should have fun too, and remember that the point is to have a healthy, active child, not to create the next Olympian.