Kids love running, they just don’t know it, yet. Take a look at any school
playground during recess and you will see kids of all ages engaging in many
types of activities and games that revolve around running. From soccer to
tag, to basketball and hide and seek, kids are running every single day!
To encourage kids to run, activities must be fun and also safe. Here are
seven tips to help get your child into a pair of running shoes and loving
running for life.
Warm up, before you lace up. Start your child with a few warm up and
dynamic stretches (moving stretches, not static or stationary stretches).
As a parent, your goal is to ensure that your child avoids any injury while
running. Moving stretches gets the blood flowing, the heart pumping, the muscles
warmed up and allows for less potential injuries. To warm up, try jumping
jacks or jogging in place with high knees. To make it fun, turn it into a
contest to see how many the kids can do in one minute.
Keep pace in mind. Kids will run as fast as they can and have a
lengthy endurance. For kids, the motto is: “full speed ahead!” A great way
to teach your children that they need to have control when running is to
have them run at their fastest pace (laps, time or distance) for as long as
they are able. Have your child repeat this step, completing the same amount of
laps, time or distance at a moderate consistent pace, this allows your child
to hold a conversation as they run. Once this pace is determined, keep
practicing at that pace.
Technique is important. Teach your child the proper form first:
Stand up straight and shoulders back.
Your child should be able to fully fill their lungs, slouching
will hurt their back and not allow them to breathe properly.
Arms should swing forward to back, not side to side.
Thumbs should lightly graze the hip bone.
Head up and looking forward.
Most importantly kids need to know how to breathe. Slow deep
breaths at first in the nose out the mouth. Eventually they will be
breathing in and out through their mouth only as they continue.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Kids may be able to run for great lengths
of time, but they need to hydrate just like an adult. Water is needed for
any run under an hour. If your child can keep going after that, you have a
super star! One thing to note, make sure they drink an electrolyte
replacement or sports drink!
Proper Running Shoes. For safety purposes, make sure your
child has the proper running shoes. Children (and adults) cannot run in
their skate shoes, dress shoes or everyday tennis shoes as much as they’d
like to or tell you they can. Lace up!
Make it fun. Give your child a challenge. Have them set a goal for
themselves. Reward them for their efforts.
Cool down, before you sit down. It’s important for your child to
cool down and stretch after every single run. This is the time to sit and
do static stretching. Proper stretching after a run will ensure their next
run is enjoyable and injury free.
By Laura Ouimet, Dana Point Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, and a
marathon/ triathlon coach and trainer. To learn more about the Dana Point
Turkey Trot and to sign up, visit <http://www.turkeytrot.com>