Kids running is a wonderful sport / activity where no one gets excluded. And if there’s one skill that kids have mastered at a young age it’s running.
The real challenge is similar to that of adults running: Make it FUN
If running is not viewed as a chore, kids will enjoy it and possibly even adopt it as a hobby for life.
Kids running teams in our area include runners from 6 years old and up.
The practices for the younger kids include light running 2-3 days a week with some games mixed in (the ‘fun’ part).
Here are a few ideas to keep it fun for the younger runners:
Make a large circle on a ball field or other open area and play this timeless classic. They’ll chase each other in circles and be so busy giggling they won’t realize they’re doing a ‘speed workout’! Try to even out the distribution of “goosing”, so everyone gets a chance to chase & be chased.
Use cones or another type of markers and split the group into teams. You can have them slap hands to avoid having a baton. Competition is another great way to divert the mind from physical exertion.
In this run, everyone lines up in a single file and starts jogging. The last runner sprints from the end of the column to the front, while the other runners cheer them on. If you have enough runners, try doing this in pairs – so there’s a mini-race to the front of the column. It’s a fun speed workout, for a kid’s cross-country team or running group.
- Hill sprints:
If you have a nice rolling hill to work with, try splitting the runners into small groups and have them race up the hill. If you have enough groups and a long enough hill, have the oldest kids delay their start and try to catch the younger kids. It can be a really fun game for the kids as they try to catch the others or try to avoid being caught!
Kids running is a great activity / sport that can lead to good life habits for years to come. If organized meets are a part of the program, be sure to log and record race times and measure their improvement. Recognition of their improvement will keep their interest and build their confidence.
The great thing about running, is that everyone ‘gets to play’ and the competition is largely with yourself (trying to get your best time).
Thanks for promoting kids’ running – the good habits you’re instilling in today’s youth will pay dividends tomorrow!