Run a 5K with your kid!

Remember the last time you challenged yourself? Accomplishing a goal boosts self-esteem and increases your confidence to try new things. Wouldn’t that be a great gift for your child, too?

The distance of a 5K race is an attainable goal for most people. So lace up your running shoes and keep reading for what to know about planning a 5K race with your child.

Many people pick up running for exercise and weight loss, while others enjoy the challenge of training for a race. Running together as a family is a great way to connect with each other while getting fit at the same time. The distance of a 5K race is a reasonable 3.1 miles — a good distance goal for beginning runners.

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Most people can easily train to run a 5K in six to eight weeks, and there are training programs available on most running websites. The amount of time you commit to training depends on your current fitness level. If your child is already involved in a sport such as soccer or basketball, they may be ready to run a 5K with minimal training.

Age by age

Experts agree children should not be involved in a structured running routine before they are in kindergarten. Running at a young age should be an enjoyable part of their play. Younger children can run a “kiddie dash,” which is offered at most 5K race events.

Older elementary school kids are capable of running a few miles if they’re interested and having fun. If they experience any pain, however, it’s best to have them stop the activity until the pain is gone. Pre-teens have more stamina and maturity but are at higher risk for growth-related injuries as their leg bones continue to grow. Most children who run competitively do best when they are involved in a variety of sports, not just year-round running. Cross-training in several activities helps reduce injuries and fight burnout.

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You made it!

If you have ever run a race of any length, you know how incredible it feels when you finish. Setting a goal and accomplishing it is an amazing feeling and bringing your kids on board to share that feeling is even better. “I get so much out of running 5K races with the kids,” says Amy Dupuis, an avid runner and mother of two pre-teens. “Each child sets a personal goal before the race, and I enjoy being able to run alongside them and encourage them to reach that goal. They work so hard to meet their goal, which inspires me to run faster to keep up with them.”

Get out there and run! It’s a great experience for the whole family.

Tell us

Have you run a 5K race as a family? What advice do you have for other families who want to run one?

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