Firstly it’s obvious that young kids do 5k runs. Kids as young as 5, maybe even younger. The question really is, “Is 5k running good for kids?”
To answer that question I would say “Yes…but”.
Running 5k is fine for young kids IF they enjoy it. It’s fine if they are allowed to stop when they want. They should not be pushed…it WILL eventually put them off unless they are VERY highly competitive/motivated. Ultimately you won’t be able to FORCE you kids to run once they have become bored or unmotivated.
The BUT comes to races. Such as the parkrun races/time trials or whatever you want to call them. There are some sportingly-competitive 10 year olds that I know who run 5k in less than 24 minutes. Which is pretty good. I’m sure there are many kids that could do it much faster than that as well. Some kids cold probably do that ‘naturally’ with no specific run training but I would imagine to go faster requires TRAINING. And
I’m not sure I would encourage my 10 year old to do 5k-specific training.
So run training is fine eg for football, running 5k is fine, racing 5k is maybe fine once a month or so. It’s the frequent and specific training that I would query. Going back to the football run training. Whilst endurance and stamina are obviously important to football and whilst professional footballers do cover more than 10km in a game I think 5k-specific training would not put as much emphasis on the amount of speedwork that you would need for football.
I am not a child psyiologist but I would also imagine that the child (pre-puberty) does not have a properly developed body (muscles and skeleton). Intense training could cause lasting damage…and for what benefit? Is it worth the risk?
That’s probably why those clever people at parkrun do the 2k runs for kids once a month. Far more sensible.
If you want fit kids get them to cross-train. Who knows? Maybe then they might discover a sport they love rather than one you want them to love or are inadvertently making a mistake getting them to focus on as it is good for you as an adult.
Then again it (run training) would be better than the Playstation wouldn’t it?
- 5k Today: My Bushy Parkrun Not So Good (the5krunner.com)
- 5k running: What if I come last? Should I enter? (the5krunner.com)
- Another Parkrun PB (afterthomas.wordpress.com)
- 5k PB – Again! At Parkrun (the5krunner.com)