Motivated by General Geekery

When Should Kids Start Running?

Written By: der5er - Jul• 07•09

Consensus: Age 5

I had a quick conversation on Twitter after my most recent post, Race Training Begins, with a couple of local friends to see if their kids would be running on Saturday.  The gist of it quickly became: What age should kids start running?

We started Cooper with his first race at age 5, but he’d been my “coach” in the stroller at about age 3.  Sarah started at age 9 (at the same race as Cooper), but I wasn’t running much when she was younger.  She might have enjoyed it. Leanna has never had any interest in running, and, at 13, I don’t see that changing in the near future.  When asked if she wanted to run that race last fall with Cooper and Sarah she responded, “I ran a mile in gym class, that’s enough for me.” Maybe, if I had been running when she was younger, this story would be different also.

So, when should kids start running?  I checked the website for the race we’re doing this Saturday,  The youngest runners they let register is age 5.  I also checked the Richmond Marathon website.  No, kids under 18 don’t run the marathon!  The Richmond Times-Dispatch Kids Run is open to ages 5-12.  It also looks like the 8k is open to those under age 9, but  they don’t specify the youngest age to enter.

A quick trip around Google reveals several pages with varying ages.  So, it seems that there isn’t a specific age from this search.  Most sites give advice to keep it fun for the kids.  Fun, that’s what Sarah and Cooper see in it.  We convinced Cooper to race last November by showing him Sarah’s shirt and race bib and letting him know he’d get a medal!

So, get your kids running at any age they show interest.  They may not be able to race until they’re 5 years old, but if they want to run when they’re 3, go for it!

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One Comment

  1. It’s not too late for Leanna to learn to love running. But you are right, if you had run when she was younger, you would have encouraged her differently.

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