I've been running seriously for two years and have gotten the whole family into the act.  My wife caught the bug and I think my eight year old daughter has caught it too.

 

Last night she, my daughter, ran three miles for the first time with her mom last night and I'm so proud.  She said it was hard and stopped to walk several times in the last mile, but, far more importantly, chose to slow down and walk rather than complaining about running and wanting to stop. 

So, here's the question and it may be a stupid one:  Is she too young to be running these distances?  She's excited about running her first 5K race with her Mom in three weeks and I want to make sure she's not doing something that she's physiologically not ready for.

 

This is within the context of good health and fitness and not being stupid.   I've stressed good form and running relaxed and listening to her body and so far she's having a blast.

 

How young is to young too long distance for fun?

 

 

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My kids, aged 10 & 7, have both been running for ages. In fact, I think they probably would have run everywhere from the moment they learned how, except people were always telling them to walk. I never talk to them about form, because theirs looks a lot better than mine. My 7 yr old never comes 'for a run', but we'll be walking the dog and end up running 75% of it, just running along to keep up with the dog, or to chase after balls. My 10 yr old will come along for runs, mostly in the local woods with me. He loves haring down the hills, jumping over obstacles and leaping off of hillsides. For him, its a rush. We never go on the road, because I think all the pavement will be bad for their joints. I never ask them to run if they don't want to, and if doesn't look like play for them, I wont encourage them. I think for them, they see running within the context of simply going - if they're walking & they feel like running, they just do (sometimes for over a mile) and I never say "stop running".

Eight is not to young to run a 5k, As long as she doesn't push it. I believe she will be alright up to 6 miles as long as she trains regularly. I do not recomend her doing more than 4 miles 4 times a week though. I believe it would also help the question if you include the pace that she is running at.

She's not running particularly fast.  In fact she walked several times.  I'm not sure of her pace but it was notably over a 10 min/mile.

 

I'm excited to report my 5-yr old son has just started running in his school's running club.  They run a mile, twice a week and he runs the whole time.  I can't actually be there because of work but I love to hear about it when the get home in the evening.

My 7 year old also participates in his school's running club. Their goal is to run a marathon a little at a time. I know he doesn't overtrain because he talks nonstop while he runs! :)

His stride is perfect. I love to watch him go. As far as shoes are concerned, I am very pleased that Merrell makes a minimalist shoe for kids. We talk about keeping his feet strong and he does some of the exercises right along with me.

I think your daughter will do great. It's clear that you both are keeping it fun. The walk and run strategy sounds like it is working for her. Kids know when to stop. We adults could take a lesson from that. :-)

My 7 year old son just completed the 5K Dr. Bob Run at Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence. He competed in the under 12 category and came in 5th! The course was very scenic so there were no complaints of boredom along the way. He was the youngest runner out there and the crowd really cheered him on. The positive reinforcement of the social praise went a LONG way with him, let me tell you.

I've been asking him every day since how his legs feel and he says "great" so my concerns about the physical toll have disappeared. 

I'm interested to know how your daughter does. Keep us posted!

My 4 year old ran his first half mile non-stop just last week. He asked to go run with me so I took him and he surprised the heck out of me. Granted, he damn near sprints everywhere he goes but that's not far considering our apartment isn't huge lol!

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