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?
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.
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!