Getting a 9 year old to go a little faster

My son wants to do the Race the Train 5K in August. I have gradually got him so that he can do 2.3 miles without stopping, but he doesn't really have much confidence, and his progress is very slow. However much I cajole him he won't speed up at all, because he is worried about not making it home.

Any suggestions how I get him to speed up just a bit? Is it to do a few shorter but faster runs, so that he gets used to going a bit faster, or what? Suggestion please.


  • If he can run the full distance he is fine no matter the pace.

    If he cant then speeding up wont help.

    No matter the age your ability to stay on your feet running comes before pace.

    If he can do the 5k on the day that will be the confidence boost he needs to try to go faster.

    Good fortune to him

    If he does it a new pair of shoes i think. Dont tell him though;)

  • To be honest.he is only 9.why are you trying to pressurise him already......

    at that age sport should be fun......he should do his own pace and what he wants to do......

    if you pressurise him you will turn him away from running for years.......also you are in danger of making him think that his efforts are no good and a disappointment to you and so he will lose confidence in his abilities.......

    just let him do his own pace....and have a laugh and a joke with him .make him enjoy the time you spend together without any pressure...........
  • Yeah, I'd second that.  At his age, it should be about fun (remember 'it's not the winning that counts, it's the taking part'?)  That's especially true with a nine year old.  Don't put him off running by making him associate it with being pressured.
  • The fact he has brought himself to running  rather than it being brought to him shows he has found some connection with it though he probably cant articulate it fully.

    Though I can see its hard for a parent  to stand back I think you have to.

    This maybe one of his first chances to see what he can achieve on his own.

    Isnt that why any of us run?

  • Definitely keep it fun. But also, if you want to build his confidence don't cajole him to run faster, instead give him loads of positive feedback - "hey you are a really good runner", "you are getting faster all the time", "you're getting really fit, must be all the running you're doing". It doesn't matter if you have to fib a bit!
  • I'd be very cautious about pushing him too hard if he is already "worried" about making it home then it doesn't sound much fun.
  • He's 9 and he wants to run long distance - do you know how unusual that is?

    Celebrate that fact and do as much as you can to encourage him by letting him do it at his own pace and in his own time with plenty of praise. Wait until HE says he wants to run faster. And as everyone else said, make it fun.

  • JeremyGJeremyG ✭✭✭
    Generally I find the threat of no dinner or just using a whip works image

    Seriously though fun is the way to go. My two generally do any fun runs that are on when I do a race. At first they were doing it just for fun but now my son (he's 10) likes to come first but that is just what he has decided he wants to do. I have given him a few tips on pacing etc which he seems to have picked up. On his sports day last summer they had a "long" distance race - all the other boys raced off but he ran a steady pace and demolished them - I was very proud!!
  • I run with my 7 year old boy at the local Park Run, and I spend most of the time telling him to slow down!  Generally we run the first two and then walk run the last.  Still beat half the crowd though!

  • Interesting - I'm running with my 7 year old every weekend, and we have got to the point where he is probably running around 1.8 miles without stopping, then another 3/4s of a mile run/walking.

    My motivational tools with James is lots and lots of encouragement, some play races (race you to the next lamp-post, etc), and flat out bribery (if we run two full laps of the park without stopping he gets an extra £1 pocket money, or I'll buy him a hot chocolate at Costa's, or something equally trivial....)


  • My frustration is that I believe that he could go a little quicker, but he doesn't want to try in case something goes wrong. He is not a naturally adventurous little chap, and there have been numerous instances of him not wanting to do something new, but when persuaded eventually to do something new actually quite likes doing it.

     However, I take the point  that many folk have made that to a great extent I should be pleased he does any running at all, and that I must be careful not to put him off

  • Accidently discovered what a bit of heavely incentive does, this afternoon. I gave him the choice of 2.3 miles, or a bit shorter & to try a bit faster; he chose the second one. I thought the sky looked clear enough, and we set off, a bit of thunder two to three miles away on the outward leg. Towards the end of the return leg it became obvious that the weather was getting rapidly worse, and about a quarter of a mile from home the rain started. His speed picked up noticeably, and he was duly congratulated on his return to home; he had a big grin on his face.
  • Not much to add, except this article about motivational phrasing:

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