How old, or young?

I have been a run for fitness bloke for for nearly 40yrs. To cut a long story short my 8yr old daughter has signed up for the school cross country team. Naturally I am over the moon that she wants to run and she has assured me it because she wants to, not because she thinks that 'Daddy wants her to.'

Since  the day she was born I have looked forward to the possibility that she might one day say "Do you want to go fro a run Dad?.

So far she has run round the school sports field three times, stopping to walk when she feels 'puffed'. (Every journey begins with the first step).

That day happened yesterday and I was quire emotional. We ran and walked at her pace, stopping when she needed a walk, running when she wanted to and listening to good old dad constantly telling her how proud he is. We were out for 35 minutes.

My concern is that she may still be too young run/train too often. All my experinece of training has been as a youth football player and boxer. I then joined the army at 16yrs and became a PTI when I was 18. I ahve no experience of running/ training with children.

Is my little girl too young want to run competively  or am I being an over-protective Dad?

Any advice would be very welcome...........she's in a competition on Wednesday!


  • good luck with it all

    feel and be proud, and give her my best wishes

    ive been running over well over 40 years as well as it was a way of life in the country village i was bought up in walked, or ran , sometimes cycled - everywhere

    never looked back tbh, not even now at nearly 55

  • what are you on about Mick? do you ever read back what you type?
  • is there a problem

    thats 2 threads now

  • i'm a parent my self SR

    i started exactly as is Karls daughter - young, without the support of my father - i did support my lads when thery were young - but sport isnt thier choice 

  • Problem is I can't make head nor tails about what you are saying. You might need someone Mick to help you to express what you are saying. Just trying to help you Mick.
  • Karl.great news....I think you are right to be cautious.its our job as parents.........but it seems like you are doing it at her pace and when she wants and that you are looking out for signs that she is just trying to please parenting marksimage


    I think the general advice is to try and keep them off the pavemnets / tarmacs.....there are loads of park runs around the country where kids are allowed to run the 5ks.but under 11 or it 13  need to be accompanied by an this is something you can look at if she wants to try running somewhere different and it can show that running can be social as well as solitary


  • Hi Karl,

    There are some maximum distances that are recommended for children to run, as it is important to not to overdo it with their softer bones and immature bodies.  I recently spoke to someone who represented Wales as a youngster, who cannot run a step now (she's in her forties) - She told me that she pounded out many miles on the road from the age of 9.  Her damaged knees may, or may not, have resulted from that early running... I didn't pry.

    Off the top of my head, I couldn't remember the guidelines... but found this IAAF document on the net.  It says...


  • The above post has got cut... and won't edit...  so let's try again...

    • under 9, then 3km max.    
    • 9 to 11  5km
    • 12 to 14  10km
    • 15 to 16   Half Marathon
    • 17  30km
    • 18  Marathon

    The frequency of training is not clearly expressed.   Read it for yourself, under table 4.6

    I just realise that this post focusses on what you should NOT do (that is what you asked about though!).... but the truth is, if you keep to these guidelines, it's fantastic that your girl wants to run.  It will be great for her in so many ways.  And great for you too!

    Enjoy these special times!

  • Karl, we have six-year-olds and seven-year-olds running at parkrun - and doing the whole 5K. It is one that's on a totally grass course.

    If she's running on grass - sports fields, aiming for cross-country, I woudn't worry too much. Let her do what she's happy with and don't push if she doesn't want to do it.

  • I'd say keep it steady I knackered my knees cycling too much as a teenager and my kids football team league is full of knee issues as soon as they hit 12/13.

    It seems both for boys and girls when they start hitting puberty they grow so fast that normal sporting activities can push things over into injury.

    So when she hits that aim to scale back, this is counter intuitive as it's a time when most are pushing for youth qualifications etc, but having spoke to various Drs and Physios about my son it seems its a very very common issue and is often the reason kids stop doing sports as they get older.

    My son did one park run and left me for dust, unfortunately his knee issues flared up at the same time and he had to have 3 months off all activity. Now he just does football training once a week with the occasional Sunday match and PE at school. He still suffers after each match and will do until he's fully matured which may not be until he in his early 20's.

    Osgood schallters is what boys tend to get and sometime girls, girls often get surface pitting and fracture under the knee cap which cause irritaion.

  • Take her to local athletics club with junior section. My junior section took Under 11s from the age of 8. Some cross-country leagues do special U11 fixtures, and there are sportshall meets in winter and track in summer. They will allow her to meet other kids, train at a level appropriate for her age and development and allow her to try lots of different athletics events.

  • Ran with my Nephew and Neice earlier this year,it was a one mile fun run but best race I have ever been invovled with.image

  • Okay, I'll say it. I could understand perfectly what Mick was saying. Perfectly.

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