Distances to run for young teens

hey all,

I have a 13 year old step son who wants to start street running training. He's generally pretty good already with fitness (school clubs, football, rugby, etc) and after seeing me recently compete in various 10k and H/M he wants to follow suit which is good.

Whats a reasonable distance to start them on at that age??

was thinking a slow jog of around 2-3 miles once or twice a week. any advice greatly appreciated as wouldn't want him to cause injury.



  • Hi Christopher,

    I found this on the internet yesterday  - appears to be from a reliable source.   http://www.iaaf.org/mm/Document/imported/42037.pdf    It's called "SPECIFIC CONSIDERATIONS FOR THE CHILD AND ADOLESCENT ATHLETE"

    Table 4.6 talks about running distances....

  • skottyskotty ✭✭✭

    well, jimmy savile could run marathon distance...

  • cheers run wales. a very well informative piece.


  • skotty, wtf? Do you honestly think that is appropriate or has any place in my post??

    pathetic. delete your comment now.


  • My daughter does Parkrun with me on a Saturday.  There are a number of kids on my one.  It's great fun.  She's now made friends to run with so I don't run with her all the time, I just double back after I've finished.  She also belongs to local athletics club who've been really helpful.  Twice a week (one club and one park run) + PE is quite enough!

  • Interesting question, and I agree that the iaaf documet is an interesting read. However, table 4.6 strikes me as potentially being a bit over-cautious......

    My son is 7, and he has just started doing Parkrun with me, and as Caroline says there are plenty of other kids there who are probably under 9, who according to the table should be running a maximum of 3km a week.

    Obviously, I know that my son isn't "competing" over 5km, and I try and make the parkrun a fun activiity that we do together, but there are times when he is very determined to beat his previous time, or to catch up with the little boy who's ahead of us, etc..

    Chris - Personally, I think some runs of 2-3 miles is a good start, I would definitely recommend a Parkrun, and I wouldn't be too concerned about a 13 year old building up to running a 10k

  • take him to local athletics club. At 13 in winter I was doing 2x1 mile followed by circuits on Tuesdays, 5km or short hills on Thursdays and either a weekend race or a "fun" session on Sunday, and then school PE lessons/swimming lesson. I enjoyed it, I had fun, and I made friends that I still have now, more than 10 years later.

  • According to the BMC ( who admittably are looking more at middle distance) 10-15 weekly miles would be ideal for a 13 year old. The recommendations from 13 onwards are:

    13- 10-15

    14- 15-25

    15- 20-30

    16- 25-40

    17- 35-45

    18- 40-55

    19- 45-60

    20- 50-65

    21- 50-70

    They also recommend doing as much if this mileage as possible on soft surfaces. Hope that helps.
  • Also, it recommends 1 quality session a week at the age of 13
  • Interesting that that table suggests it is okay for 15-16 year old to run a half marathon.

    The minimum age limit for organised half events is always 17 - and my son was dead keen to run one when he was 16 but had to wait until 2 days after his 17th birthday - did it in about 1.35 I think and was fine. Did another this past weekend - and never seems to have a twinge of stiffness or after effects at all and goes on to play football later in the day.   Think it ironic that a fit 16year old isn't allowed to but a decrepit old woman (ie me!) can! 

  • Not sure the long run would need to be of half distance if that's what you mean. I'm 17 and do about 45 miles but my long run is no more than 70 mins which works out at about 11-12 miles.

    Also, I agree that most 16 years old could probably happily do a half marathon with a little training!
  • i am also 17 and and do about 25 miles a week however my long un is about 10 miles wich takes about 90 min so jonny your alot faster than me lol also is this good training?


  • Depends of the individual. I train with people of different ages, one from 13 to 20 +. 

    Near the younger age, best to concentrate more on speed work, than distance, but doing a long run no more than once a week, but older, doing more longer runs and less rest times. 

  • Killermiles, how old are you?

Sign In or Register to comment.