How young is too young?? How far is too far??

Any advice from parents about getting children into running. My daughter really wants to come out running with me but I think she is too young for anything that structured so we just play a little chase in the park which she loves. She's three and a half and ParkRun says they can join you running at 4 but I'm still concerned this is a bit young.

After last weeks ParkRun I am really reluctant to do anything more after watching parents forcing their small children to run, almost in tears in a couple of cases, around our local park. I might take her for a little jog around the block or something but don't want her to end up hating exercise like I have for the last 30 years.

Anyone have any experiences they can share or advice that might be helpful. Was thinking I could maybe get her started with just doing the first few weeks of c25k with her so not too much running n lots of walking which is great exercise though does mean I might not get much running in for a while.

Thanks guys I'd really appreciate some other people's thoughts on this.


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6 Replies

  • Yes - I see the same parents at my local parkrun. My view is that they should be encouraged to do all kinds of activities - as is said "success breeds success"and kids usually take up what they feel "successful" at. Let her run with you - give her plenty of walk breaks and see how she goes. Recently we had two 6YO twins who ran their 100th parkrun!!!!

  • Maybe learning to swim & riding a bike would be better at such a young age, then starting to run at 5 upwards, I remember sprinting in my school sports at 6-7 years...

  • I'm no expert, so I can't help with the physical side of what can happens running at an early age. Children seem to like to run and she obviously wants to run with you, I guess she sees how happy it's made Mum and wants to share it with you. I would say that's a great jumping board for any child to learn to love exercise so anything you do which involves smiling child and smiling mum will be good for her. It really doesn't matter times or distances. If you think she would like to feel more "grown up" try the first few weeks and see how she gets on, I suspect it's more about having a great time with happy Mum.😃.

  • I think it's fabulous to get kids into running... My advice would be to do it with your daughter as an adventure and do parkrun when she's ready, it can be quite daunting for little ones. Go on short exploration runs to find bugs or flowers etc and have lots of stops, walks etc, ie don't make her. I started C25k with my boy, and I wrote this: it's given him a focus and he has recently completed his first duathlon. I also did C25k with my daughter when she was 8 I think. I think it's a great way to give them the love, but don't force it is my only advice... Have fun 😎

  • Thanks for all you advice, some really good ideas. Do agree that she probably loves the idea of doing it because mummy likes to go running so often. Maybe we'll have a little jog/walk to the playground nearby see what she thinks then she gets the treat of going to the playground too.

    She is learning to ride a bike too which she is loving but not quite getting the hang of yet. Maybe when she gets good I can take her out on her bike whilst I run beside her n really challenge myself lol

  • I love this! My 9 year old daughter has already planned that when I can run for a reasonable length of time, she is going to cycle along side me "like I'm your trainer, Mummy".

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