Running for Children
Running develops heart and lungs which can support health and reduce risk of heart respiratory diseases in adulthood. It also increases energy expenditure, which supports a healthy body. In addition, running can provide a personal challenge and be very rewarding.
Finally running is easy to do. It can be done anywhere so it is a cheap sport requiring a minimal expenditure on equipment - all the kit that's needed is a pair of shorts, a T-shirt, trainers... and perhaps an i-pod!
How to Make Running Safe and Effective
- Buy a good pair of run shoes, ideally get your child's running gait analysed by a specialist. Shoes should be 0.5 size bigger than normal to allow for foot swelling when hot.
- Running speed is essentially a function of stride rate x stride length.
- As a general guide running volume should be increased 5-10% each week, more than this will increase risk of injury.
- To improve running endurance, long distance steady easy pace running is recommended.
- To improve running speed intervals are recommended.
- For beginners aiming to complete a race it would be wise to increase volume by 5-10% each week until race volume is reached. Do 1- 2 weeks easy low volume running prior to the event to allow the body to refresh from training.
- Drink approx 500ml per hour when running, if it is very hot an electrolyte drink is recommended to replace lost salts form heavy sweating.
- If planning to run for over 90 minutes ingest some form of energy to top up blood glucose - ideally after 45 minutes.