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Hi! We run together as a family and have questions.

Answered By Mick Grant & John Molvar

Question

Hi! I have 4 kids, Emma aged 8 (girl), Matt aged 6 (boy), Dany aged 4 (boy) and Sara aged 3 (girl). After reading “The Youth and Teen Running Encyclopedia”, I decided that all family should run all together. Emma is a competitive swimmer (4 km of swim per week), Matt and Dany are training swim as well (not competitive), all of them 3 times a week. I’m trying to bring all the family to run every day, which means, at the end, we manage to go 4 times a week. We started 2 week ago. We have a track of 700 meters nearby, and a football field (100 x 64 meters). Reading the book several time, I decided to go for easy 700m x 3, with rest in between. I use a finger pulse oximeter to be sure they never go above 160 in their heart rates (normally they are around 140+-5), and to end the rest when the 3 of them (Emma, Matt and Dany) are below 120. Sara, “runs” with the mother, 100-200 meters. Dany, although the youngest, has lowest heart beat and is less tired. Indeed, is always running in front of everybody. Maybe because he is very light (14 kg). Somedays, we do fly-start for basic speed, 20m x 10 and then I add 700m x 2. A typical schedule could be: Mon: swim, then 700m x 3 Tuesday: 700m x 3 Wednesday: swim Thursday: 20 x 10 fly start (basic speed), 700m x 2 Friday: swim Saturday or Sunday: 20 x 10 fly start (basic speed), 700m x 2 or bike. My target is to build endurance and, secondarily, compete in 1- 2 kids triathlon per year plus the school race (April 2019) which will require 1,200m for Emma, 800m for Matt and 600m for Dany. So, 3 competition per year. The problem I have is that I am bringing the 3 kids with me, and it is difficult (or better, I have no knowledge) on how to differentiate the schedule based on age and/or abilities, so now everybody is running the same schedule. Am I doing right? What can I do better? Can I use the same schedule for the next months, and just increase the length as they get fitter? Thank you, ad

Answer

It is great that you can run as a family. Rule #1 Have Fun whatever you do, ensure the kids are having fun. For basic speed, limit it to 6 reps. Increase as they get older/stronger. You will be able to use HR to help determine how they are doing. They are very young, so take a patient, long term view of progression. If they gradually build for 20 years, they will be very good! I'd suggest keeping an eye on running form and do some running form drills to make them as perfect as possible and kids enjoy form drills. Thank you for writing

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