I have been running with my 9 year old son since he was about 6, running 2x a week (mostly on weekends). When he was about 8 1/2 (Spring 2010), we added a weekday run (so 3x a week) and ramped the weekly mileage up to 10-15 miles (most on soft surfaces, e.g. trails or grass).
Our weekly program consisted of two easy to medium runs of 4-5 miles plus one intervals workout (I would throw in some strides and hill work at the end of the runs). We would run together throughout the entire year, and I would adjust the length and intensity of the workouts based on several factors, including his mental / emotional state, seasonal weather conditions, etc. During 9 months of the year (other than mid-December through mid-March), my son and I would enter about a road race per month (ranging from 1 mile to 3 miles / 5K).
My son’s other primary sport is Taekwondo (he’s working on his 2nd degree black belt), which he practices 4x weekly, and he also swims and plays tennis once a week. Yes, he does have time for school (he is in 4th grade, the youngest child in his class), friends, a pet, and play time (but he does not play computer / video games!). He loves running and I don’t push him to do something if he’s not passionate and willing. My son’s other sports are complimentary to running and great opportunities to cross-train (strength, flexibility, balance, aerobic).
Below I have summarized my 9 year old son’s current weekly training program.
I do not recommend this program unless you have been running with your child for several years, he / she loves to run and is in great health and physical condition (you should consult with your child’s pediatrician), and you have the proper equipment (running shoes and clothes).
In an upcoming post, I will look back over the past year and review what we have accomplished together. It’s awesome!