How do I train with my 10 year old?

I made some changes to my son’s running program over the past year (read my previous post “How Do I Train with my 9 Year Old?”) in support of several goals:

  • Improve my son’s 5K and mile PRs (currently 22:14 and 6:04, respectively)
  • Place among the top in age group in local and regional competitions
  • Increase aerobic base and anaerobic threshhold
  • Build strength, flexibility and balance
  • Improve running form / economy
  • Run without injury
  • Become mentally stronger

I made the following changes gradually over the past year, continuously talking to my son about what, why and how, asking for feedback, and closely monitoring progress and willing to adjust if/when necessary:

  • Added a 4th day of running each week
  • Increased the weekly mileage from 10-15 miles per week to 15-18 miles per week
  • Included a 2nd day of interval or tempo workouts
  • Incorporated more exercises after runs

The average mileage per workout actually decreased because I added a 4th day of running to accomodate the ramp up in weekly mileage. However, the intensity of the running program increased because the additional day is an interval or tempo workout. In spring 2012, my son joined the local middle school track club, so there were a few more competitions than previously (mile and 800m races in track meets).

To summarize, twice a week we run intervals or tempo runs (3-4 miles including warmup and cooldown) and twice a week we go for a longer run on the trails and grass, followed by strides or hill repeats (5-6 miles). Each run would be followed by about 20 minutes of stretching and strengthening exercises.

I should also mention that my son continues his Taekwondo training (he’s close to achieving the 2nd Dan Black Belt), which provides a wonderful cross training opportunity.

If you’re interested to learn what we have accomplished with these training programs, please read my 3 year retrospective that tracks and charts my son’s progress.

Please note: 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).

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