Cross Country for Kids
by Aunty Sarah
My niece has just been selected for Cross Country for her school and we've been told she's got good pace & natural ability. We've also been told that she's scholarship material for a really good school in the area.
She's 8 and I've been out with her on a couple of runs to help her out however I've only just started running myself. I really like running with her but not sure how far I should be pushing her or the type of course I should take her on.
Have you got any tips on what do you for kids at such a young age - I'm a bit scared I'm going to push her too far.
Sarah Hello Sarah,
DON'T PUSH HER TOO HARD! Did I state that clear enough. She's only eight and the person that told her that she is scholarship material needs to knock it off. She's eight! Don't start even thinking in those terms until she's a sophomore in high school.
Maybe your school districts work differently and they give out running scholarships for a high school or middle school, but that's a lot of pressure to be putting on a child. Please don't bring this up to her as running should be a fun activity, and not something that is a means to an end.
I suggest you stick to running just for fun. If you'd like, see if she would like to do a mile race or mile and a half race with you for fun, but I wouldn't be pushing any road races like a 5k just yet.
A lot of the best runners I see are kids that live an active lifestyle. Go biking, swimming, play soccer, go for runs, but keep everything fun. I've seen several parents that want to live vicariously through their child, and they push their child into something that the child doesn't like. For instance, a family friend had their son running road races when he was 10. He won a lot of medals, but grew to hate running. He gave up running before he even made it to high school.
I hope this advice helps. It's great that your niece has talent. Just keep her active and have fun. The serious running can wait for a long time.
Happy Trails - Coach Tief