How to motivate my young daughters to run


I just came across your site and I am so happy I found it. I am a mother of 2 young girls, one 6 years and one 11 years old. My oldest is not very athletic and does not like to try new things. She has never played any sports and P.E. in elementary school was really nothing at all. Since she was to start middle school this year I tried to get her out for jogs during the summer. She hated it. Now she has to run (P.E.) at school 2 times a week. I just signed her and her sister up for track. It is a 2 day a week, 1 and 1/2 hour program. It is a cross country off season program.

I wanted to put them in full time but my husband thinks it will be too much for them. Since we cannot agree on 5 days a week I would like to do something with them at home on the days they are not at track. It is hard to watch them run and always come in last. I really want to help them improve their speed so they do not feel bad and apologize for coming in last. I do not know how to motivate them. Please help.

Thank you so much for your time and this website.

It would be so great if you could get your daughters motivated to run. The most effective way is through other peers. Maybe she will meet some people on her CC team and that will encourage her to run a little more.

The main thing is to make it fun. As a middle school coach cross country coach, that was my biggest challenge each day. Here are some good workouts that might help.

1. Pick up run. You run to a specific place, and then arrange for a ride to pick you up. Perhaps she has a friend or some place she wants to go to. You could let her run there and arrange for a ride to pick her up.

2. Walk, jog, sprint. Set up a course where there are three sections. If you want, you can simply set out three cones. From one cone to the next, you walk. Then from the next cone you jog easy. For the last section you sprint. Repeat this process for as long as you want.

3. Enter in some cool road races. Maybe she likes a specific charity, or would be interested in running at a specific location. Register for a race and she'll be supporting a good cause. Some examples around where I live include the Sausage Race, which is a 5k where you get to run in the Brewers Stadium, Miller Park. Other races that might be fun would be mud runs, or races in a big downtown area.

4. Do you run with her? That could help too. Don't push too hard, but if you can simply get her out the door, it might turn into a healthy habit.

I hope some of these ideas help. Good luck. If she doesn't grab onto it right now, maybe she will be ready when high school starts, so don't give up on her.

Happy Trails - Coach Tief

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Oct 29, 2011
Running with my daughter
by: Anonymous

My daughter is 15 and just started running with me. She thinks the running clothes are cute so I set goals with certain clothes or pieces of running equipment as the reward for reaching those goals. For example 1mile is new shorts and top. 2 miles is pretty serious so she will get new running shoes, etc. I also use a gps app (endomondo) on my phone to track my running. I downloaded it on her phone so she can see her progress. Don't forget the most important thing....praise, praise, praise. Good luck!

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This article was written by David Tiefenthaler, the founder and main contributor for In addition to running, he's also an author, and a full time teacher.

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