Running tips for kids

November 4, 2021 by Louise Pearce

Whether you’re looking to encourage your child to exercise more, wanting your child to build fitness for the sports they play or just wanting your kids to share your love of running, here are some great tips to get them started. 

  1. Start small. Short sprints are a great way to improve running fitness rather than starting with long slow runs. 
  2. Make it fun. Running games are an easy way to keep up motivation and work into the ‘tired’ muscle zone. 
  3. Don’t focus on miles or kilometers, aim for running duration. Build up from 5 minutes continuous running to 20 minutes. Most childhood sports do not require running for any longer than this time. Building up ‘distance running’ is not recommended until your child reaches pre-teen age. Running High mileage places detrimental stress and strain on children’s growing body’s. 
  4. Mix things up by finding some hills to run up and down. This builds up the leg muscles in different ways. You can make this harder by challenging how fast they can run, or how steep the hill is.
  5. Don’t run straight after eating or drinking. Both hydration and nutrition are important for exercise and building muscles, however eating and drinking too close to running can lead to the ‘stitch’ or feeling sick. Wait 45 minutes to 60 minutes after a meal and 20 to 30 minutes after a drink before running. Small sips just prior to running is normally tolerated. Sports drinks are not recommended for children and should only be used for teenagers that are exercising at a high intensity for greater than 60 minutes. Although recent research has found milk is significantly more effective at rehydrating children following sport than water or sports drinks.

If you want information on the best exercises to help improve your child’s running ability check out our Running Skills for Children book

Or if you really want to improve your child’s running, sign up for our six-module running program



Our practice philosophy is to promote strength and development through play and exercise. We provide a holistic and comprehensive approach that is backed by clinical experience. We can create a tailored individual program to be implemented at home, childcare or school to help meet your child and family’s goals.

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