The Weet-Bix TRYathlon is fast approaching! While the initial burst of excitement may see kids actively preparing and running, for some the motivation may fade long before the event arrives on May 24th. So how do we keep our kids running while staying happy and healthy? Here are our top five tips for parents.
Although running is often perceived as easily attainable for anyone with enough willpower, some education and understanding around running can make a big difference. What to expect is an important foundation that is often overlooked. As they continue to run, have those casual conversations about:
- Healthy habits that will help their running, like warming up their muscles before running, cooling down, eating before/afterwards, staying warm, drinking plenty of water
- Pace – take it slowly, gently and steadily, increasing their pace as they gain the confidence and strength to do so
- The importance of sleep, rest and recovery days
- How to protect themselves against pains and injury
- What to do if something goes wrong during a run
- How they can expect to feel before/after an event
Get Them In The Right Shoes And Gear, Early
While new gear can be a great motivator for kids to keep running and training, one of the biggest mistakes we see during events, whether in kids or adults, is starting to wear brand new gear – particularly shoes – days before the run. Our feet take time to adjust to new shoes and wear them in, and they should be given enough time to do so – at least 2-3 weeks.
What good shoes will do is help them run by optimising the way their feet and legs move, so their feet and legs tire less quickly, allowing them to keep going for longer.
Make It A Family Activity
Studies have shown that the perceived effort of completing physical effort by kids is lowered when completing it with a friend, and even more so (up to 50%) when doing it with a family member? That’s right – there’s less aware of their own efforts and so completing the activity feels easier.
Completing physical activities together also models good behaviour patterns by parents, and the activity can be gamified within households by using star charts for both parents and kids. Set goals together, celebrate your successes, and enjoy the family time in the process!
Build Solid Foundations
Our body, alignment and musculoskeletal function are the foundations of not only our ability to run, but also many aspects of our health and wellbeing. If you’re concerned about your child’s gait or running pattern, or you want to help them run at their best, bring them in to see their My FootDr podiatrist.
We show kids the way they’re currently running with a video gait analysis, helping them understand what is happening and why. We then work with them to improve the way they move and run so they can save energy, move better, and help prevent injury.
Don’t Ignore Aches, Niggles Or ‘Growing Pains’
The easiest way to stop any runner in their tracks is with pain or an injury that needs time to recover. Often, these injuries build up over time from overusing bones, joints and muscles. A niggle or dull ache can quickly progress to a serious injury as the feet or legs continue to be heavily used like in running. This is why our best advice is to regularly check in with how your kids are feeling, and if they’ve experienced any niggles, aches or pains. If they have, get them seen by their podiatrist.
If you think your child may be experiencing ‘growing pains’, don’t just wait them out – they are very much treatable, and we can help. Without treatment, they may continue for weeks, months, or even years.
To book in with your My FootDr Podiatrist, give us a call on 1800 366 837