How to Get Kids Interested in Running

Encourage your kids to get moving

With childhood obesity on the rise, it's more important than ever to get kids off the couch. If you're a runner and you'd love for your kids to embrace the sport of running, here are some ways you can get them interested (without forcing it on them):

Run with Them in Parks or on Paths

kids running outside
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A safer and more fun alternative to running on roads with your kids is to take them to parks or trails to run. You can combine a little bit of running with a nature walk. Or, play at the playground after a short jog around the park.

Bring Them to Your Races

The next time you run a race, ask your kids to be your cheerleaders. They may even want to make some motivating signs for you and the other runners. Watching you compete in a race and experiencing the race excitement will inspire and encourage them to give running a try.

Enter Them in a Kids' Race

Lots of road races offer kids' races either before or after the main race. The distances are always short, anywhere from 25 feet to a mile, depending on the kids' ages. Kids usually get a T-shirt, ribbon, or some other race souvenir for participating. Being part of the race experience will hopefully get your kids excited about running.

Start a Running Log with Them

A fun way to keep kids excited to keep running is to have them track their distances and add them up. You can help your child track his or her distances in a simple notebook or even on the computer. Just write down the date and the estimate of the distance. To keep them motivated, you can have them try to run a specific distance over a period of time, like 3 miles in a month. You can plan for a small reward once they reach their goal. An added benefit, of course, is that they'll also practice math skills and learn more about distance measurements while keeping track of their running.

Play Running Games

Most kids like to run, but many get bored running laps around a track or a gymnasium. Planning organized games that involve running is a great way to get kids to exercise, while still having fun.  Here are some running games that are always a big hit with kids.

Look for a Youth Running Program

Like many adults, kids may think of running as an individual sport, but there are lots of running programs or clubs for kids. Making new friends and running with other kids is a great way to get kids more interested in running.

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