Family fun runs are great, FUN events to train for! A 1/3 mile race is a wonderful place to begin running and walking exercise with your children. Before starting on this adventure, make sure to always consult with your child’s physician, especially if you’re introducing them to a more strenuous or active exercise program like walk/jog program.
5 Years and Under
If you have a child who is 5 years of age or under, plan to do the race with your child in a jogging stroller – parent pushing and child riding. The child may want to walk a short way, then ride, but unless your child is physically active and you are confident they are going to be able to walk the 1/3 mile length it’s best to avoid setting an expectation that may not be met.
Pushing a child at this young age may promote physical and/or emotional injury. Plus, depending on the race day conditions, heat and humidity can also promote heat-related illnesses that may be very dangerous for your child.
6 Years and Older
Children who are 6 years of age and older who are already physically active and have expressed an interest in walking or running the race may train with a parent for the 1/3 mile distance. Children in 4th grade and above who are physically active may begin to train with a parent using the official Crescent City Classic 4 Mile Levee Run Training Schedule.
Choose a shady place train and think early morning or evening for the time of day. Avoid mid-day when the sun is high and overhead! Wearing a hat, sun visor, sunglasses and sunscreen are all important as is light colored clothing.
Parents training children for the 1/3 mile distance will want to measure the distance with a GPS device or roughly think 6 city blocks for the 1/3 mile. This training should begin about 30 days before the race with 2-3 activity sessions a week with at least 1 rest day between sessions, and gentle buildup of time walking/running at a pace and distance set by your child.
If your child is tired, then stop and rest; if your child starts out too fast, slow the pace for the child. Begin with walking only when 1/3 mile walking has been accomplished several times, then walk/jog may be alternated. Again, don’t push your child beyond what they want to do!
Remember most kids only know 2 speeds: stop and go! Rest as often as needed and carry cool water for drinking in small amounts before, during and after to maintain good hydration.
Children and parents should be able to continue talking throughout the exercise – otherwise, slow down or stop. FUN is the name of the game! A happy healthy experience for you and your child is the goal!