Running for children in Judo.

Judo is a fantastic exercise and will help your child develop physically (as well as in other areas) and can deliver a high intensity workout that will leave the sweating and smiling. As you child progresses they find that they want to develop their aerobic capacity and or endurance via running. Some Judo clubs even have running sessions to assist in the fitness develoment of young Judo players. In this post we shall discuss running and some of the benefits and risks associated with it, from a parents perspective.

Children in holidayRunning for kids is natural, much like wrestling on the ground is pretty natural for most kids too. And similarly, both are acceptable exercise for kids of all ages. If your child is 5 or 15 they can run, the question normally is how far and how fast. Both the American Council on Exercise and the British National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) support and encourage running as a form of exercise for children.

The issues with running for children relate primarily to children’s ability to disipate heat and with the state of their joints due to growth. These issues need to be considered and addressed for a safe running programme for children doing Judo.

Children’s thermal regulation is poor compared to adults, as running will cause the body temperature to rise, it is important that running not be done in extreme heat and that children are not pressed to hard. they also need access to water etc. to assist in cooling. Equally, it is not sensible to send children out running in extreme cold or during extreme rain etc.

Children are growing at different speeds and this leaves their joints in particular in weaker states than those of fully developed adults. As such children’s running needs to be limited to prevent excess pressures are applied to the joints (most typically the knee). This will mostly mean limiting the distances run and the terrain run across.

Running Distances for Children
It is quite difficult to find definitive guidance on distances that children should be running, the following is a rough guide that should give you as the parent an indication of what distances are appropriate for your child. The key factor in deciding how far your child can run is your child them self.  You child should (especially when first beginning) be able to run the distance you choose comfortable, whilst being able to speak comfortably with you (unless sprinting of course).

5 year old running distances:

  • Gentle run/Jog: .25 to 1.0 mile.
  • Full run: up to .5 mile.
  • Sprint: 25 metres.
  • Focus: Short bursts, games, games and more games.

6-7 year old running distances:

  • Gentle run/Jog: .25 to 2.0 miles.
  • Full run: up to 1.2 miles.
  • Sprint: 50-100 metres.
  • Focus: Short bursts, grass track games with coach, much cornering and change of direction

8-10 year old running distances:

  • Gentle run/Jog: .5 to 3 miles.
  • Full run: up to 1.2 miles.
  • Sprint: 50-200 metres.
  • Focus: Care prevention of injury (Osgood-Schlatter). Gentle running, build distances slowly.

11-12 year old running distances:

  • Gentle run/Jog: .5 to 4.0 miles.
  • Full run: up to 2 miles.
  • Sprint: 100-400 metres.
  • Focus: Cross country, prevention of stress fractures in not fully developed bones. Development of technique.

13+ year old running distances:

  • Gentle run/Jog: .5 to 5 miles.
  • Full run: up to 2 miles.
  • Sprint: 100-800 metres.
  • Focus: Introduction to more structured training and competition scheduling, periodisation, etc.

As you can see even very young children can become involved in running, the key factor is preventing injuries. This is mainly done by ensuring that the children are not training beyond their physical capacities. Limiting the distances run and the number of runs per week is how this is done. Also ensuring that kids enjoy the running. If they are not smiling, then the trainingmay be too much.

As a parent, you might want to take on the role as running coach, by taking runs with your child. This si often a great opportunity to engage in your childs life as well as getting much needed exercise yourself. It is vital that you run at your childs pace, walking or stopping is ok and to be encouraged. Spend the time talking with them, this helps ensure they are not working too hard.

It is also a good way of ensuring that your child is supervised and safe. If you are forced to run on the road, then ensure you run facing the traffic and that you are the one closest to cars, so you can easily ensure your child is off the road when cars come by. Cars passing is also a good opportunity to stop and rest. Ideally yu will run off road on grass, perferably on variable terrain, so up and down hills etc. As long as the running surface does not have too many dangerous holes, branches etc. Something that undulates but has a smooth grass track is ideal, here in the UK the footpaths across farms and through woods are often ideal.

You should also invest in some high visibility clothing, especially but not exclusively, if you are running in the evenings. Cars and other traffic as a VERY serious issue for runners of all ages and levels. There are some very dangerous and plain antisocial drivers out there, so avoid cars as much as possible and make sure they can see you and your child!

Adding more exercise to your child’s life means they will need more rest, more nutrition and more time to recover. be careful that you do not fit too much into each week. Be careful also that running is not impacting your child’s Judo (or vice versa). Watch out also for “niggling” aches and pains or excess tiredness. In any of these cases do not be afraid to stop your child running for a period of time to rest and recover. Then start again with less running in all the areas: distances, durations and intensity.

As always, discuss running with you Judo club coach, you may also want to contact a local running club for their advice or to enroll your child in a junior running programme if they have one.

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This entry was posted by LanceW on Monday, March 16th, 2009 at 1:15 pm and is filed under Judo . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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