How do I motivate a teenager?

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23/10/2009 at 00:00

Last weekend I ran a 10k with my 16 year old son, the motivation behind it was to encourage him to start running on a regular basis as I have thought for a long time that he could be a fairly good middle distance runner. As it turned out he did no training whatsoever and still managed a time of 39 minutes. This seems like a good time to me given his age and lack of training. So I am now looking for ideas as to how motivate him to continue with his running.

23/10/2009 at 00:33

39 minutes for a 10k at 16 is pretty damm good even with lack of training.

He`s at a age when many things are happening. Studying, friends, having a life.
I`m guessing he has done running through school and achieve good results.
I think he has the potential to improve if he continues. But motivation is a hard task.
I`m not sure if your son was motivated out of the 10k too.
So I would suggest maybe do another race to maybe get the competitive side in
him. Maybe join a running club who can help him improve his running too.

I think he`s got the ability to improve. But 16 is a difficult age and with the world
infront of him.

23/10/2009 at 07:30
I'd say you'd have no chance of motivating him.  Although 39 minutes for 10k is outstanding for someone that did no training, he's going to have to put in an awful lot of time to get that time down.  You could tell him that to improve he would have to join an athletics club, one of the benefits of which is that there's lots of fit girls who run in their underwear?!  Just a thought....  Good luck with it!
23/10/2009 at 07:51

If he wants to continue, he will, any attempt to force him to do so is likely to have a negative affect.

As for his time, 39mins is outstanding.

23/10/2009 at 07:56
Thanks for your replies. We have a good local athletics club which i mentioned to him but i think i've been selling it all wrong - fit girls in their underwear - why didn't i think of that!
23/10/2009 at 08:01

How fast do you run, if you are just a tiny bit quicker you could challenge him to beat you with a 'reward' when he achieves it - bribery always works with kids .  Colonel Bimp is also on the right track too, you could encourage him to join a club with a good teenage section by selling it as a great place to meet 'fit' girls - infact if he does join one I wouldn't mind betting a few of his mates join shortly afterwards!

seren nos    pirate
23/10/2009 at 08:03

yes.........I agree that if he wanted to run the race itself would have inspird him to be asking for info.........just got to leave it to him .the good thing about running you can come to it from any age.......

at our local free 5k park run there is one 14 year old who is up with the leaders running 16 minutes.........I notice that he is still not in a club.........obviously still running for the joy of it without going down the high pressure coaching route............

23/10/2009 at 08:14

challenging him to beat me won't work - I'm a plodder in my mid forties - anything under an hour for a 10k is good for me!

he is interested in running more races just not doing the training - i think he liked the crowds cheering him on...............

23/10/2009 at 08:19
Can I say there are alot of youngsters out there who really have good potential to become
good runners, even elite runners. Alot of them slip through the net because this country
doesn`t have a system of schools working with sporting clubs such as running, swimming,etc.

I don`t know if running clubs could work with schools not just for potential, but for fitness too.
Maybe if a running club could hold a weekly session at a school and if children are interested
in being part of the club, then that`s a bonus.

I know when I was at school, the local judo club visited every fortnight providing a judo lesson
during PE. A qualified black belt instructor demonstrated techniques and loads went along
to the sessions. Quite a few including myself join the local club who had sessions on a Saturday for youngsters and adults.

This can be a good way of encouraging children to stay fit, be part of a team and develop key skills which will help them in later life.

Any thoughts on this one.
23/10/2009 at 08:25
wiz1 wrote (see)

challenging him to beat me won't work - I'm a plodder in my mid forties - anything under an hour for a 10k is good for me!

he is interested in running more races just not doing the training - i think he liked the crowds cheering him on...............


If he likes having crowds cheering him on. Then I would suggest do more races but preferably
5 miles - 10k.

When I was his age, I was a good middle distance runner at school. I thought when I leave school is there anyway of staying in running. So I entered a 1 mile race and suddenly hooked onto road racing.
Then it was 2 miles, 5 miles and 10ks. I find the thrill of running as a challenge and a competition.
There is the winning trophies side which I got a few and that motivates me in being a better runner.
23/10/2009 at 08:36

If he's comming up 17, challenge him to get down to, say 30 minutes over 10 k (Obviously set a time as appropriate) and you'll pay for driving lessons. If he doesn't get there, he has for fork out for half/all of them?

Bribery works with most age groups, it's just the nature of the bribe that changes

23/10/2009 at 09:33

OK, I'm going to put my head above the parapet with an alternative view -

If your son is like most 16yo boys, I expect that you are already on his back about things like homework, schoolwork and the state of his room. Please don't add running to the list!! Why don't you pick your battles, concentrate on the 'important' things and allow him to enjoy his running?

On the other hand, if he is a total angel, who has a perfect bedroom and is getting straight 'a's at school free free to make his life a misery

23/10/2009 at 13:11

I'm with Slugsta.

What's your motivation?  To see him run faster?  Why?

If he wanted to train, he would.  If he wanted to join a club, he could.

I think trying to make him, either by pursuasion or bribery, is pointless.

23/10/2009 at 14:45

my motivation is to keep him invloved in sport, to build his self esteem and to limit available time for playstation & facebook!

23/10/2009 at 14:52

It was a VERY long time ago now, but I well remember how I resented my mother's attempts to get me interested in things that would be "good for me".

Anything she tried to get me into immediately became the thing I was LEAST likely to do.

I emphathise with teenagers (even though I'm nearly 48).  Either people are trying to make you do things you don't want to do, or they're stopping you from doing things you DO want to do  (and there was no Playstation or Facebook back then!)

23/10/2009 at 14:53
Tell him he's not allowed to do running.

(x-post with Wilkie)
Edited: 23/10/2009 at 15:02
23/10/2009 at 15:11
And fast running is especially bad for you.
23/10/2009 at 15:23
Mikefrog wrote (see)
Tell him he's not allowed to do running. (x-post with Wilkie)

you know i think that might work.........................
23/10/2009 at 15:37
I think adults sometimes forget how much they would not like it if someone treated them as if they were a teenager
23/10/2009 at 16:02
What`s wrong with encouragement and motivation. If a 16 year old has something which they good at, why just encourage them to go with it. If the boy had the singing voice of Robbie Williams, you wouldn`t say oh don`t bother. You would say yes your singing is great and you should apply for X Factor.

Teenagers need encouragement and motivation which is whats lacking in them.
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