Junior runner dilema!! HELP

U13 and 5k

21 to 40 of 57 messages
08/12/2009 at 19:10

D2D - the winner came through in 10:43 (actually 12:03 but she was running from the fast pack and had a 1min 20sec handicap) so for the 1.7 mile course she was running an average 6:18 mile pace

A 19:55 5k is 6:25 pace, so not that far off

10/12/2009 at 16:25


As a 14 year old road runner myself i use the "Mini Marathon" Results to compare as it is the largest junior road race in the country. It is 3miles so slightly less than a 5k but her 3 mile pace would get her a top 50 finish in the regional race if she not 14 before april 25th she will remain in the same age group and could come in Top 25 road runners in the country at  her age group.

give it a look @  http://results-2009.london-marathon.co.uk/index.php?a=mr&o=m&lastname=&firstname=&gender=W&club=&event_id=CRC&age_group=B&start_no=&Submit=show+results+%3E%3E&p=2

hope i have been helpful.

10/12/2009 at 23:09

Under UKA Rules, the minimum age for a 5k is 13.
11 and 12 year olds can run a maximum of 4k on the roads.

Rather than just doing road races, she would be better joining her local club, and doing cross country events, such as her county cross country champs, as Nick L said in an earlier post.

11/12/2009 at 13:41

Hi, Again many thanks for all the help.

 I have now been contacted by a chap from Stretford AC, who has asked me to take Amy along to see how she gets on.

Amy did compete in her school cross country trials this week and has done well, finishing first from her school in the year 8/9 event (she is one of the youngest in year 8), so it does look like she  may be best off doing that for now as well as seeing how she likes the club scene. Looks like I am going to busy though with football monday, wed, Sat, and running Thursday nights!

Suppose thats what being a parent is all about!



11/12/2009 at 17:05
With a time of 19:55 for 5k, my advice would be to tell your daughter to pack in the football and do athletics instead.  Ask yourself which is the bigger sport for females, football or athletics?  Yep, athletics.   That's an awesome time for anyone, let alone a 12 year old!  It wouldn't surprise me if, given the right coaching and mental attitude, your daughter could go all the way to the top.  Good luck!
07/02/2010 at 23:42


I have a daughter, same age (youngest year 8, 12), started track last sunner...we've been through the mill, "know it all coaches" who know nothing and are dangerous, nasty peers, thrust into competition...etc. I've trained her myself for 6 months after yanking her from club training. She's representing the club, county and region. Top 10 Wales 800 without any training, top 10 in Welsh inter-county CC races, etc. Aiming high for track this simmer (target 2:24 800, 5:00 1500). She's training intervals, tempos, reps, etc. for those targets just now and exceeding them. Did a Time Trial on the road few weeks ago, 5:55 mile/min pace on an undulating road in freezing temps.

I've read tons of literature since last summer. Coe, Lydiard, Daniels. I actively seek advice from everyone knowledgeable and experienced. I sift, compare, talk to my daughter (I have 3 kids actually, all running--the other 2 are 10 and 8), and decide what's best. All 3 kids are constantly improving. 12yr old is racing CC the next 3 weekends--club, Welsh National CC, Welsh National Schools CC--then UK Inter counties in March at Birmingham. All WE want is for her to give her all. She doesn't train specifically for CC, but doing OK.

I have no problem sharing data, training programs, and passing on what I'd suggest you avoid--e.g., I would read, research, ask, and discard everything from the self-professed guru's. Do not doubt your own ability to know what is best for your daughter. You will always know her better than virtually any coach--that relationship is hugely valuable. BUT DOING IT THIS WAY IS A LOT OF WORK!!!

Your post reminded me of something from Arthur Lydiard, one of the acknowledged greats of coaching: "I never asked to coach a runner, they asked me." Just a caution.

Message me here or email me if you want to discuss any of the above.

07/02/2010 at 23:44
PS: the time trial was 3K
09/02/2010 at 17:46

I would think the footy training will give her all the speedwork she needs. The danger of joining a club is that she'll be doing even more speedwork. Burnout could be a real possibility.

I would suggest that any extra running training should be easy, slow jogging - just get the miles in and enjoy the scenary.

I think the UKA's approach to distances and kids is over-simplistic, short-sighted and based on faulty data analysis. In short, the issue is not how old a kid is but how many years of running they have under their belt.

 If she were my kid I'd encouarge her to do more miles easily while continuing to enjoy the football. I suspect the results may push over to atheletics eventually - everyone likes to be successful.

Just don't be scared of mileage and distance, but build it slowly, year by year.

10/02/2010 at 12:45

I have a son in year 7 who started cross country at primary school because I thought it would help his football - better stamina, that kind of thing.  He turned out to be reasonable - nothing outstanding, but enjoyed running.  I looked into the local club, but decided against it as there appeared to be an ethos of 'short term' gain for the club rather than long term gain for the runner.  Instead, he's joined a training group so that he can run a kind of structured programme and run with others (both older and younger than him).  This season he was picked to run cross country at county level and his school team (where he's one of six) won all the autumn inter school races, so not being in a club hasn't closed off his opportunities.  The key for me is that you find what's best for the child long term.

Btw - I also understand about the being left behind on runs - I can run for longer than him, but not faster!

10/02/2010 at 13:11

I'd advise anyone reading this to do the exact OPPOSITE to what TGMCP is saying!

To take a 12yr old out of a club environment and train her yourself is absolutely crazy. I've seen it happen on 4/5 occasions and every time the child comes across miserable. Every time the child has dropped away from the sport between 16 - 18yrs old too.

Children need to be in a club environment, having fun, learning the basics and forming friendships. This is what keeps them in the sport, not selfish parents that think they know best. If you weren't happy with that coach and you had your daughters best interest at heart you would've taken her to another club, not tried training her yourself!

Impish..Short term gain? Clarify, because I don't think you know what you're talking about.

10/02/2010 at 13:30

I agree with you about forming friendships JM but if as a parent you disagree with the basic philosophy of the coaches then I suppose the temptation is there to want some kind of input into their training. 

Another club that is more in line with your thinking is probably a safer bet though.   Or get involved with the club itself and become a coach so you can coach your own kid plus others. 

 Like you imply though for all kids the emphasis has to be on fun and you have to listen to what they want.   Running isn't a career for any but the most talented and as running isn't a skill sport like football so long as they are doing something to keep fit and run around a bit you don't need to be the best at 10-14 to go on and be world class if you have the talent.  

10/02/2010 at 13:53

I've seen alot of pushy parents that claim to be 'interested' in their child. They aren't really interested in their childrens welfare. They think they know better than coaches that have been coaching upto 30yrs.

I know one father that took their daughter to 4 seperate clubs, and fell out with every single one. The parent decided to train the child, and within the year the child was nearly 2st. overweight and depressed, and quit running. He'd go around saying the same as TGMCP, but everyone else managed to get on fine.

I know alot about running, I've played lots of sports. I have never told my kids coach how to coach. We have a chat now and again, but that's it. He sets their schedules. The group he trains, train hard and have fun. My children would hate to be taken away from that environment. Any parent that does it, has missed the whole point of childrens athletics.

10/02/2010 at 17:14

Jokerman, I meant exactly what I said.  The local running club had a definite emphasis on short term development by emphasising what I understand to be VO2 max gain.  I decided, based on what I think is best for my son (only my opinion, but as you don't know him....) to join a training group that emphasises the long term development of the members as individuals (it's a small enough group for this to be possible) by establishing a foundation of fitness and endurance with the added advantage that the majority of sessions are undertaken off road.  He enjoys it.  He runs with other children.  He races, but that isn't the be all and end all.

I think that's right for my child.  Sorry if you disagree.

10/02/2010 at 18:05

Since when has VO2max gain been a short term goal?...VO2 max or to put it in simple terms - aerobic capacity. This is a basic requirement to fitness. To suggest it's short term or long term is ridiculous. It is something that is worked on for years. Children naturally have a high VO2max!

To suggest the training group your son is doing emphasises long term and others don't is quite laughable.

Clubs have a wide range of talent. It's not simply elitest. Every child is encouraged to achieve their best whilst keeping it fun. Winning is not the be all and end all.

There's 3 types of parents.

1. No knowledge
2. Very knowledgable
3. A little knowledge

You fit no.3 Impish. The worst and most troublesome category. These are the parents that think they know best, but yet are the most confused!

10/02/2010 at 18:16
Impish37 wrote (see)

I decided...to join a training group that emphasises ...development ...as individuals (it's a small enough group for this to be possible)

Crucial point IMPISH37. Well intentioned coaches often have 10 - 20 kids running, night impossible to do what's right for one kid in the bunch. We saw much 'competiton to win the rep session, exceed the tempo pace, etc.' The particular kid's past week, year, day, all affect training--coaches with so many simply don't have the time or often the opportunity to digest this mountain of info from 10+ kids. The psychology of so many compounds the problem. Hope your kid is enjoying what you have commendably chosen for him.
Edited: 10/02/2010 at 18:18
10/02/2010 at 18:24

WoW!! looks like Ive started something here!!!

I only realy came on here for some general advise for my girl. I DO want whats best for her and didnt just want to take her down to the nearest club and have her flung into competion, as I would prefer for her to be happy, enjoy her sport and make her own mind up.

I emailed and called a few clubs in the area who all basically said the same thing ," bring her down", however after speaking at length to her football club coach, the decision we have ALL taken is to see the football season through, allow Amy to enter a few shortish runs to see if she continues to enjoy the experience, around her matches and football training when the schedule is not too hectic, then consider her options in the summer. 

I dont want to get involved in flaming other members here, i value all your comments and of course fully expect a difference of opinion. It is for me then to form a balanced opinion as a parent.

Amy has now entered the great Manchester junior run, to give her something to aim for, and she comes out for a couple of miles with me once or twice a week, and also participates in school x country.

I think this is probably a reasonable balance in her sport for now. She is aware as are her school that she has a talent, but at 12 years of age I dont want to railroad her.

Just trying to pull this back on track (if you pardon the pun!!)

Kind regards


10/02/2010 at 18:36

TGMCP..You're an absolute fool.

Don't kid yourself you are doing this for your child. You are doing it for YOUR sake.

You are not doing anything original, I've witnessed it before. I pity your child having to train alone, and to have you as her 'coach'.

Children want to be around other children.

Pethead    pirate
10/02/2010 at 18:43

If I may be gloomy, I started "running" at 6 or 7 years old, ten years ago - and countless children who were once friends and team-mates have given up athletics to pursue other sports.

It's something to do with one team winning a football game, and half the kids there going home happy, and only one person ever winning a race, and that one kid going home happy - Footy and so on are just naturally more satisfying for kids. I don't know many good athletes who have taken up athletics on top of/insttead of another sport.

I think footy will win out! 

10/02/2010 at 18:50

To suggest only the winner is happy is wrong. 99% of runners out there have never won a race. Are you suggesting they are all miserable?

Athletics in the club environment is a team sport. That's the whole point.

Edited: 10/02/2010 at 18:52
10/02/2010 at 18:53

Mike Long 4

Sounds sensible, good luck.


You sound like an angry person.

PS: my "child" does not train alone. She trains with me, my wife and my other two children; many cousins float in and out, she trains with them too; she trained with other cousins in USA is April; she also plays hockey, netball, TT, swims, sea canoes, climbs mountains and doesn't pick fights with angry people on the internet; she also has sporty friends who join in when so inclined.

You suggest you "know a lot about running." I won't flame that comment--it speaks volumes for itself--but I will indicate to the board that you know nothing about my daughters and son.

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