Yesterday I took Tom out running for the first time since last summer. When we headed out I asked him how far he felt like running. “We can do 1-3 miles,” I said. I had never taken Tom for more than a one-and-a-half mile run before, but he’s ridden his bike while I’ve run more than ten miles, so I assumed he’d be fine. I didn’t do any kind of warm-up with Tom, and since -thankfully – I’m the one with diabetes – not Tom, I didn’t think any preparation other than putting on shoes and socks was necessary.
I didn’t expect him to do so, but Tom answered “Three miles.” I told him that maybe he’d better wait and give me a final answer half a mile in to the run.
“How are you feeling?” I asked Tom after half a mile. He said he felt fine and that 3 miles would be okay. We continued to run and every time I asked him if we should start heading back he said it was up to me. He insisted he was okay. It was sunny and warm and although we stopped to drink a few times along the way, he seemed to be running out of steam after 2.5 miles so I decided to stop. I was very proud of him and impressed; he did not complain once and seemed happy to finally be sharing in my semi religious pastime.
When we got home he went to his room to do some homework. When I went in to see how he was doing I found him wrapped in a blanked (it was not cold) in front of his computer. He told me he was cold and not feeling very well.
I had overdone it. Not realizing that a 10-year-old could be out of shape and without doing any research on running with children, I had overexerted Tom and gotten him dehydrated.
I started to worry. Maybe kids under 12 shouldn’t run? Or maybe they should only run very short distances.
After a short time online I discovered that my instinctual response to “please take me out running” was fine. Kids can and even should run. But like in all sports activities there are some risks involved from stress fractures to dehydration.
So, if you feel like taking your kid out running, take a few minutes to read up on it. Here a few helpful links:
If your child has diabetes, there are many other risks involved. This is not medical advice.