How To Teach Children To Love Running
Ahead of the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon 2020, here's how you can inspire your little strider to find a lifelong love of running
22 January 2020
The world's fastest half marathon returns to the UAE with its casual, fun-for-all racecourse for kids
Whether team relays or marathons, long runs offers youth a chance to flex their muscles both physically and mentally. True, kids enjoy the freedom that comes with racing, but they also gain opportunities for much-needed exercise and benefits to their overall health, long after the trainers and sportswear are outgrown.
But how do you keep children interested and engaged in running? Some children may see running as just another program that will come and go, or something they have to do because mum is doing it, too.
To help your kid learn the benefits and joy of running, we've compiled several ways to motivate them ahead of the 14th edition of the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon this 21st February at Al Marjan Island. Here's how your child can find a love for running, long after the RAK Half Marathon ends.
1. Make running exciting
For children, their interest in running is different when they're zipping across a fun playground versus dashing a community marathon.
To keep kids engaged, you must make racing fun. Rather than running a rinse and repeat of laps on a regular race track, opt for an exciting obstacle course, run on a trail or around a park lake for a change in scenery, or incorporate other activities.
The RAK Half Marathon will be featuring the "Fun Run" - a casual, family-friendly category perfect for parents and kids who don't want to go the distance, but still enjoy the atmosphere of the marathon. This fun, non-competitive 1 km-long course is ideal for introducing young ones to marathons.
2. Run with friends
Kids will enjoy building friendships and finding a sense of belonging if they run with friends or as a team. This is where relay marathons come in, as teams made up of friends allows children to feel comfortable, secure, and even motivated to take on new challenges on the track.
It also enables them to split the running load so they will not physically push themselves too far. Otherwise, simply running together in the same race is enough to make kids feel anchored. At the RAK Half Marathon, try building a team name, identity, and cheer chant for your child and his or her friends.
Outside of the RAK Half Marathon, keep the camaraderie going strong with team parties, trips to the local track field, and record their achievements. Doing do encourages children to feel like they belong to something special.
3. Let them own their run
Overzealous parents may often scare their kids away from running by trying to do what they believe is best for their little one. If your kid is going to start running long, try to avoid throwing them immediately into track and field clubs and intermediate-level events.
Instead, parents can find opportunities to help their children discover the joy and benefits of running to help set them up for long-term success. To start off - the RAK Half Marathon is holding weekly training sessions in Dubai and Abu Dhabi to prepare participants for the event this February. Parents can take kids to places where they can see runners and other children running.
The RAK Half Marathon Fun Run is also another fantastic opportunity to introduce kids to the activity.
At the Fun Run, let your child set the pace. This is their chance to discover and understand how it's like to take on a course.
Try to avoid running ahead and leaving your kid in a cloud of fust, as this may discourage them. Instead, run beside them.
Registrations now open
Families can register for the RAK Half Marathon "Fun Run" for just AED 50 per child. One parent or guardian above the age of 18 can join the run for free! Visit here: https://www.therakhalfmarathon.com/registration/
Registrations will end on February 15 whereas bookings for bus services to Ras Al Khaimah from Sharjah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi can be made during registration until the end of January through the website: www.therakhalfmarathon.com
All runners that register before the end of January also secure a free race pack delivery within the UAE.
Families can enjoy an array of exclusive offers on the iconic Al Murjan Island across several of Ras Al Khaimah’s best hotels and attractions offering an ideal action-packed weekend in the recently named "Gulf Tourism Capital".