Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
NCAA runner turned high school coach Hillary Kigar has an answer for all things training–including the age at which it’s safe for your kids to start running.
What age is appropriate for young girls to start running? I have an 11-year-old daughter who is slightly overweight. I thought it would be good for her to start the couch-to-5K program for exercise. I have learned to run using this program and I want to teach her healthy habits.
This is a great idea—so long as your daughter is as excited about it as you are! During the elementary school years, I recommend sports that incorporate running, such as basketball or soccer. This helps kids stay active as their bodies grow while gaining benefits from being part of a team. Middle school is a great time to start focusing more on running. There are quite a few couch-to-5K programs specifically designed for kids. Check out the group Girls on the Run. This could be a great mother-daughter opportunity to support each other.