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9 ways to get kids ready for a Youth Fun Run

On your marks, get set…

Can you believe it? Blue Nose weekend is just around the corner!

Doctors Nova Scotia began sponsoring the Youth Run at the Blue Nose Marathon nearly 13 years ago. With inactivity and unhealthy eating becoming more prevalent, doctors are looking to children and youth to start to lead the way to a healthier society.

Last year, more than 3,800 children and youth participated in the Doctors Nova Scotia Youth Run at the Scotiabank Blue Nose Marathon, securing its position as one of the largest youth run in Canada!

Doctors are especially proud of the success of this event given that 90% of the Youth Run participants train throughout the year in the Doctors Nova Scotia Kids’ Run Club (KRC) at their school.

The KRC is a free school-based program that teaches children and youth about the importance of living a healthy life. More importantly, the KRC creates opportunities for kids to be active in a safe, accessible and inclusive way.

Signing your kids up for a fun run such as the Doctors Nova Scotia Youth Run at the Scotiabank Blue Nose Marathon is a great way to encourage them to stay active.

Whether your kids have been running in the KRC all year long or you’re hoping to introduce them to the sport via the Youth Run at Blue Nose, it’s important to make sure they’re ready for the event with some easy preparation and training. Here are some tips to help you make sure your kids are ready for the big event:

For training days:
Set workout routines
Make sure each workout includes time to warm up, run and cool down. Save the stretching for the cool-down period, when muscles are warm and flexible. Find a good assortment of stretches on page 27 of the Kids Run Club Runner’s Handbook.

Practice, practice, practice
Running regularly is the best way to improve. Encourage your kids to run two or three times per week. Start with half the distance of the fun run, then gradually work up to the full distance, increasing by about half a kilometre per week. Find sample training plans (2k, 4k and 5k) and a runner’s log here. Keep training fun by finding new routes to run, running to destinations and inviting friends along!

Eat well
Good nutrition is important for athletes at every level, so children should eat a balanced diet (see: Canada’s Food Guide). To avoid tummy aches, have kids wait for two hours after a meal before running, but don’t let them run on an empty stomach; a healthy snack such as fruit, yogurt or cereal before the run is a good idea. Afterward, encourage kids to quench their thirst with water, not sports or energy drinks.

On race day:
Be prepared
Make sure your child eats a good breakfast before the run. Check the forecast together and help your child dress for the weather.

Get there early
Arrive in plenty of time to rendezvous with your child’s friends, find the washrooms and set up a meeting point for after the race. Don’t forget double-knots in those shoelaces!

Warm up
It’s easy to forget this step. Make sure your child takes part in the group warm-up at the start line. This will help them get ready physically and add to the excitement.

During the run: Unless you’re running too, this is your chance to cheer on your athlete. Wear bright colours, wave a sign and use a noisemaker to encourage all the runners along the route.

Keep the pace
Remind your child to keep a steady pace rather than sprinting ahead when the race begins. They are more likely to complete the run if they keep a steady pace throughout.

Encourage other runners
Fun runs aren’t timed and there are no prizes – the emphasis should be on having a good time and encouraging fellow athletes.

Have fun!
This is really the most important piece of information we’ve given you so far! Giv’er!

Find more info: Click for details about the Doctors Nova Scotia Youth Run event race route and registration.

Can’t make it to Halifax on Blue Nose weekend? There are lots of other fun runs happening across Nova Scotia this spring and summer. Check out the Coach’s Handbook for even more information.