NEW BOOK PROVIDES ADVICE ON TRAINING KIDS TO BE RUNNERS
By David Monti
(c) 2009 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
A new book, "Young Runners," by Marc Bloom (Fireside Books) offers
advice on how to get kids running and keep them running. Bloom, a
long-time running writer, editor and coach, puts the emphasis on fun
and fitness first, and using running to form the basis of good overall
"I wrote the book mainly in response to the childhood obesity
epidemic," Bloom explained in an e-mail message to Race Results Weekly.
"The fact that one-third of the nation's kids are obese or seriously
overweight has calamitous effects, not only for these youngsters and
their families, but on all communities and society at large. It
certainly impacts on the economic crisis and out-of-control health care
costs. I guess I've always had a soft spot for kids and felt that
maybe I could help do something about this."
The 280 page book begins with Bloom providing an overview of the
childhood obesity problem in the United States, then moves to how
getting children running as a form of play (never punishment!) can pay
dividends for health and weight maintenance. He provide specific
recommendations for appropriate running distances and training
frequency for children based on their ages.
Bloom also surveys successful running programs for children throughout
the United States, and commends the running community for responding to
the childhood obesity epidemic. "I was seeing the excellent response
of the running community to the crisis," Bloom wrote. "Running people
tend to set the pace in addressing health issues and I felt I could tap
into the many people on the front lines of children's running for
ideas, and, with my own considerable experience, form a consensus on
how to best engage kids in running, and for the long-term."
The book takes the reader through running at different stages of
childhood, including adolescence where children face special
challenges, both mental and physical. For instance, Bloom offers and
entire chapter on the special issues facing adolescent girls as their
bodies change and mature. There's plenty of concrete coaching advice
for coaches, teachers and parents.
"My hope is that people will not only enjoy the book but take its
advocacy to heart and use it as a rallying cry to gets kids everywhere
up and running," Bloom concluded.