After the kiddies got home, I asked my 9 year old daughter, Lil' C (I may need to come up with a better blog name for her), if she wanted to start her training now (She would like to run the Open Door Julie Run 5K in June with me) and she responded positively.
Not wanting to put too much on her at once, since she is young and, while active, is not a regular runner, I decided as her "coach" that we are going to try to do the Couch to 5k program. For this week, she is supposed to do 3 workouts of a warmup walk, then alternating 60 seconds of running with 90 seconds of walking for 20 minutes.
We headed out, did our walk and then started running. I think the first couple of intervals were not too comfortable for her, but she seemed to take to it shortly thereafter. I kept asking her if she was OK after almost every running interval and I'm sure she was thinking "Dad, leave me alone, I'm fine" but just said "I'm fine".
I think she liked it and said she would continue. Hopefully, she's still at the age where doing stuff with her dad is not totally "uncool". She liked when I told her that she if she kept it up, she could be beating me in races in a few years, especially when I stressed that I wasn't joking. If she puts a couple weeks in and it really seems like she's going to keep up running, I'll probably get her a real pair of running shoes. She liked that idea too.
I am aiming to be careful not to push her too hard and A) turn her off about running or B) get her hurt. This is why I think the Couch to 5k program is a good way to go (but I will continue to research and see if I can find out anything else - maybe running a 5k is too much to expect from a 9 year old, but tell that to the kids who have beaten me during the past couple years).
I also need to manage my expectations and not get my hopes up, thinking that I can turn her into a state champion and get her a college scholarship on the way to an Olympic qualifying race time (One can dream though, especially about a college scholarship). Additionally, I don't want to be disappointed if she decides she just isn't interested in running. I just want to expose her to something that I enjoy and think that she could enjoy and she might even be good at it.