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 health.
"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.
NOTE: The book can be purchased through Amazon.com.