Monday, July 1, 2019

Episode 14: Parenting/Coaching tips for Young Runners with Prof. Dr. Marc Karver and son KJ Karver

Episode 14: Parenting/Coaching tips for Young Runners, featuring Marc and KJ Karver on raising & training a successful, globally aware and happy runner through elementary and middle school, and on navigating the transition to competitive high school varsity Track and Cross Country.
Available to listen on most podcast apps (Apple, Google, Spotify, Anchor)
Mark Karver (center) and KJ left of him, and Middle School Team

KJ has also been a US national champion at longer distance track running for his age group, as well as State Finalist in his 8th grade year recently finishing Middle School, in the 1500m and 3000m. KJ and his most frequent running partner (father, Marc) take us along for some of their favorite runs across the globe in recent years, including most notably Olympic tracks which are accessible to the public in most countries: Sydney, London,
KJ, Jen (mom) and Marc (dad) after a local Tampa race
Malaysia, Stockholm and Germany.  They offer practical tips about finding runs "before you go" to fit into your training routine and how to reset your internal clock so you are able to run fresh in a new time zone (see Mayo Clinic link below). We also discuss how to identify good coaches that are certified, what to look for in a balanced training cycle and how to gradually build to longer distances and more challenging workouts. (See links to AAU, USATF and training forum below)... We find out the joys, as well as a few of the challenges and mistakes made along the way as well!
Here are some of the highlights from tips they shared with us during this episode, if you need a preview or a review:
- Running should always be "by choice" and you should involve lots of different sports and a diversity of activity as this will help young people to both stay in shape and not get bored with "running only", but keep in mind injury risk and limit high injury sports in the off-season if possible.
- Keep in mind the social factor: for many teens, this is more important than any other motivating factor, so involve their peers / join groups of people in their training whenever possible.
- Build up to running distances gradually to make running more fun and approachable (for example, plan it out, like adding 1/2 mile to long runs each week)
-  Find a certified coach wherever you are, through AAU ( or USATF (search for a certified club near you:
- Seek out new routes and running spaces online before you travel to a new city, that are appropriate for a youth workout.
- Rotate shoes to help prevent injury, from two to five pair depending on the amount of miles you are putting on. If there is pain and possible injury, this may help with prevention, but you should always consult a certified coach and medical professional.
- For advanced competitive runners even at a young age, you should follow the 2 days of easy/recovery runs for every "hard" or race pace workout that you do. These could for example be combined with a 7 day or 14 day cycle that includes one day off.
- Keep in mind that you should taper and run less miles/ less hard workouts before an important competition, and limit the number they are competing in at major competitions (even if they qualify).
- forum, which Marc suggests to research further and follow certified coaches or recognized coaches for your age group to avoid pitfalls:
- Check out the Mayo Clinic for advice about time zones and travel: AND
Start of "Run Tampa" Sunday Goody Goody run along Bayshore, with Marc and KJ far left of picture
MS Track competition, KJ turning on the sprint at the end!

Running waterfront in Tampa with future HS teammates & Marc keeping up in the rear :-)

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