Earlier this week, I talked about hiring a coach to help achieve my 2017 goals. Some of you may know I do a little coaching myself. A little over a month from now, I will begin my 3rd season as a kids running club coach. Last year, I had no intentions of becoming a coach but a friend saw the job posting and tagged me on social media. At first, anxiety set in and I felt unsure I was cut out for the job. After a series of emails to the supervisor, I decided to go for it – not knowing I would have 30 kids the first time around!
Thank goodness for parents who helped run along with us – trying to corral 20-30 kids ages 7-14 is not the easiest task. My goal for the 1st season was to provide a variety of running workouts in a fun way and just get kids moving. We ran hill and track workouts, did running drills/stretches and of course, played a lot too. Throughout the season, I also tried to provide a little education about nutrition, hydration and other running tips. Although at first, I was unsure I would enjoy coaching youngsters, I really enjoyed the session and continued for the fall as well.
So, why do I coach? Honestly, I will tell you it is not to create future Olympians. I want these kids to find their love for running. Running is a lifetime sport and I want to help spark a passion and hopefully they will continue running for a long time. From previous experience as a highly competitive runner from age 11-21; running and competing all year round is tough. Eventually, the time will come for them to compete (if they chose to do so); but for now, I want them to just have fun.
Besides the fun, I want to help them develop discipline, a strong work ethic, leadership skills and encourage them to create and strive towards personal goals. We do run a timed mile in the beginning and end of each season. After the 1st mile, I encourage each child to set an achievable goal to reach at the end – if we hit that goal prior to the end, we update our goal.
We also work on teamwork and supporting one another. As runners know, hill workouts are tough. At running club, we often make our hill workout a team relay. Of course, the kids become competitive with the other team, but they are all so supportive for everyone. This session tends to be the loudest and craziest of our workouts. Each time we do this workout, my heart swells watching them cheer on each other.
At the end of each practice, we play a variety of running games – different types of tag, cones up/cones down, cops & robbers, etc. but at the very last practice, we spend the entire practice doing a running scavenger hunt. I’ve never seen kids run so fast to get to the end! The smiles I see and the laughter I hear each practice is well worth my time.
Why do my kids run? I asked a few what is it about running they love?
J.S. – “I like running because running is exercise and I like exercise. What I like most about running is being able to be outdoors and be with my friends and you can do run just about anywhere.”
E.K. – “Running makes me happy. I like to be able to run somewhere because Mommy doesn’t like it when I run in the house.”
E.S. – “Running makes me feel happy and confident. I like running with friends and sprinting.”
L.H. – “Running makes me feel good and refreshed. I like running with my friends it makes me happy.”
D.M. – “Running makes me feel happy. I have fun getting personal bests and running with my family.”
A.D. & R.D. – “Running makes me feel good, exercised, stronger and free.” “I like running; it makes me feel good and tired.”
All of these kids were asked the question by their parents separately and all of the kids are 10 and under. Sense a common theme? Just listening to their answers makes me very excited to start another season of running club.
If your child is interested, please check out http://www.co.frederick.va.us/departments/o-z/parks-recreation/youth-programs/community-recreation-youth – I coach the Sherando session on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Today, I ask of you – how does running make YOU feel?
Until next time,