How to start a School Age Children’s Running Group

Over 32% of children are overweight or obese in the United States. Several elementary schools have started running program to help lower the obesity rate among school age children. By following these simple guidelines you could have a running group started in no time and at next to no cost.
Have you ever wanted to help your child get in shape for a sport, or loss weight? Why not start a running group to help your child and any other child in the school do the same? The group will help the children progress from walking to running at a pace that’s right for each child and help prepare them to comfortably finish the 1 mile fun run/ 5K race. The children will have a period of time they run followed by a period of time that they walk. The first thing to do is to make sure all participants have an updated physical and parental permission to participate in a running group. You should write a letter explaining why the group is being started and not let anyone run if the form is not signed.
Parent’s challenge your child and run the race with them!!! Finishing is the most important thing. To help encourage the children let them name the new group. You should also find a local race with a 5k and fun run. This way the children that advance quickly can take the 5k challenge while others run the 1 mile.
Begin the session with about 15 minutes of stretching. The stretching should not be ballistic or bouncing in style. It is better to stretch and hold it for about 20 seconds. The children could run at there own pace or partner up with a friend. Make sure to emphasize they should be able to talk clearly without huffing and puffing while they run. I they can’t talk they are running to fast and should slow down. If the child can’t run the entire “run time” encourage then to walk quickly. Emphasize the goal is to finish not race.
The children run in a field or parking lot that has a coned off area. They run the coned area like they would run around the track (continuously the same loop). Blow a whistle to indicate the time to run and yell run. Blow the again to indicate it is time to walk and yell walk. The cycle continues until the activity is complete.

Program Overview- Workouts
Week 1 – Run 1 minute followed by walk 1 minute continuing this rotation until the total time is about 20 minutes.
Week 2 – Run 2 minutes followed by walk 1 minute continuing this rotation until the total time is about 20 minutes.
Week 3 – Run 3 minutes followed by walk 1 minute continuing this rotation until the total time is about 20 minutes.

Continue adding 1 minute a week to the running time. If the group is adjusting quicker add 2 minutes.

Pam founded the Jamison Elementary School Roadrunners running program in 2005. The club consisted of children grades K-6 that attended the school age childcare program at Jamison Elementary School in Jamison Pa.

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