Monday, September 6, 2010

What's your advice?


Elliott and Almond Butter

Twenty-five students from the alternative high school where I teach have signed up to run with me. I am thrilled, but also worried. All the runners I know love running. How do I help these kids to know that which we have all come to love doing? I don't want to ruin it for them. All of them will be new to distance running.

My instinct is to have them go slow, at a pace they feel they can maintain for a bit and then walk until they feel they can begin again. How far should we go the first time? What is a reasonable goal? A mile out and then walk back so that we can put down two miles? I want to tell them to run whatever pace, time, or distance that they can that will allow them to be willing to come back and do it again the next day. It seems like trying to get someone hooked on a drug I have to sell that may not be all that enjoyable at first. Any suggestions are welcomed.


  1. I think something that would help would be to incorporate many team building activities, especially at first. Games like Ultimate, Capture the Flag, CIA/Terrorists (group hide and seek), all incorporate a heavy element of running and force the kids to work together and build bonds.

    For XC, we also do a big hike at the beginning of the year. Huge team builder that helps establish bonds.

    Once that atmosphere has been created, and they see themselves as a unified group, the rest should be easy. Like you said, it's all about making it fun for them.

    Some will drop, but that's okay. Others will love it. They'll tell they're like-minded kids, and chances are it'll evolve to something great that way.

    Best of luck, John. Look forward to hearing how it goes. Your own enthusiasm will be contagious, I'm sure.

  2. Jamie's advice sounds real sound : )

    I would also add that you should warn the kids that most people say they don't like to run cause they don't get to the point where they can run far enough that it is fun. I still dislike the first two miles of running.

  3. It takes me three miles and up to five if I'm not in the mood. Hey, 8 weeks after getting the stress fracture they confirmed it with the xray and called to tell me I should keep wearing the cam-walker and talk about treatment!

    Hmmm, maybe I should cut back on my mileage.