Coaching Kids Run the Nation Cleveland was an incredibly rewarding experience. Interested to learn what it’s all about? Want to join us for the next session? Read on!
A few weeks ago I mentioned that I was wrapping up the first session of Kids Run the Nation Cleveland. I promised I’d be back with more about the program and how things went. Since today’s the Running Coaches’ Corner linkup, I thought it would be perfect to tell you all about it.
Coaching Kids Run the Nation Cleveland
First, let me tell you a little bit about the program in general. Kids Run the Nation is a nationally recognized RRCA program aimed at teaching children the ins and outs of running as a sport, as well as to lay the foundations for leading a healthy lifestyle in general. It’s a really awesome program and I’m glad I made the leap to begin coaching Kids Run the Nation in Cleveland.
Kids Run the Nation Cleveland
The idea of bringing Kids Run the Nation to Cleveland had been in the works for a couple years. I wanted to make sure I could do the program well and devote a good amount of time to it. I began putting out my feelers to the community last winter and spring to see if I could perhaps start a summer course. Unfortunately there was a lot of schedule shuffling and I was unable to start the program as I envisioned.
Fast forward to the fall. We partnered with our school district and had a rockin‘ first session. We had fourteen kids and it was amazing from start to finish!
I admit I juggled a lot during this first session. I was deep, deep, deep into marathon training. Plus I was shuttling my younger one to and from preschool. Some days she had to come with us to KRTN while other days she had a babysitter. Thankfully she had fun and the older kids didn’t seem to mind when she came along!
Kids Run the Nation
Kids Run the Nation is sectioned off into two components: teaching and applying the lesson. The first half of the class is always the teaching component. In our program, we covered topics such as anatomy and physiology, nutrition and hydration, and pacing. The second half of each class is devoted to applying what was learned. For example, when we learned about pacing, we spent the second part of the class practicing different types of pacing and how different paces made us feel.
Running is the Hard Part!
The teaching and application were the easy parts. The hard part was wrangling the kids while we were running! Some of these kids are seriously fast. Thankfully my husband was my co-coach so it was easy to separate the kids into groups based on ability and motivation. After the first two sessions we could easily identify which kids needed an extra boost of motivation and which ones were driven without external factors.
Before we began the running portion, we warmed up with dynamic warm-ups and drills. Sometimes we did jumping jacks, other times we did burpees. We almost always did butt kickers and high knees — and these kids still sprinted during both even after ten sessions together! #facepalm
Ah well, sometimes a kid just wants to run fast, right?
Week after week we practiced running. Some days we would play games while other days we would set goals and see if we could beat or exceed our goals. And other times we set goals just to see if we could achieve them and not go past our goals.
During our tenth and final session we headed to the high school track to put into practice everything we learned. Parents were invited to come and cheer on their runners, and although it was a little damp and cool, the kids had a blast. We finished off the program with gifts (thank you Road ID and SOS Rehydrate!), treats, and a cute photo opp.
Kids Run the Nation Round Two… and Three?
The first session of Kids Run the Nation was such a success in our district that we’re offering it again in the spring! I really hope to see some of the same kids because they were all so attentive and such a great group. We couldn’t have asked for a better first session.
Also currently in the works is a summer session of Kids Run the Nation Cleveland. Details will be ironed out in the coming months. If you’re local to Cleveland and would like more information about either the spring or summer sessions, please drop me a line here.
If you have a Kids Run the Nation in your area, I highly recommend getting involved. If you have children ages K-6, enroll them. And if you don’t, you can volunteer to help the head coach! It’s a really rewarding program for everyone involved. When I started it in my area, I had no idea how much it would impact my life. Though our fall session is over, I find myself wishing we had more sessions just so I could share my passion of running with those kids!
Coaching Kids Run the Nation Cleveland was a challenging and extremely rewarding experience. We watched our runners learn and grow so much in those few short weeks. I can’t wait to do it all over again!
Have you ever organized a kids running activity before?
Have you volunteered for a kids running event?
Linking up for Wild Workout Wednesday.