Saturday, April 14, 2012

Get those kids running!

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I know I mentioned a few posts back that our twin boys, age 7, just joined a running club through their school a few weeks ago.  They are in 1st grade, and they were both very excited to join the team.  Now of course I was just a little bit excited too, seeing as I've managed to be bitten by the running bug in the last year.

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What was really cool was that the team at their elementary school attracted 72 kids!  I thought that turnout was really incredible.  Spring is more focused on shorter track type events, so they will be running two meets focused on middle distance (400-800m for K-2), and one focused on short sprints (50 and 200m).  If they continue in the fall, the program is focused on cross-country events, with distances ranging form 800m to 2400m.



So far, what I've seen of the program has been really great.  Just about all of the activities and drills in practice are focused around games and having fun.  There is nothing greater to see than kids out there running with big grinning faces.  I have to remind myself when I'm out on the trail to quit being too serious, and just enjoy the ride, the view,  and the freedom to move.

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Now of course, being of the mindset that I am, I attended the first practice very interested in how they would talk to the kids about running form.  Or as my wife noted, prepared to go off on them about how they are doing it all wrong!  But, as it turns out, the initial discussion with the kids was primarily about arm movement, and breathing.... nothing about foot strikes.  Which makes sense, especially with the younger kids.  When watching them run, I noticed that almost every one of them ran with a relaxed and natural mid-foot strike without any over extension.  Even in clunky, thick heeled shoes.  Just made me realize that poor form probably develops later and over time.  (Just a thought, I'm no expert).

I did have to cringe a little at the next practice when one kid asked about how to land when running... the coach proceeded to say that some people land on their toes, some land on their mid-foot, and some (gasp) land on their heels... and that it was all OK.  But, again, the overall push was to keep it fun for the kids,  which they did very well. 


Now... while I would have loved to put our boys in a pair of these Merrell Trail Gloves, that would look just like Dad's, I have a very difficult time with the expense, compared to how long they will fit these guys at this age. So, for this go around at least, I'm trying them out in some basic water shoes.  The shoes are flat and flexible, and for the time and distances they are running, seem to be working out great.  They do keep bugging me about getting them some VFF's, but I may be able to convince them to go with some Invisible Shoes for the summer (that match Dad's of course).  My guess is that if they truly get hooked on running, and continue to run and Incline with me over the summer, then an investment would be warranted. 




I just had to repost this pic above, as it is one of my favorites.  It's that look and feeling that I see in the kid's faces when they are running.  That's what it should all be about..  running because it's fun... because it's play... and more so because we CAN.  Too often I think we take for granted the bodies given to us, and the fact that not everyone is fortunate to use them to their full capacity.  So... let's get those kids running, and at the same time, recapture that joy in ourselves...  

After I originally posted this up, I came into contact with The Naked Runners on Facebook.  Wow! What a great site, and Dave and Silas are spot on!  It's all about getting ourselves moving and getting healthier!  Check out this awesome Tedx video below....  








Loved this pic I found too when poking around on Pinterest... I still haven't quite figured that out yet. 

Anyway, enjoy the rest of the weekend.  I'm looking forward to the Big Mountain Trail Run 10K this coming Saturday..   I'll be sure to post up a race report afterwards..

Happy trails!

Jeff




3 comments:

Jill said...

I think it's so fantastic your school has 72 kiddos involved. One can only hope that they will get the seed planted early and they'll learn how exercise needs to be a regular part of their daily lives as they grow into those difficult teen years. I coach a group of girls at a lower income school here in Denver and my hope is that the running will help them make good choices with their lives as they grow older...statistically you know many don't, which is just so difficult.

Anyway, good choice about the water shoes. Introduce them early on to the minimalist and they feet will adapt as they grow and no need to for 10" of cushioning. And hopefully the coach will teach them about NOT heel striking as they get into it more :).

LOVE the picture of the rock feet!!

Kathy said...

Awesome! My kids love running club. My son is thrilled because he can run track this fall in Jr. High (gulp, I'm not ready to have a Jr high kid).

Coy Martinez said...

I am in total awe when I watch kids hit the ground running. It's the exact same way watching Ryan Hall. It's like a paining in motion. So beautiful! They just have this way of going so naturally. I wish it could be the same for me. :) You're lucky that yours ask for the VFF's! My kids always growl when I wear mine out.