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Additional Activities & Suggestions for Variety in Workouts

Additional Activities & Suggestions for Variety in Workouts

FITNESS STATIONS:  Children run for a minute or two between fitness stations and then do push ups, sit ups, jump rope, ball toss or other exercises, for a designated time, before being signaled to run to their next station.

BUDDY RUNS:  Pair some of your faster children with your slower children for a run together.  The faster kids slow down a bit and enjoy "helping" and the slower kids are encouraged to run faster and work harder.

RELAY RUNS:  Again pair the slower kids with the faster kids.  Try to equalize teams and run relays.

SHORT RACES:  Short races are challenging, fun, add variety to your program and encourage faster running.

BEAN BAG RELAYS:  Divide the group into teams.  Put a bean bag (or other item) for each team member, at some distance from the teams.  Each person runs, one at a time, picks up the item, and runs to the designated finish area.  When they reach the finish area, the next person on the team runs, picks up their bean bag until all the children have had their turns.

TEAMWORK RUNS:  Line up teams of 4, 5 or 6.  Teams of kids run single file around the track or field.  When the coach blows the whistle, the last person in each line sprints to the front.  Everyone cooperates by staying in line.  Do this until each member of the team is back in original position.  This promotes teamwork and pacing.

INCREASING DISTANCE PRACTICE:  Form teams of similar speeds.  The kids run at least 1/2 mile (800 meters) in a group.  Everyone must stay together.  Increase the distance on a regular basis.

RELAY RACES around the track or field:  Use relay batons or similar items.  Teams compete against each other.  Stagger the children around the track, approximately 100 meters apart.  They pass the baton to each other and continue running.

BALLOON RELAY: Have a balloon for each relay team; runners pass the balloon to the next relay member.  Watch the fun as they make sure the balloons don't fly off!  Vary distances.  This drill works well with any number of teams and children.

CAT AND MOUSE: Fox and Hounds/Teacher and Student.  There is a variation of Cat and Mouse called Fox and Hounds.  On occasion, invite a teacher or principal to participate.  The invited guest begins running and then the children are signaled when to "start the chase."  The teacher should run at a comfortable pace to encourage all the children to catch up and eventually run with the accumulating group.

Or, one of the faster students can be designated as the HOUND and everyone else as a FOX.  The HOUND starts behind and catches up/tags as many runners as possible, the FOXES.  The HOUND can run moderately and make sure other runners ahead of them continue running or they can pursue and anyone they catch/tag has to stop running.  The HOUND tries to catch as many other FOXES as they can.  This is particularly challenging for competitive children.

OBSTACLE COURSE:  Using cones, buckets, playground equipment, etc.(use your imagination) have everyone run around and over the objects.

RUNNING FOR TIME:  Time each child's one mile run (run/walk).  On a regular basis, perhaps monthly, time them again.  They will be delighted to learn of their increased speeds and fitness levels! Take advntage of this feature in JUST RUN Across the USA.

WHISTLE RUN/WALK:  Blow the whistle and they run, blow again and they walk, blow again and they run, etc.

FOLLOW THE LEADER:  Send everyone out in groups with similar abilities and they run in a line alternating leaders - wherever the leader wants to take them.

WIND SPRINTS:  These are more aggressive workouts that should not be done the first few weeks of running.  Draw two lines and have runners run as fast as possible from one line to the other, then rest and repeat.

EXHAUSTED 400 HERO RUN:  At the end of a workout, when everyone is tired, surprise them by telling them to run fast for another designated distance, 400 yards or 200 for example.  Call it a HERO run.