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Advice on Running Properly & Training for Goal Races

Advice on Running Properly & Training for Goal Races

If you are training children to run in the JUST RUN! Just Kids 3K goal races in November and April, other races for children, or goal races in your locale, this advice will help your young runners.


  • Always stretch and walk or jog a bit before running.
  • Start slowly and then pick up the pace.
  • To gain endurance while training for the race you should be gradually increasing your distance run in the weeks leading up to the race.
  • It is OK to walk a little in your training and in your 5K.
  • Always stretch and walk or jog a bit after running.


  • Work on endurance first, then speed after. You should be able to run over a mile without walking before you work on getting faster.
  • Learn to get faster by doing “interval” training. Run short distances faster---then slow down until you are rested--- then run faster again. Make your faster intervals longer as you get closer to race day.
  • NEVER run as fast as you can except right at the end of the race.

CLOTHES and SHOES: No need to run in a sweatshirt or layers.

  • Leave your sweatshirt on the bus; you may need it after the race so you have some dry, warm clothes to change into.
  • If it’s raining, a lightweight, breathable nylon jacket (windbreaker) can keep you dry. A cap with a brim will keep the rain out of your eyes. Get warm, dry clothes on as soon as the race is over!
  • If it’s going to be a hot day, avoid dark colors, as they absorb the heat!
  • Wear running shoes or tennis shoes when you run. Double knot your shoes before the race so they don’t become untied.


  • Drink water the day before your run. Don’t eat a big meal the night before. A few nights before, pasta is good (provides carbohydrates).
  • ALWAYS have a good diet with lots of fruits and vegetables. It makes you healthier.
  • Day of the race: Don’t have a big breakfast! Drink plenty of water and eat a slice of toast or a bagel. Some fruit or a power bar works too.


  • Stay relaxed. Don’t grit your teeth or clench your fists. Keep Smiling. If your face and hands are relaxed, your whole body will be relaxed, and you will be able to run easier. Keep your hands cupped but not closed tightly.
  • Be efficient. Keep your head steady, swing your arms in a relaxed manner and avoid wasting energy. Your arms should NOT swing across your body.
  • Run upright, leaning forward slightly but not bending over.
  • Breathing: Breathe through both your nose and mouth…you need as much oxygen as you can get! Keep your breathing relaxed.

WHAT IF YOU HURT? Remember it is normal to feel very tired in a race.

  • Sideaches: Slow down, rub the area. Wait and it will go away. Everybody gets them. Try to relax. You may also want to raise the arm on the opposite side of your body and run with that arm up in the air for awhile. The cramp should lessen.
  • Very Very Tired: Slow down, relax, but keep moving. Walk.
  • Dizziness: Walk or Stop and tell a grownup near you.


  • Don’t start out too fast; you will be excited and probably start too fast. Hold back! It will help you towards the end of the race. If your heart is thumping and you can hardly breathe, you’re running too fast!
  • If you notice your shoe is untied, don’t just stop in the middle of the run! Pull over to the side of the street or trail to tie that shoe. If you stop in front of other runners…you might get run over.
  • If you are not passing slower runners, stay to the right. Leave enough room for other runners to pass you.
  • When you are running along Highway 1 at the beginning of the race, ensure you stay to the right, because the faster, elite runners will be running past you in the other direction!
  • Water will be on the course at the last mile (when the trail meets highway one). If you walk when you drink the water, do so on the side of the road…don’t stray to the left, into other racers who may not be stopping for water.
  • When you get to the finish line you will be given a medal. Keep moving. Don’t just stop or sit down….walk around, stretch.
  • Get food from our finish area and be sure to drink plenty of water.