As I have mentioned before, I am currently coaching for Girls on the Run. I think this program is awesome. Engaging 3-5th grade girls to be healthy and active – what could be better?
When I first started coaching I had no idea what I was in for. Over the past couple of months I have been learned so much. It is about getting back to the basics and taking everything in. The girls I coach have been an inspiration for me. They have really made me stop and look at the world and the way I run in a different way.
Lessons from a 12 Year Old:
- Stop making time increments as goals. I know time is important, but it plays games with our minds. At one point I told the girls we would be running for 40 minutes that day. BIG MISTAKE! There needs to be some other sort of goal. Use points of reference, like we are going to run until the next light post. This can be applied in so many other places in life. Time goals might work for some things, but for most things I believe you will accomplish more and be more motivated if you set your goals higher than just time.
- Think outside of the box. I get a lot of crazy questions as a coach. For example, “Can we run zigzag instead of around the fence?” or “Can I skip instead of jog?”. As boring adults, the thing that comes to my mind is “Why would you want to do that?” But then I think, “Why not?” There are more than one way to get to a solution. Take the road less traveled.
- Ask Questions. Kids are notorious for asking questions about everything. When does that change? For some people never, but for most of us we stop asking why? Challenge the world we live in and find out why.
- Don’t forget snack time. My runner’s favorite time is snack time. A simple reward for a great workout. Just make sure it’s a healthy snack. My girls love when it’s pear day! 🙂
- Be a role model. One of the best rewards for a kid is to know someone is looking up to them. I use this all the time with my runners, especially the older ones. Reminding them the younger girls are watching what they are doing and modeling after them is more than enough motivation to put an extra kick into their step. There is always someone looking up to you, even if you don’t know it whether it is a co-worker, friend, or sibling.
These are all things that can not only help our running but our lives in general. Kids teach us much more than we think. You just have to listen.