RUNNING FOR CHILDREN
Running is a great sport for children. It teaches coordination with muscle movement, it increases the aerobic threshold, and teaches children the discipline it takes to work hard at a goal and not to give up. It strengthens the bones and builds muscle.
Running has been around since the beginning of time. Human beings learned that running protected them from predators and that running faster allowed them to catch their prey. The best hunter in caveman times was the fastest runner.
In ancient Egypt, a king had to run a distance in a certain time every three years to keep his crown. The first Olympics of 776 BC produced fast runners who were worshipped like gods. Romans were the first people to make a standardized mile. They predicted a mile by how long a soldier could walk carrying full battle gear 1,000 steps using two strides. In the Middle Ages, sprints, hurdling, and steeplechases because popular in England and Scotland. In 1906, an official distance of 26.2 miles was chosen for the marathon in England. Running has made a comeback and races like the Chicago Marathon and Indianapolis Mini-Marathon sell out months before the actual race.
Shoes are essential for any running program. A good shoe will help a student runner not only finish the race, but also feel well. They should be comfortable on the first fit. Shoes range from $75 to $120 and quality is essential when choosing a running shoe. Runners should also alternate shoes to provide time for the shoes to breathe and dry out between uses. All shoes should come in a comfortable but stable insole and proper arch support. The sole should be able to take the shock of the thousands of times the foot hits the floor every hour of running. The initial sale of proper shoes should be from a running or sports specialty store. Students should be able to take a test run around the store and or block with their shoes. Shoes in a specialty store cost more initially but are worth it because they eliminate injuries later.
Clothes are another part of the runnerís gear. Cotton is out and fabrics such as dry weave, breathable, and Climacool are in. Make sure that parents understand that quality clothing is essential for their students. When students are running, they need clothes that will allow the sweat to be lifted from the skin and let out of the body. Target and Walmart both sell running gear that is perfect for children.
When the weather gets cooler, your students should layer their clothing. Some special materials such as Under Armor specialize in utilizing thin absorbing material. Clothing should be clean to avoid chafing and Vaseline should be applied under areas prone to chafing. Body Glide is another product used to prevent further prevent chafing. Band-Aids can also be used to cover up chafing and red areas. Blisters, calluses, and corns should be covered with moleskin and frequently treated with antibiotic ointment.
Nutrition is essential when children run. If students are running a race, they should eat at least two hours beforehand. It is also important that kids have a healthy snack before a long run. Make sure that there are plenty of water spots on the run or have students bring his/her own. A well balanced diet with both simple and complex carbohydrates is part of a fit runnerís diet. Transfats and saturated fats must be avoided with emphasis on monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats
Keeping a training log is also important. Some of the things your students might want to add to their runnerís notebook include: how far they ran on a given day, how long it took them to complete the distance, what were the conditions in which they ran and how did they feel after they ran? What did they feel after they ran and did they have any pain after they ran?
Stretching is important too. Here are some tips on stretching for students to remember.
1. Move slowly into the stretch using static stretches;
2. Hold the stretch for 10 seconds prior to exercise (warm-up) and for 30 seconds post exercise (cool-down);
3. Breathe and relax while holding the stretch;
4. Never do ballistic stretching;
5. Focus on the muscle you are trying to stretch, and then try to lengthen it;
6. Move slowly out of the stretch again, and
7. Remember to stretch both sides.
Since track and cross-country season is upon us, try running!
Thread: Running for Children