Sacramento Running Association Youth Program Tips
Focus on Fitness – Did You Know?
- Participation in track and field promotes an active lifestyle, teaches kids to set goals while working to achieve them, and helps to develop their self-confidence.
- Fitness has been linked to improved academic performance. Children who score highly on California’s Fitness Gram index score twice as well on the Stanford Achievement Test compared to their unfit peers. (CDE)
- 16% of American children ages 6-19 are overweight or obese, a number that has tripled in the last 30 years. (CDC)
- For the first time in history, children born today have a life expectancy lower than their parents. (New England Journal of Medicine)
- Hospital costs associated with childhood obesity have more than tripled in 20 years. (NACHRI)
- For children born in 2000, the risk of being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes during their lifetime is 30% for males and 40% for females. (NACHRI)
Tips for Setting Up Your Program
- An effective motivator is to relate the total miles run by your entire group to a defined distance, such as across California or the U.S. Use a big map to mark the progress of their chosen route.
- Try to promote completion of the training program by the entire class or group.
- Emphasis should be on participation and having fun, NOT on speed or on winning each run. We want to make this experience a positive experience to encourage a lifetime enjoyment of fitness activities for all our youth.
Important Training Guidelines
- It is important to ease into a running workout by first doing some light warm-up exercises and gentle stretching.
- Be sure water is available during the sessions.
- A minimum of two training sessions per week is recommended.
- Try to do at least one session per week with the entire group.
- Do additional “off campus” sessions as necessary with a family member.
- The instructor, whenever possible, should run with the children.
- To promote self esteem, completion of a specific distance is much more important than the speed of the run. Walking is OK if necessary.
- The pace of the run should be at a “talking” pace (the youths should be able to carry on a conversation while running).
- Always have the kids run with a partner or in a group.
- NEVER USE RUNNING AS A PUNISHMENT!
General Nutrition Guidelines
(courtesy of UC Davis Children’s Hospital)
- Optimal nutrition is necessary for best training, performance and recovery.
- Hydration makes the greatest impact.
- Optimal nutrition must be complete with appropriate ratio of carbohydrates, proteins and fats, as well as micronutrients.
- Eat micronutrient dense foods, such as whole unrefined foods, diverse foods, and fruits and vegetables, which contain more vitamins and minerals.
- Supplements can provide convenient dietary support, but usually are not necessary for optimal nutrition and should always be discussed with your physician prior to use
- Road Runners Club of America – Kids Run the Nation Program – Website Link