Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Running improvements

A few weeks ago, I felt SO sure I was getting sick. My throat was sore, I had a headache, and just felt kind of "off". I never did get sick, which is awesome. But yesterday, I started feeling those symptoms again. I really don't want to be sick this weekend! I hope it's just another false alarm.

For a while yesterday, I kept thinking I was feeling bad because of my run. I ran three miles in the morning, and I pushed the pace a bit for the last mile. I ran the first mile in 9:36, and my throat was a little dry and sore--I just assumed it was from the running. I was hoping to do negative splits, so I tried to hold that pace, and finished the second mile in 9:35. Then, the last mile, I was aiming for 9:20 or faster. With about 0.15 mile left, I saw that my pace was 9:10/mi, so I decided to push it and try to hit a sub-9:00.

When the Garmin beeped, I looked down, feeling hopeful--it said 9:02.5. So close! I'm sure if I went out with the intention of running a sub-9:00, I could do it right now. I never would have said that three months ago!




At yesterday's cross country practice, I wanted to try a new game. It's been hard to keep thinking up new ways to keep the kids interested in running! I ended up dividing them into relay teams of 5 or 6. Then I ran about 100 meters away from the teams, and held a deck of memory cards. (I bought the cards at the dollar store--they each have an animal on them, and there is a match for each card.)

The idea was for the kids to run (relay style) to me, and take a card, then run the card back to their team. Then the next runner would run and grab a card, and bring it back to the team. And so on, until all the cards were gone. The object was to see which team could get the most matches (and obviously, the faster you run, the more cards your team can collect). Some of it was luck (not knowing which card they were going to get), but the kids really loved playing!

I still have a couple of puzzles that I was planning to do something similar with. Maybe have them run up the hill to get a puzzle piece, then run it back down to their team, relay style. Whichever team gets their puzzle together first, wins. It's been really windy, though, so that may not work well ;)

Today at practice, we did a time trial identical to the one we did on the first day of practice. On that first day, I told them to run one loop of the park (0.38 miles) as fast as they could; and then I marked down their times. Today, they did the same thing. I marked their times again, and calculated the improvement. All but two kids improved their time! Our fastest runner (Renee's son, Ben) shaved off four seconds, which doesn't sound like much, but considering he's so fast, that is a great improvement for just four weeks. One of the girls shaved off over two whole minutes!

I've been thinking about how much I love coaching, and I decided I want to continue to coach some of the kids through the winter. I think I'll invite about ten of the kids (the ones who take it a little more seriously and actually enjoy the running part, haha) to continue to meet on Tuesday and Thursday evenings to practice. Renee said she'd definitely be interested in continuing as well. I think it would be a good way for me to get out and be active during the winter, too--I can do my runs at the same time as the kids.

Anyway, I've got a super busy week ahead of me. Tomorrow, I'll definitely post my weigh-in, but I'm not sure how much I'll be posting between Thursday and Monday. I'm excited about my weigh-in tomorrow, because I had a nice surprise on the scale today ;)

14 comments:

  1. Is this through school? While I think it's awesome you want to continue I'm curious how you will manage to only invite 10 without hurting feelings of others ? I know my kids would be bummed if they didn't get selected .

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    1. Well, I'd like to work with the kids that WANT to be there. Some of the kids spend practice goofing around or coming up with reasons not to run... It makes it difficult for the kids who love it and want to be there! I wouldn't deliberately exclude any kids who are serious about running, but about half of them are not. Running in the off season would be more serious and focused than cross country, and I'm not sure most of the kids would be into that. Some of them would love it, though!

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    2. I think if you stressed (to all of them) how the winter season running was going to be more serious and let them self-select if they wanted to do it, you'd have more kids who came back next summer/fall - regardless if they chose to do the winter season. As a kid ALWAYS picked last in P.E., if a coach had said, I'm taking these 10 kids and I wasn't even given an opportunity, I would have never gone back - and would have never tried again or improved any further. If you tell them how it's going to be and if they truly want to participate they are welcome, I'll bet you'll be glad you did. Just my 2 cents worth . . .

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  2. I'm fascinated with your cross country coaching. Is this a volunteer opportunity or is it a paying job? Is it with a school? Did you have to be certified as a teacher/coach? It sounds like you really enjoy it, good for you! It's great to work at something you love! Sorry for all the questions, I just think it's great that you have a gig coaching and would love to hear more about how it came about.

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    1. It's just a volunteer opportunity that Renee and I created. We wanted there to be cross country available to the elementary kids. Renee has a lot of running experience and I am a certified running coach, so she just asked the athletic director if we could start a program. It happened pretty quickly and easily! :)

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  3. Don't you have to have insurance for this? Is it authorized through the school's extracurriculars programs? Not that I think you'd be doing anything wrong, but in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandals, in the state of Pennsylvania we have to be fingerprinted and go through all kinds of background checks to work with kids at all-- I'd never send my kids to some unauthorized program. If I were you, I'd have conversations with the parents before you invite kids to be a part of the winter team.

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    1. Oh, of course! I was just going to tell the parents that I'll still be going to the park on Tues/Thurs to run, and if they want, their kids can join me. Cross country was all done through the school; I just thought that some kids might want to continue running when cross country is over. It's a shame that cross country is only six weeks out of the entire year.

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    2. Honestly I think the "your kids can join me!" might sound even sketchier to parents. I think it either should be a formal thing through the school, or a completely separate running club, not involved with the cross-country team at all.

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    3. no matter what, if you're taking responsibility for other peoples kids for a few hours each week, you really should be covered by an insurance policy- god forbid something happens to one of those kids. If it's affiliated with the school, theirs might cover you, but if you're running it on your own, you'll need to look into something on your own.

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  4. your symptoms sound a lot like my allergy/sinus issues, pay attention to the weather and environment when you feel that- might not be 'sick'
    Sounds like you are rocking at the coaching, very cool

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  5. Gah, I hope you don’t get sick Katie! I’ll be keeping you in my thoughts. I love how much effort you put into this track team. Those kids are blessed to have you.

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  6. What a great experience coaching is turning out to be!!!

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  7. You sound like an amazing coach. What fun ideas you have!

    Looking forward to hearing your weigh-in results. I could never calorie count but your recent successes have really inspired me. I think about them a lot! Especially the binge free count. And I think it's helping me towards better habits. But once I start succeeding, I find myself sabotaging my progress. Do you ever do this? Why do you think it happens?

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I'd love to hear from you! I read all of my comments, and if you have a question, I do my best to respond; sometimes, however, I get busy and forget to go back to reply, so if it's important, just email me! :)