Recently, Run SMART got involved with The Dwight School in NYC to help with their after-school running program for 5th and 6th graders. The program is a great introduction to the sport and each day we focus on a different area whether it’s nutrition, pacing, proper running form, or proper stretching, etc. Regardless of whether the kids want to take this knowledge and compete on the junior high team when they’re older, it’s so important to keep them active at this age. Not only does running do this well it helps to develop long-term healthy habits, discipline and achievement.
When I was in 5th grade there was a big emphasis on physical fitness in gym class and that’s what I believed help put me on a path towards a more active and healthier life. At this age, kids have a ton of energy so it’s important to harness that energy and get them on the right path before it’s suddenly cool to be lazy and eat whatever you want. It’s clear after working with these kids for a short time they actually like to run and I believe that’s because running is so natural, simple and of course, they have the energy to burn. In just our second session we had prepared drills and incorporated a game to keep things fun and interesting while teaching them proper form, yet I got the sense they just wanted to go run. It was like, what’s all this high knee and butt-kicking stuff, let us run around the reservoir!
When we started The Run SMART Project, we created our mission to promote health and fitness through running to people of all ages and abilities. We started off working with adults by providing personalized schedules to help them reach their goals, whether it was to lose weight or qualify for the Boston Marathon. At this time we have begun focusing on the younger generation by developing after-school running programs through partnerships with ongoing initiatives and schools nationwide. We are still in the early phases of this initiative but our goal is to help put our youth on a path towards a healthier lifestyle and a greater appreciation for something so natural and simple – running.