Coach’s Corner

Each year, Kids Run Club coaches, teachers, parents and volunteers help more than 17,000 kids across Nova Scotia get running. For many schools, Kids Run Club is a key element in achieving a school culture of participation and physical activity.

Who are Kids Run Club coaches?

Kids Run Club coaches can be physical education teachers, classroom teachers, principals, parents, community members and/or peer leaders.

Can I be a coach if I’m not a runner?

Great coaches are energetic, enthusiastic and encourage their runners to try hard and have fun. Although having coaches who run with participants is important to ensure safety, particularly for elementary groups, having walking coaches is also important for encouraging and supervising slower participants.

Getting started

The best run clubs have engaged and informed coaches leading the way. We’re here to help coaches get their Kids Run Club started on the right foot. Kids Run Club includes program supports and incentives for coaches and participants, free of charge.

The Kids Run Club Coach’s Handbook provides all the information needed to create a fun and successful running program including tips on safety, recruiting participants, running games, nutrition, and teaching running technique. We’ve also created a Coach’s Checklist that provides step-by-step tips for getting your club up and running.

The start date and length of program depends on whether you’re training for a specific running event and the distance of that event, the availability of coaches, and how often your group runs together.

The length of the program can range from seven weeks to several months. Most schools training for spring fun runs start their running programs at least eight weeks before the event.

The main training programs (2.1 and 4.2 km) consist of 14 runs, including a final fun run. If you plan on having one group run per week, you’ll need to start 14 weeks before the date of the fun run. Running twice per week is preferred to help participants experience improved running.

If winter conditions limit outside running, start early with indoor circuit training.

Tips for making Kids Run Club fun

  • Incorporate games, relay races and varied running routes
  • Use fun ways to track laps and/or distance, such as popsicle sticks
  • Plan a final fun run or event for your club, either at the school or in the community
  • Use participation prizes whenever possible to reward participation
  • Celebrate every milestone, big and small, with achievement certificates, group or school announcements and individual feedback
  • Try adding some Strength Blasters to add some variety and fun.

Tips for running through bad weather

Winter can present challenges to Kids Run Club schools that start early in the new year. We’ve got some  ideas to help you get your students moving no matter the weather. Get some pre-season fitness training done with indoor activities and make the best of snowy conditions with these tips:

  • Start your run season indoors with fitness activities and games. Check out the Kids Run Club Coach’s Handbook circuit training and running games sections.
  • Keep indoor running fun:
    • Limit lap running in the gym to 15-20 minutes, play music and switch direction every three to five minutes.
    • For larger groups running indoors, pair up the runners and have one running laps while the other does exercises in the middle of the gym (planks, jumping jacks, scissor legs, push-ups, etc). Switch every minute and include at least five rotations.
    • Run in the halls! If you run after school and have support from your principal, running the halls and stairways is a lot of fun and your students will probably be more motivated to run than doing laps in the gym.
    • Obstacle courses are fun ways to get your students running indoors. You can create a relay race by assigning groups of students at several starting points along the course so that multiple students can run simultaneously.
  • Winter outdoor activities such as snowshoeing, X-country skiing, hiking, sledding and fort-building are also options for keeping your kids moving outdoors.

For more tips on safety, recruiting participants and teaching running technique, download the Coach’s Handbook.

Healthy living tips

Kids Run Club is about more than just running. We encourage coaches to share information about all things related to healthy living and have created a list of weekly tips related to nutrition, sedentary behavior, physical activity, and yes, running!

Modified Kids Run Club

Implementing Kids Run Club as an extra-curricular program may not always be possible. Kids Run Club offers modified programs that combine shorter runs done during recess or class time with longer “homework” runs. These adapted programs are still considered part of Kids Run Club and are supported by our resources, including handbooks, runner’s logs, finisher’s prizes and visits from program representatives, who can facilitate running clinics or healthy living presentations.

Tailoring for grade level

Kids Run Club encourages participation from all grade levels, but the program requires adjustments based on the age and fitness level of each group. Check the Coach’s Handbook for ideas on how to tailor the program for your participants.

Book a school visit today

Register today and share your run day and time so we can book a visit. We are available to facilitate running clinics, give healthy living presentations, or meet with coaches to discuss how to optimize Kids Run Club for your school.

Tweet at us!

If you’re on Twitter, be sure to follow @KidsRunClub_DNS – we’d love to see you tweet updates and photos of your Kids Run Club.