There are very few times in life in which you want to tell your kids to explicitly break rules, but sometimes in sports this is just what you have to do. Now, I am not remotely eluding to encouraging a kid to cheat or intentionally put themselves in harm’s way, but breaking the classic rules of running can be a good thing!
Rule #1- Run fast all the time.
This is a terrible idea. Ask any distance runner and they will tell you that different types of runs call for different kinds of running. To increase speed, start with shorter burst of sprints, followed by periods of recovery of a slower jog. The interval of speed is gradually increased and the recovery time decreased, but staying active is key. To build a base, shoot for adding slightly more distance while still maintaining a comfortable pace. This should be a pace that easily allows you to engage in short conversation the entire duration.
Rule #2- Eat all the Carbs.
False. A carb heavy diet can actually cause more strain on the digestive system. A diet that is moderate in fat and carbs, but has a good mix of whole foods (fruits, vegetables, etc.) is a much better way to go. Americans typically consume carbohydrates from highly processed foods, so the closer you can get to a food in a natural state the better.
Rule #3- Stretch before activities.
Super duper false. Stretching should only take place when muscles are warm enough to be pliable. Stretching a cold and contracted muscle can cause more harm than good and create long term injuries that can cause huge setbacks to athletes of all ages and in all sports.
Rule #4- Sprint from the starting line.
Terrible race advice unless you are running a sprint event. A race is never won in the first few feet, it’s all about who crosses the finish line at the end. Children especially should be taught that they should start their run at a comfortable pace and then finish with a ‘kick’. Learning restraint early will help for years!
So, be a rebel. Break a rule- as long as it’s a running rule!