Use pacing activities to establish baselines, evaluate progress, and teach kids to monitor and control their speed for more efficient running.
Teaching runners the concept of pacing is one of the most important goals of a coach. Most young runners have a tendency to start too fast and don't plan for the later stages of their run. Before middle school, kids have little need for pacing as most of their activity is based on short bursts of energy alternating with rest. While that is wonderful exercise, runners may become frustrated if they try to run longer distances but are unable to pace themselves to complete those distances. It may be counterintuitive to middle schoolers, but pacing enables athletes to run further, as well as faster. Pacing is a fundamental skill for distance runners, but all kids should learn pacing and try both distance running and sprinting, just as they should try a variety of sports when they are young.
Pacing is as much a mental concept as it is a physical one and takes time for children to learn. By middle school students are old enough to begin understanding pace and will see tremendous improvement when they learn to control their speed.
Explain to students that pacing is about using your energy efficiently and follow these guidelines during practices: