The Centipede

A pacing activity that teaches running at a controlled pace

Tags: middle school, pacing



  1. Split your team into groups of 5-12 runners of roughly equal ability.
  2. Give each group a baton.
  3. Have kids run in a single-file line at a slow pace.
  4. While running, kids pass the baton back so it travels to the end of the line.
  5. After getting the baton, the last runner sprints to the front of the line.
  6. Once at the front, this new leader begins passing the baton back, and so on.
  7. For a more playful version, decide on a subject category (e.g. colors) and have each runner call out something that falls within that category as they sprint to the front of the line.

Performance Points:

  • The purpose of the baton is to help keep the group together, but ultimately it is the leader's job to keep the line intact by maintaining the established pace.
  • The line pace should be a slow jog due to the amount of sprinting in the activity.
  • Make sure the line stays together.
  • Coaches can run with the group to help maintain the line and the pace.

Training Specifics:

Duration / Reps: Run 1-3 miles

When: As a primary component of a running session; it is a great way to enliven a longer run

You Need: One baton for each group of 5-12 runners


  • Teaches running at a controlled pace which develops runners' ability to control their bodies with purpose and improves their ability to run farther and faster over longer distances
  • Engages runners in extended, quality exercise
  • Develops the ability to surge

Other Pacing Videos

Time Trials

A pacing exercise that establishes a baseline for each runner's fitness level and pacing skill, and provides an opportunity to practice pacing and monitor progress

Tags: middle school, pacing

Running Rewards

A pacing exercise and fun team competition that trains runners to identify the effort it takes to run at their goal race pace and teaches them how to monitor their speed

Tags: middle school, pacing

Youth and Schools