Stage 1 and some activities have been canceled for Sunday’s Rising New York Road Runners at the Fred Lebow Cross Country Championships. Read more.

Aerobic Capacity

Activities to help improve athletes' conditioning

Overview Introduction and safety considerations
Exercises and Activities Circuit training and games to increase aerobic capacity
Printable PDF of this session

Circuit Training

Set up eight circuit stations. Athletes get into groups of 4 and have 1-2 minutes at each station. Stations could include:

  • Line jumps: Athletes jump back and forth over a line
  • Full Spins: Athletes try and jump a full circle
  • Knee Push-ups: Athletes try and do as many push-ups as they can on their knees
  • Tummy Pulls: Athletes lie flat on their back and then bring their legs (straight) and arms off the ground and their body to a “V” shape
  • Jumping Jacks: Athletes stand with their hands on their hips. They jump their legs apart and clap their hands over their heads.
  • Crab Walk Dance: Athletes are on their backs walking like crabs for one to two minutes without dropping to the ground.
  • Squats: Athletes sit back towards the ground like they are going to sit on a seat then raise back up and repeat.

Six Stations

Use markers positioned at six locations in a rectangular or hexagonal shape. Number the markers one through six (you may wish to mark the cones). When you say "Corners!" players run to a corner of their choice and jog in place. Call out a number, and players at that number must come into the middle and do an activity (stretches, push-up, sit-ups, jumping jacks, etc.) up to 1 minute.

Continuous Relay

Split your runners into two or more fairly evenly matched teams. Give each team one baton and designate baton handoff locations on the running loop. Place one runner from each team at each handoff location except for the starting position, which should have two runners from each team. Designate which of the two runners will run first for each team. The first runners run to the first handoff location and pass their batons to their teammates. While the first runners stay and rest until the baton comes around again, their teammates run to
the next handoff location, and so on. Watch the video

Timed Runs

Set up three different running stations with cones 20, 30, and 50 yards apart. Athletes run continuously for one minute before taking a break. Increase to three and five minutes.

Locomotion Stations

In groups of four to six, rotate teams every two minutes between the following five stations:

  1. Hop and jump in and out of 10 hoops
  2. Run between 10 cones while balancing bean bags on your head.
  3. Hop on one foot around 10 cones.
  4. Throw a ball between teammates while running around 10 cones.
  5. Side step between 10 cones.

Obstacle Medley

Create a course that incorporates a series of obstacles (e.g. crab walk to the first cone, zigzag around the next cone, run sideways to another cone, jump rope five times, sprint back to the line). Split runners up into equally matched teams. On your command, the first runner from each team starts. As they finish, the next runner on their team starts, and so on, until all runners have gone. Watch the video


Split your team into groups of five to 12 runners of roughly equal ability. Give each group a baton. Have kids run in a single-file line at a slow pace. While running, kids pass the baton back so it travels to the end of the line. After getting the baton, the last runner sprints to the front of the line. Once at the front, this new leader begins passing the baton back, and so on. 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. Watch the video.