HOW WE PREPARE FOR FUND RUN
When we do sports as an adult, we usually go for a run, a swim, go for a bike ride, a hike, some of us go climbing. Few of us actually still play in team sports as an adult (some of us do hockey, play in a recreational basketball league, do pick-up soccer, a singular individual plays team handball :).). Even less adults take warm-up and cool down seriously. Most people just walk out of their own door and go do exercise... At GIS we feel it is important to teach kids that doing warm-up and cool down needs to be part of your healthy sport attitudes. At GIS, we want to inspire our kids to do warm-up and cool down in the healthiest and safest way possible. Especially, now that we are in full preparation of the Fund Run and doing a Track and Field Unit during Physical Education.
We had a visit from a Physical Therapist. She looked at our full warm-up to ensure we were doing all the correct exercises, movements and strategies for our warm-ups and cool downs. This way we will prevent injuries during fund run, long distance tests or when we go for a run, later in life.
Did you know that an actual warm-up consists of 4 parts? Do you know how long kids need to warm-up for a healthy and safe sports experience? Do you know how long adults need to warm-up? Do you know what happens to your muscles when you stretch? Do you know where your quadriceps is? The kids at GIS know! So how do we warm-up?
The first part is the general warm-up followed by stretching. We do some core exercise after and only then we start with our sport specific warm-up.
- General warm-up:
With kids, starting a warm-up and teaching them how to run slow is actual pretty hard. Kids very often think jogging is not running. They only have 1 speed: FAST! So I explain what the actual definition of running is during PE class: When you have a moment that your full body is in the air, you are running (so jogging = running). Next, I explain how we run by letting them know and feel the different parts of their feet. Then we learn about the difference in footprint between sprinting and long distance.
The most natural footprint when walking or running long is: heel, side of foot and then you roll from small toe to big toe.( I can really advise everyone to take a footprint test before you go and by that new pair of shoes!)
Once kids understand all of this, we can actually get started with all the exercises most of you recognize as warm-up drills: Arm swings, heel kicks, high knees, open/close the gate, Frankenstein’s, grapevines and other ankle enhancer exercises. Kids very often need some help with the coordination of all of these. The last part of the general warm-up is picking up some speed. So we have to learn to assess our own maximum speed, because our first run is at 30 percent, second at 60, last at 90. During warm-up we never sprint at 100 percent!
It usually takes a couple of classes before we get the general warm-up part down to 5-8 minutes.
- Stretch and agility exercises: Static and dynamic stretching
Dynamic Stretching: As the Physical Therapist pointed out, these can very often be incorporated in the general warm-up and get the muscles ready for a top performance. We do giant lunges, walking like a giraffe, ducks walking and imagine being other animals, to keep it fun.
Static Stretching: There is a lot of myth around this one. Whatever the almighty internet tells you, stretching does help with agility. Agility makes your range of motion bigger (ROM) and makes your sports performance better overall. I can let you know, that even in an Überfit school like ours, kids need better agility! (Maybe one day I`ll write a blog about this :)).
During PE, in preparation for the Fund Run, the kids learn what they stretch, how they stretch and why they stretch. They learn that many static stretches can stretch the same muscle groups. The routine we do mainly focuses on the big muscle groups: Calf, Hamstrings, Quadriceps, Lower Back, Rotator Cuff Muscles. We go bottom to top and always hold at the deepest point we can for about 30 seconds. Doing the stretching for 30 seconds long was an important tip we got from the Physical Therapist, since we usually did it shorter! When we stretch, I usually ask kids to stay with `green` pain, because we do want them to feel the muscles actually stretching out but we want them to stay within their own limits.
- Core exercises:
This is possibly the most overlooked part of any warm-up. When we showed the Physical Therapist that we did core exercises as part of our warm-up, she was impressed. Doing planks, curl-ups, squat jumps and other core building-exercises is a huge part of what you need to do to prevent injury. But what is core and how do you explain this to kids? Well, I usually tell them it`s what keep you upright and ask them if they know those bobbleheads. Without any core strength, that`s what our bodies would be like: bobbleheads all the time.
- Sport specific warm-up:
This, of course, depends on what sport or activity you are about to do. If you go play soccer, you will probably pass the ball with a teammate, if you are playing a basketball game, you are going to shoot some hoops. In our case, it`s running, so we go for a short jog.
NOW we are ready for our ACTUAL run, hike, bike ride, hockey game, pick-up soccer game, handball tournament.
- Cool Down:
Ever felt sore the day after sport? The answer is probably yes. Did you do a cool down? The answer is probably no. While we are preparing for the Fund Run, the kids learn that when they are done with running they need keep on walking. This is called active recuperation. It works better and faster to get your energy back then the crashing down after a run we sometimes see from kids and adults after a race. After a little bit of a walk we usually stretch again. Most kids notice that this second time, after a run, the muscles in their body feels tighter!