What is A Running Start?

A Running Start is a collection of online fitness videos developed by New York Road Runners to help youth coaches teach the fundamentals of running through age-appropriate games, activities, and drills.

Created in collaboration with a team of expert youth coaches and exercise physiologists these activities can be used individually, incorporated into an existing practice routine, or used to craft one's own running session. Activities focus on preparing to run, fundamentals of running movement, and proven ways to enjoy running and physical activity. More than 80 videos are available in the following categories:

  • Warm-up and Cool-down
  • Stretching and Strength Training
  • Form
  • Pacing
  • Games

For each category we provide an introductory overview relaying important concepts and information. We recommend you look at those introductory overviews first. Then watch the video segments, which present activities that teach the concepts of that category. The videos themselves can be watched in any order.

The video segments include the primary benefits and key elements of execution for each activity so you understand its purpose and how to do it properly. Keep in mind younger kids should not be concerned with this information; similarly, runners less interested in competition may not need to focus on the finer details in order to benefit from the activity and feel good about their improvements.

We suggest you incorporate many types of activities into your running sessions to maximize student enjoyment, as well as overall fitness and performance.

Why We Created A Running Start

New York Road Runners is committed to transforming lives through running and ardently supports youth running as a powerful medium for physical fitness, personal development, and lifetime well-being. Through our national Mighty Milers program and our New York City programs—which include Young Runners, the NYC DOE Developmental Track and Field Series, City Sports for Kids, and Youth Jamborees—we support more than 100,000 children in underserved schools and community centers in each of America's 50 states and Africa.

A Running Start was created to significantly increase the quality and popularity of youth running worldwide by providing outstanding, free tools for coaches, teachers, and parents to do the following:

  • Teach youth of all fitness levels how to run safely, enjoyably, and effectively
  • Improve the standard of coaching for K-12 runners
  • Increase the number of adults capable of coaching youth runners competently and knowledgeably

A Note About Form

This category includes Form 101 video segments that cover the basic elements of form appropriate for each age group. Use these visuals to understand the elements that comprise good running form. We strongly recommend you watch these.

Throughout the videos you will see many activities demonstrated by typical elementary, middle, and high school-age kids. Their form is not perfect, nor would we expect it to be. We believe these imperfections are consistent with what you'll find with your own team. In many instances, after we show a group of kids, there is coach commentary highlighting the most common or detrimental "mistakes" so you can better identify them in order to gently guide your runners. In some segments, we also show an advanced high school athlete perform the exercise to demonstrate how the activity is ideally done so you are best equipped to teach it.

We present some widely accepted information in A Running Start, but recognize that there are many different opinions on the best ways to approach running.