Below you will find a variety of activities to teach running form and skills in P.E. classes.
Before you start these activities, please read the Teacher Guide for more context about the lesson plans and strategies.
Lesson plans are divided into the following categories:
- Fundamental Athletic Skills.
- Posture / Attitude Skills.
- Legs & Feet Skills.
- Arms & Hands.
These basic athletic skills will give your young runners the foundation for learning good running form and becoming skilled athletes in general.
The lessons in this section address athletic skills such as body awareness and agility, as well as warm-up, cool-down, and stretching routines.
Good posture helps young athletes move with ease, comfort and control. Good posture also encourages relaxation, which leads to a positive mental outlook. Learning to run with good posture leads to more enjoyable and successful running.
These lessons address running "tall," keeping the body stable and facing forward. They encourage students to stay relaxed, and to embody the attributes of great athletes.
While running may seem an innate skill, there are six fundamentals of leg movement that elementary school runners should explore. Do not worry about having kids perfect these movements. Focus on increasing their body awareness and control, as well as developing their appreciation of efficient, purposeful movement. Learning how to move skillfully can be fun!
View the Form 101: Leg Movements video for the six key components of the running stride for elementary students.
The primary role of the arms in running is to stabilize the body. Young children often have excessive movement when they run because they have not yet developed awareness and command of their bodies. Give them feedback on their movement patterns, always being positive and never critical, to help them develop awareness and control.
View the Form 101: Arm Movements video for the five essentials of a good arm swing for elementary school children to explore.
Elementary school kids are accustomed to activities based on short bursts of energy alternating with rest. Introduce them to the idea of pacing by exploring the basic concepts first. Pacing is a tough concept for kids this age so have fun exploring it with them without being concerned that they achieve command of the skills.
These lessons will let kids discover how it feels to run at different speeds, and what their body does to change speed. Kids will also distinguish between constant speed (running at a steady, consistent pace) and variable speed (running at a fluctuating pace).
After students have played with form and pacing skills, use these activities to combine them, so that kids have a bigger picture of what strong running entails. Combined, these skills form the foundation for more precise running techniques that students will learn as they mature.