A lot of girls in my classes have told me that the thing that hated the most about previous PE classes was the weekly Friday run. I have therefore decided that we don’t do “the run” every week. We will do it once in a while, but I won’t grade the girls on their completion time. Instead we talk about the benefits of walking and running, the benefits of getting our heart rate up, the benefits of being outside, and the fact that going for a brisk walk with a friend is probably going to be an activity that they look forward to in the future.
These are some things that we have done to make “the run” more enjoyable.
- Make it optional. Students can choose to do the run with the other PE classes or they can stay back with me and do a workout.
- Don’t do the run with the other classes. Female students often feel self-conscious running with male peers. We can run on a different day or take a different route.
- Only run when class is last block or before lunch. We have a rotating timetable, so I try to only do sweaty activities when girls have extra time to change or can go home right after.
- Don’t grade the run or don’t base the grade on their time. How hard do they feel as though they have tried? Have they improved? Do you have access to heart rate monitors? If so, assess them on how much of the time they were in their target heart rate zone.
- Have a fun run – dress up, make it a class vs. class competition, give awards for best costumes.
- Make them run without realizing that they are running! Try an Amazing Race, Selfie Scavenger Hunt, relay games, tag games, etc.
- Train for a race. I have brought several Women’s PE groups to the “big city” for the Times Colonist 10K race. Of the forty or so girls who have participated, only two of them actually considered themselves “runners”. Staying overnight with their friends in a hotel, shopping, and hearing from previous students who had participated sparked their interest – not the run itself! That being said, the pride in themselves and their friends, the sense of accomplishment, and the sense of community/bonding with their classmates is always unreal to see after the race. I am also happy to report that quite a few of them have gone on to do another 10km race; something that most of them never would have considered had they not they participated in the one with our class. Races and hotels often give deals to schools, so check out what is going on in your area. We don’t train during class time, but I give the girls a training schedule if they want to train on their own time: 10 km Training Schedule