I remember looking up several different running club/communities around my area that were specifically for my age group, or for kids. Not like a paid club-sport. In that situation, I realized that my community didn’t really have a running group that typically incorporated youths. That was the problem. Many young adults and kids do not participate in most outside activities for multiple reasons–be it time, club expenses, etc.
I believe that at that particular moment, it really made me want to start my own club for running. Running– because running does not require experience or equipment, but is free to whomever wants to try. I further wanted to spread my love of running to other youths in order for them to get exposed to the positive side of running and learn to enjoy it. Instead of being exposed to the positives of running at a later age as I, I wanted to teach them how to enjoy running while they still lived their childhood, and eventually grow their love to run as they develop as an adolescent.
It turned out that Grace [Grace Lu (ie. co-head coach)] had the same ideas as I.
Then, both of us started the Heart & Sole Running Club.
As the co-head coach for this running club, I had many goals that I wanted to reach for them. I wanted to teach the kids how to run, how to enjoy running, health and nutrition, endurance, etc. The overall goal was to get them to have the ability to jog or run a 5k race.
Throughout the days and weeks of run club, I soon got to know each of the kids, individually. Although there was a vary of age groups, I was surprised to perceive that each of our runners cooperated, interacted, and ran with each other well. Friendships formed, developed, and running buddies flourished. With differing personalities and running abilities, I coached the kids individually with their form and pace. By individually giving them tips and running side by side with each of the kids, I was fortunate to learn more about them, but also understand them more than a fellow runner, but also a friend. There were some kids that were not as fast as the others, but with encouragement and distraction (by my interesting storytelling), these kids were able to push through and find newfound determination. With the kids that were a bit faster or kept in pace, I cheered them on to try to maintain their speed and pace with further tips and advice.
I think that running became more fun for the kids because as coaches, we were also young and relatable. We also ran with them and used running games to promote the positives of running. The thing about coaches these days is that, they not only do not coach you individually and focus on your particular strengths and weaknesses, but the attention is also not well-perceived as enough. I believe that what really helped the kids to push themselves to run their best, was that the coaches ran alongside them and genuinely showed their care.
As tomorrow (8/11) is the last day of the summer session of our run club, I watched so many of the kids flourish their speeds and advance their endurance. Since endurance is the key to running–we focused a lot on their endurance in order to help them maintain a pace that was comfortable for a multitude of distances. On the first day of run club, we ran a loop around the Live Oak school. Many kids had to walk. After a few weeks of training, we did a mock-time trial and timed their run around the same loop. It was amazing to see how much they improved on their endurance and speed, as they ran around the whole loop without stopping. Throughout the weeks we also ran on various trails. There were difficult obstacles that required a lot of breaks, but with encouragement and the incentive of determination, their perseverance enabled them to NOW run through these obstacles with ease and little discomfort.
I saw so many growths in determination, friendships, and pace within all of the kids throughout these past few weeks. I could only hope that they now perceive running in a positive light. Running is doable for anyone, and people run for different reasons. I am fortunate to have the ability to start this club and meet with all of the kids to further their interests in this sport/recreation.
Katie (Katherine) Huynh, HLFY Secretary
August 10, 2017