Coach Corner: Coach Lynda

This month’s Coach Corner features Lynda Hoffman a physical education teacher for elementary schools in the Elizabeth Forward School District. Coach Lynda ran a race training program this past fall – read below for her advice on how to get kids running after a break.

About the Coach:
Lynda Hoffman, Physical Education Teacher for Elementary Schools, Elizabeth Forward School District.

Kids of Steel History:
Seven years ago, we started with just three runners! Since then, we have grown to 40 program participants in two different buildings (K-5 and K-2).

How My Team Runs Kids of Steel:
Firstly, let me admit that I am NOT a runner (I was a sprinter back in the day, so the idea of running long distances is a new concept and challenge for me), but the great thing about coaching Kids of Steel is that you don’t need to be a runner to manage it in your school.

Last spring for the very first time, I held after-school practices relying on seasoned runners as my partners. We ran once a week for 6 sessions.This past fall, we held another session, meeting three times in the month of September, to help anyone who was interested in running the Junior Great Race or the FlyBy 5K at the Pittsburgh International Airport or just to come run. 25 students from each building participated.  

For the club, we meet as a group in the gymnasium where I take attendance. We have a quick snack of grapes, apples, or carrots, and then the kids fill their water bottles and use the restrooms before we all head outside together.  With 25 kiddos, this process takes 10 minutes. 

Session 1: We ran together a small distance, stopped and stretched. We then did some interval training of running 2 minutes, walking one. We repeated this for the 30-minute session. Since it was SO hot, we drank water after each interval. For the K-2 building, we managed a mile in distance and 3 intervals. At the K-5 building, we were able to sneak in a fourth interval. I liked this approach to help ease everyone including myself back into exercise. 

Session 2: We ran a specific length – for Greenock, the length of the building, and for Central, we did four laps around our oval. I was trying to get the kids to push themselves a little farther so that they ran a distance rather than for a time. They could pace themselves, and work with friends. We always allow them to buddy up and run with a friend.

Session 3:  We measured a mile and let the kids run it – no matter how long it takes. I stationed myself on the course and cheered them on!

Why Kids of Steel?
I have enjoyed this as much as the kids have!  Kids of Steel is a chance for me to meet the kids in a different avenue. They see me struggle just as they do to finish laps. They see that we all are working together and have fun doing it. We laugh and enjoy our time together – even if it’s short! As a professional, I really love the idea of kids being active and enjoy the chance to provide such a quality program to them!

As one of my Kindergarten students says: “This rocks!”

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