Interview With Jeff Long
Jeff Long, founder of the Healthy Kids Running Series and a former Division 1 runner, says it’s important to keep kids moving during this time of high anxiety.
“Stress levels are high, people are anxious and stressed, and now Mom and Dad are trying to do their job and help kids learn virtually,” he told us during an Ultimate Sports Parent Radio interview.
When kids can move and get outside, they experience a boost in creativity, productivity and stress management, he added.
Healthy Kids Running is offering its running program for kids online during the crisis, he says. Rather than running in groups to meet established goals, the online program will involve kids running individually in safe areas–where there aren’t a lot of other people–and then sharing photos, videos and statistics online.
“We will virtually high five kids, and share videos and photos of kids’ successes,” he says.
Normally, under the program, community coordinators run the program in their towns. Kids join the program in groups, stretch together and run races together. They accumulate points for running quickly and at the end of a series, they receive trophies.
The program is especially helpful to kids who don’t have the focus or the interest in participating in team sports, Long says.
For kids who are runners–whether they’re running as a group or individually– a major mental game challenge is pacing, he says.
“Everybody wants to sprint out and run as fast as possible. They can burn out. From a mental perspective we want to teach kids that life is a challenge, like a race, and you have to pace yourself. We are trying to teach kids discipline, integrity and sportsmanship and instill grit,” Long says.
Listen to the full podcast here.