Girls on the Run uses a fun, experience-based curriculum that creatively integrates running to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident. It is offered each fall and spring. The program season is 10-weeks long, meets twice a week for 90 minutes after school, and is comprised of groups of 8 to 20 girls, led by trained volunteer coaches.
While Girls on the Run is our name, we have two programs:
- Girls on the Run for 3rd–5th grades
- Heart & Sole for 6th–8th grades
The principal philosophies and psychological research for both programs are the same, yet the depth of processing the topics varies between the two curricula. Coaches can facilitate more targeted and age-appropriate discussion regarding certain topics with the middle school participants, whereas with the younger girls, the discussion remains a bit more vague or may not occur at all.
Each curriculum (one for fall and one for spring) covers 20 lessons. The curriculum is divided into three parts:
- Part One: Understanding themselves and setting personal goals
- Part Two: Learning skills to foster leadership, team building, and cooperation
- Part Three: Examining their relationship to the community, including development and implementation of a community service project
Each lesson focuses on a specific related topic and follows a five-part format that provides consistency and structure for the girls’ experience:
- Introduction/ Getting On Board: Each session begins with a getting-on-board and warm-up activity that bring the girls’ focus to the day’s topic.
- The Warm-Up: A stretching routine that allows for a topic-related question and answer time.
- The Workout: The girls participate in a variety of running activities that utilize a game or a team goal.
- Processing: Cool-down stretching is combined with a review and discussion of the day’s lesson that encourages participant questions.
- The Wrap-up: Each session closes with positive words from the girls’ coach regarding individual and group behaviors.
Girls also participate in a local community service project each season. This experience demonstrates to girls the unimaginable strength that comes from helping others.
The season concludes with participation in a noncompetitive 5K run which celebrates the girls’ accomplishments and participation in Girls on the Run! The finish line is just a starting point for the girls to put their new sense of self-esteem and awareness of living healthy into practice.