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5 Lessons I Learned From Being A ‘Girls On The Run’ Coach

A few years ago, I signed up to be a volunteer coach at Girls on the Run (GOTR). If you aren’t familiar with Girls on the Run, it’s an afterschool program for girls grades 3-5 that teaches participants important life skills while training for a 5K. I’m pretty sure I got more out of the program than the elementary school girls on my team did. The program has been updated a bit since I last coached, but the lessons have stayed with me over the years. In fact, I think most of the lessons taught at GOTR are lessons grown-up girls could benefit from doing, too!

Here are five lessons I learned from being a GOTR coach.

  1. Running, walking, skipping or cartwheeling are effective ways of moving forward. You don’t have to run continuously to reach the finish line; you must just keep moving forward while running and in life.
  2. Remember that what the media wants you to think defines what makes someone beautiful and what truly makes a person beautiful are two different things. Be able to decipher between the positive and negative messages we see every day.
  3. Stand up for yourself and your friends. If you see someone doing something that negatively impacts another human, speak up! Also, don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself.
  4. Take a minute to breathe before you respond. We’ve all been told to count to ten before we speak out of anger, but how often do we really do it when we’re upset about something?
  5. Try your best. Even if you fail, if you know you’ve given it your all, that’s what matters most.
Race Pace Jess

Race Pace Jess

Jess Underhill fell in love with running during a rough patch in life, a time period most people just refer to as middle school. Twenty-six years later that first runner's high she experienced continues to shape nearly every aspect of her life, including her career. She has a Master's Degree in Exercise Science and Health Promotion, is graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and is a UESCA Certified Run Coach. Most recently Jess launched Race Pace Run Club, a free virtual run club that welcomes runners of all levels from coast to coast and also meets in-person in NYC. She is an ambassador for Sparkly Soul Headbands