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

As a volunteer running coach for girls in grades 3-5, Race Pace Jess learned some lessons that work for both running and life.

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.