After a run, kids should take a few moments to cool down and stretch. Use some of these fun cool-down activities with your runners to wrap up each running club session.
WINDSTORM: Pretend to be trees in a windstorm, with wind blowing arms as branches. Start while the windstorm is strong and blowing hard, and finish as the wind calms and blows softer.
CAT STRETCH: Start on hands and knees, with a flat back. Take a deep breath in and arch back so that belly is moving down towards the ground and shoulders move back so “cats” can look up. Exhale and reverse the curve in the back as the “cats” stretch their backs.
COOL DANCE: Slow-motion dance for 30 seconds, then rest. Repeat until cool.
DON’T ‘SKIP’ THIS: Skip for a designated distance, gradually reducing the skipping speed and length until skipping slowly in one place. Reduce to a march, then to a walk in place.
SKY HIGH: Reach up and touch the sky for 20 seconds. Now, reach down and touch toes for 20 seconds. Repeat until cool.
GROUP WALK: Walk together as a team for at least 1/4 mile. Don’t leave anyone behind. Keep walking until cool.
BEACH TIME: Pretend to be at the beach, walking through deep sand, jumping over waves, shaking off the sand. Continue until cool.
BUTTERFLY STRETCH: Sit on the ground with knees bent and feet touching (legs look like butterfly wings). Slowly flap wings 15 times. Rest, then repeat until cool.
CLIMB THE LADDER: Pretend to be climbing a really tall ladder. Stretch out arms and knees. Do this for 30 seconds. Rest, then repeat until cool.
TOUCH YOUR TOES: Sit with legs outstretched, shoulder-width or more apart. Lean forward and try to touch toes, one leg at a time. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat until cool.
MUSCLE MIX: Coach calls out two body parts (ex: elbow to knee, hand to foot). Runners find a partner and perform the activity. Coach changes the “muscle mix” each round.
MARCHING BAND: March in place for 30 seconds, pumping knees high and arms from side to side. Rest, then repeat until cool.
QUAD STRETCH: Stand, reach backwards and grab left ankle with right hand, bending knee. Work on balance. Hold for 20 seconds. Switch legs. Repeat until cool.
COPY CAT: Kids take turns to demonstrate their favorite stretch while the group copies. Remember to stretch gently and slowly. Repeat until cool.
GROUND DOWN: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Touch the ground for 20 seconds. Touch right foot for 20 seconds. Switch legs. Repeat until cool.
RUNNER’S CHOICE: Have each runner pick his/her favorite cool down exercise and perform for 30 seconds. Rest, then repeat until cool.
OBSTACLE COURSE: Make a simple obstacle course. Ideas include zigzagging between cones, hopping over imaginary lines, etc. Repeat at a slow (walking) pace until cool.
SNOW ANGELS: Walk in place until heart rate slows. Then, make snow angels on the ground for 20 seconds. Rest, then repeat until cool.
HEEL, TOE: Walk in circles on heels for 20 seconds. Walk in circles on tip toes for 20 seconds. Repeat until cool.
SHARKS AND FISH: One runner is a shark. The other runners are the fish. Whatever the shark does the fish have to copy. Repeat until cool.
STRETCH AND SPELL: Use body to spell out “Marathon Kids,” one letter at a time. Hold each letter for 3 seconds. Repeat until cool.
RED LIGHT, GREEN LIGHT: Act like cars while Coach calls out a traffic light color. Run on green. Walk on yellow. Stop on red. Call the colors with fewer green lights and more yellow and red lights. Repeat until cool.
CALF STRETCH: Start in push-up position. Bring one knee forward. Try to touch the heel of your other foot to the ground. Hold for 20 seconds, then switch legs. Repeat until cool.