Saturday, May 30, 2015

GOTR...What Is It?

GOTR...what is it? About a year ago, I had no idea what GOTR, or Girls on the Run, was until I got an email in my school inbox from our new P.E. coach. She was looking for two teachers to help her coach running after school for girls in third through sixth grade. The program was called Girls on the Run. I was so excited! I sent her off an email as fast as I could. I wanted to, needed to, be apart of this program. I was so happy when she emailed me back and told me I was in!

Fast forward a few months and I was on my way to all-day coaches training. Two other teachers, who happen to be my best teaching buddies, would also be joining me. At the training, we learned how the program got started, heard some very inspiration and moving speeches, and went to a variety of classes that would help prepare us for our role as coaches. We learned about what healthy snacks would be good to give the girls before and after running, the types of lessons that we would be teaching them, and items we would find in our coaches box. We also got some goodies like a GOTR coach bag, new elastics, a water bottle, and our coach t-shirts. We were all so excited to get the program up and going now!

A few weeks later, we had fourteen girls on our roster (with the maximum being 15). We were ready to begin! For twelve weeks, we met with our girls twice a week for an hour to, not only run, but learn as well. Here is an example of what our daily schedule looked like:

As part of the program, the coaches provide a snack for the girls at every meeting. The snacks we usually had were fruit, granola bars, fruit snacks, and trail mix. One of the great things about GOTR is their sponsors. We were lucky enough to have Harmons purchase ALL of our snacks for the entire program. Once the girls have had their snack, we would gather in our circle and talk about our lesson from a previous time to help the girls make connections with today's lesson. Then, it would be time for the lessons themselves. All of the lessons were in the GOTR coaches manual and were excellent. The first eight lessons are about the individual, the next eight about the GOTR team, and the final eight about the community. Some of the lessons include planning a community service project, learning how to cooperate, understanding that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and learning strategies for bullying, coping, being positive, media, and so much more! 

After the lesson, we always did some warm and cold warm ups, such as high knees, lunges, etc. This was a great opportunity to give the girls some time to move before playing a game that connected with the day's lesson. Once we completed the game, we got ready to go outside and run. This was all of our favorite parts. Some days we would work on our pacing, other days we would do interval training, and still others we would practice running alone and with a partner. Every time we ran, we would always set a lap goal beforehand. To help the girls, and coaches, keep track of the laps they ran, we used lap counters. Lap counters can be anything from putting a bead on a bracelet to making a mark with chalk to writing a word on a poster. The girls love them and they make running so much more fun!

At the end of our practice, we would gather back together in our school and share some final thoughts about the day's lesson. We would also nominate a girl for an energy award and end with the GOTR cheer.

One of the truly amazing things about this program, though, is not the lessons or the accomplishment of running a 5k, but the positive change that is seen in all the girls. These girls realize that they are beautiful inside and out, that they can do anything they put their mind to, and that they need to always let their start shine! They become such a close-knit team and help each other, in and out of practice.

I have loved being part of such an amazing program and am sad to see it end! Today was our 5K and, as I ran with one of my girls across the finish line, I felt so touched to be apart of it. I have loved getting to know the girls and watching them grow and blossom into amazing young women.

If you don't have GOTR at your school already, I highly recommend checking out their website and bringing it to your school. It is an amazing program that will change your life. I cannot wait to do it again next year!


  1. I've never heard of GOTR before, but it sounds like a fabulous program!! Do you plan to do it again next year?

    1. I do. I loved it so much. I think it, not only helped the girls, but me as well! I know I definitely grew as a person and a teacher. I am already planning for it next year! Thank you again, Deb, for everything!

  2. I had heard of GOTR before, but I didn't know it was much more than just running. I lead Marathon Kids at my school; I'll have to check out GOTR.

    Your blog is off to a good start!

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by! I've never heard of Marathon Kids. I'll have to check that one out as well. I hope you check out GOTR. It is a great program for young girls!

  3. You totally teach with my cousin!! GOTR sounds like an awesome thing :) Good luck on your blog journey! I don't have a TPT store but I blog too. I'll be following you now.
    Simple Insights

    1. Who is your cousin? It is! Thanks for following and stopping by! I am heading on over to check out your blog now!