Natural Running: Coming Soon to a High School Near You!

Posted by on Monday, February 20, 2012 @ 12:56 pm | 3 Replies

Jeff Yanke became certified as a Natural Running Coach at Endurance House in Middleton, WI.  Jeff and I connected, I knew this guy was special and ever since we met, Natural Running went to a whole new level.  Implementing Natural Running in high school gym classes is going to be the start of something big throughout the U.S.  As we may or may not know Newton Running is based on education, we just happen to sell shoes.  My job you ask?  To educate, too educate walkers, runners, fitness enthusiasts, anywhere ranging from “weekend warriors”, beginner walk/runners, all the way up to your elite athlete.

I stopped by for a day just to watch the students from start to finish at their endurance class.  The students walked in with their homework which were questions about Chapter 1 of Danny Abshires book, Natural Running.  Everybody was enjoying the drills and really understood how running with Natural Form reduces impact on the bones and joints.  I’m pretty sure that running is one of the least inexpensive sports out there.  Too see people not participating in running because of injury, is so unfortunate.  If we can teach kids how to run without injury then we will see healthier individuals.  You can run anywhere, just strap on a good pair of running shoes, run with Natural Running form and you are good to go.

Question: Is it possible that kids in school do not enjoy running because they have never been taught how to run correctly?

Answer: ”Absolutely”, said Jeff Yanke, Physical Education Instructor at Naperville Central High School, USAT Level I Coach, and Newton Certified Natural Running Coach.

During this reflection Jeff went back through all his days of education and never remembered being taught how to run:

In the public school system we teach kids every kind of sport but we fail at teaching them Natural Running.  We don’t throw a kid in a pool and say swim a 500 for time, or put them at the free throw line and say you’re graded on the percent you make out of 10.  Yet we do this to our students’ detriment in running the mile test. We teach them fundamentals of all sports and forsake running.  I decided it was time for a change.  I was going to teach my students to run naturally.  In order to sharpen my knowledge of Natural Running, I took a coaching clinic sponsored by Newton.   Then I brought this knowledge to the high school that I teach at.

The class is called “Endurance”.  There are twenty-eight students ranging in athletic ability but all desiring to improve fitness levels.  We started the class with a video of each students’ running gait (they would not see it for 3 weeks) to have a base from which to work, then again at the beginning of week four.  Each day they would work on different drills and concepts.  I knew that it would take three weeks to rewire neuromuscular movement before it would feel natural to them.  The part that I didn’t know was how much they would enjoy it!  Just last week I had the class complete a thirty minute run test and did not have one complaint.  That was a glorious moment in my teaching career.  I can safely say that my students enjoy running.

If you’re a teacher or student and you’re interested in having this program at your school, please contact Justin Dyszelski by email justin.dyszelski[at]newtonrunning.com.

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3 thoughts on “Natural Running: Coming Soon to a High School Near You!

  1. dave

    Awesome job guys. Its about time! Hopefully XC and track coaches will embrace this as well. For years XC and track coaches have trained religiously on volume and never one practice focused on form, as a result, countless HS athletes experience overuse injuries.

  2. Jodi Murphy

    Great point! Gym classes across the country teach the basics of football, baseball, gymnastics, swimming and much more, but the dreaded mile run is probably everyone’s least favorite day. If we could teach kids how to run without hurting themselves maybe they would enjoy it more.

  3. Jeff Yanke

    Dave & Jodi,

    Thank you for the input. We are trying hard here at Naperville Central HS to change the thought process of physical educators. This is a process that will take a while. We will continue to be out front in leading the cause for a healthy and active lifestyle. Feel free at any time to contact me in helping your local school adapt to Newton Natural Running.

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