The Carol Goodrow Interview with tips4running.com
Welcome to the Carol Goodrow Interview. Carol is a teacher and author of three wonderful children's books about running. She also has a website dedicated for children's running at CarolGoodrow.com. She also has organized an after school running club at the school she teaches for.
David Tiefenthaler - When did you first get into the lifestyle sport of running?
Carol Goodrow - About 1994 when I started working out at a health club. I started running on the treadmill as my cardio part of my workout, then outdoors: 1/4 mile laps around a cemetery. I just kept increasing my mileage and running felt good! I read an article in Runner's World about a middle-aged woman running a 43 minute 5K and I said, "I can do that!" I entered my first race the next day.
DT - Why did you decide to promote running for children instead of being a high school or college running coach?
CG - First, I am not a coach. When I started running I was a dedicated first grade teacher interested in making sure all of my kids got the basics. Since I had a special ed background, my classes often had many kids in need of basic skills. At my first race I got this big beautiful (multi-colored) running bib number. I took one look at it and said MATH - Kids can learn Math from these numbers. So I started collecting them and built a curriculum out of running bib numbers :) At the time we incorporated language arts, math, geography, statistics, reading, writing, and just about everything with running. Now school has changed and we are standards based - a bit harder to incorporate a total curriculum around running. Also, I am now working as a special ed teacher and must follow IEPs. So my running work with children is in my after-school running club.
DT - You have written three books about running for children. Can you briefly describe each one and what ages they are appropriate for?
CG - My favorite: The Treasure of Health and Happiness.
This is a chapter book about a child who goes on an adventure with her dog, achieving fitness and healthy living feats - all the time coloring in a magical footprint map with a glittery pencil. It's themes involve: fun runs, running, self-esteem, confidence and healthy eating - to name a few. It's a book that kids ask for more of ..."When are you going to write the sequel?"
My best seller: Happy Feet, Healthy Food: Your Child's First Journal of Exercise and Healthy Eating.
A journal that I use in my after-school club. It's full of information and also has a place for kids to record exercise and healthy habits. It's used in clubs, classrooms, homes, and schools.
My newest: Kids Running, Kids Running: Have Fun, Get Faster & Go Farther.
This is a kid-friendly "how to" book: how to get started, how to train, and how to include all types of runners. It has information, jokes, riddles, activities, etc.
DT - You have a club at your school called the "Happy Feet, Healthy Food Kid's Club." What are some of the activities you do, and how could an educator start this program at their own school?
CG - We meet after school. Kids bring healthy snacks. We read and write in the Happy Feet book. We head outdoors to play a running game on the field, then take a nature walk. We often do art activities that become an integral part of our running games. Information is on my author site as to how to start a club. I also give advice to people who write to me.
DT - Can you explain the Muddy Dog Running Logs?
CG - The Muddy Dog Running Logs are similar to the Log-a-Mile program I developed on KidsRunning.Com when I worked with that site. There are 25, 50, 75, and 100 mile logs. Kids run and color in footprints (each stands for 1/2 mile). When a chart is complete, I send a corresponding mileage bookmark and put the child's first name, state, and date of completion on my site. The logs are very colorful and fun. There are different versions of the logs from artistic, to logs to teach fractions.
DT - At what age do you think it is appropriate to encourage your children to start running consistently? My children run around all over the place playing, but I mean running in a more organized activity.
CG - My running club is for first graders. So I would have to say at the age of 6, but I would never recommend running as an exclusive sport for a young child. They should also hike, learn to ride a bike, participate in other sports (if they are interested), skate, ski, etc.
DT - How can an adult encourage running for their child, but keep running fun instead of serious and regimented?
CG - This is what all of my books and sites are/were about.
DT - Childhood Obesity rates continue to rise in America. How can an adult help combat this trend. Do they focus on their own children, or should they try to form running clubs?
CG - Develop healthy eating and exercise practices at home. Cook healthy food, learn what portion sizes should be and teach their kids. Have a policy for treats: ex. 1/day or something that works for them. Eating is primary and running secondary. It depends on their interest and lifestyle if they focus on their own or have a running club. I mostly have the running club because I think it is fun to share my joy of running with my schoolchildren. I wish I had more control over their eating habits, I don't. I know all too well how poor habits can make someone obese. I've struggled with my weight and have to be very careful with what I eat. I've learned to say NO (thank you). :)
DT - When I read your biography at carolgoodrow.com, you have been involved in creating numerous kids related websites. What are all the websites you have helped create?
CG - I started working with Kevin Malloy at Cool Running. I named and created "Way" Cool Running which no longer exists. I had the help of Coach Mick and Ed. They did advice columns. I created KidsRunning.Com. I had the help of Coach Ed (who did an advice column). I am no longer with KidsRunning.Com. It's been a year since I have been able to work on the site.
DT - Building those websites must have been a lot of work they look fantastic and very kid friendly. What do you like most about building websites?
CG - One of the things I loved about the Web site work was the creativity and designing. I also like to solve problems and develop programs. When I was with the sites, I had free reign - at least for a while.
DT - Both of your children are grown up and are still involved in aerobic activities. How did you encourage them to lead active lifestyles without burning them out at an early age?
CG - My son was a competitive athlete in high school BEFORE I was a runner. He stuck with this throughout the years. He was competitive because he was a great athlete and it was his nature. It was not at my encouragement. I was never competitive. My daughter is a great runner and tennis player as a mom. She just loves to stay fit and in shape. She's dedicated.
DT - It must have been in their genes. It just took you a little longer to discover. Thank you for your time Carol, and thanks for creating such tremendous resources for getting kids involved with running.
Matt McCue Interview about his book An Honorable Run
Sara Hall Interview
The 100 Day Marathon Plan
Return from the Carol Goodrow Interview to the Running Tips homepage.