Ready… set… WRITE!


A big bowl of oatmeal to power me through the last stages of book writing:


In the mix:


  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 banana
  • Chia seeds
  • Toppings:  salted peanuts


In other news, Spring Season of Girls on the Run starts next Tuesday!  I am so excited to start coaching again (and the Husband is my co-coach).  If you’re unfamiliar with the program, it’s an after-school program for 8 – 10 year old girls.  Over 12 weeks, they learn self-esteem boosting skills and train to run a 5K.  We coach twice a week for two hours at a time.


Anyone else gearing up for GOTR season?  I know there are a lot of other coaches and volunteers out there!

IMG_2147 IMG_2146


Here are some quick coaching tips (but I’m a newbie, so this is all I’ve learn over one season + feedback from other coaches):


  • The best way to make the girls run (instead of walking) is to run with them and ask them questions.  “What’s your favorite food?”  or  “What do you want to be when you grow up?” are really good conversation starters.


  • Talk to them about the concept of pacing because trust me… they do not understand it (heck, it took me a year to figure out pacing!).


  • Lie and say that skipping is easier than walking. ;) 


  • Pot Holder Looms make excellent lap counters because they are cheap and reusable.  Silly bands and stickers are not great lap counters because the silly bands get tangled or lost and the stickers get caught in their hair.  A troop of crying girls is not fun.


  • If you’re a runner, bring your race medals to show the girls what they’ll get for crossing the finish line at the end of the season.


  • Take “first day” photographs of the girls, go home and change the file names to reflect the girls’ names, and use them as flash cards to quickly learn everyone’s name.


  • Crepe paper makes an awesome finish line for the practice 5K.


  • Foot charm necklaces are awesome rewards for each mile the girls run.  Hand out charms at the end of the week.


  • Most GOTR Chapters have a “Coaches Corner” with pre-written emails for you to send out to parents.  Send out an email about the lesson the day before and offer “car ride home” topics to discuss.


  • Create a password-protected blog to share with parents and document each practice.


  • Use the roster to create attendance and mileage charts to keep track of everyone in an organized fashion.


  • New Balance offers shoe certificates to girls who cannot afford to buy their own running shoes (yay, New Balance!) so if you notice a girl in need, talk to your council director.


Here are some other tips (mostly silly ones) about coaching GOTR.


Any other GOTR coaches out there?  What advice do you have for a fun season?



  • Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday February 3, 2011, 9:35 am

    Do these girls do Cross Country or Track at their schools too? Or is that something that’s not available to them?

    I loved Cross Country when I was in grade school.

    • Caitlin February 3, 2011, 9:41 am

      They do at some of the schools but GOTR is really an emotional program more than a running program.

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat February 3, 2011, 9:36 am

    Your foot charms are such a cute idea!! Unfortunately we don’t have GOTR here in Canada (well not that I know of) but if we did I’d totally get involved. I’m hoping to find something similar to help out with.

  • Holly @ Couch Potato Athlete February 3, 2011, 9:36 am

    I would love to volunteer with GOTR — there isn’t a chapter in my area but I did inquire about starting one.

    I love those foot charms – I want them for myself!

  • April @ Crazy Fabulous Life February 3, 2011, 9:38 am

    I really love the foot charm necklace idea. So cute, and a great way for the girls to display their accomplishments!

  • Alex @ Healing Beauty February 3, 2011, 9:41 am

    What a great program to be involved with!

  • Baking 'n' Books February 3, 2011, 9:42 am

    How’s the book going?!

    Have you ever had brown sugar on your oatmeal? SO GOOD!

  • Kristyn February 3, 2011, 9:43 am

    I LOVE your tips! Our season starts March 7th and I can’t WAIT! It’s my first year as a head coach and the Site Coordinator. This is our first year with it. We have to hope that all this ridiculous snow will be gone here in New Jersey by March 7th! I’m going to print out these tips and keep them in binder for the season. I saw the footprints on your blog before when you were doing it with Jen and I’m going to order them because I love the idea…also the medal idea too is FABULOUS! So far we have 7 girls signed up. Our Director said that’s a good start for the first season ever. I’ve been promoting like crazy. Do you have any promoting ideas? Rock on, Caitlin! Thanks!

    • Caitlin February 3, 2011, 9:49 am

      Do you think you can find mommy bloggers in your area and ask them to promote it? even if they don’t have kids, their readers might.

  • Danielle February 3, 2011, 9:48 am

    I’m not a coach but I do have a question about your experience- How close do you get to these girls? For instance, are there any girls that you continue to correspond with after the season? Is this discouraged/encouraged? I have no reason to ask other than curiosity 🙂 I just imagine that as an adolescent I would’ve really, really looked up to my coaches.

    • Caitlin February 3, 2011, 9:50 am

      I think it sometimes happens but I haven’t been able to keep in touch with my girls fast last season. I sent out an email to the parents but the response was mehh. It might be because I wasn’t the head coach – I know some people stay in touch with certain girls for a long, long time!

  • Jennifer (keepitsimplefoods) February 3, 2011, 9:51 am

    Seeing the pics of you wearing a t-shirt and shorts makes me long for some warm weather! Oh summer, when will you return?

  • Eliz@The Sweet Life February 3, 2011, 9:54 am

    Good luck as you enter the home stretch! It will feel so good to be done with this stage.

  • Sarah @ The Strength of Faith February 3, 2011, 9:56 am

    You should show the girls the clip of you on the Today Show – I bet they’d get a kick out of that!

  • Sarena (The Non Dairy Queen) February 3, 2011, 9:57 am

    Good luck on the writing today! That oatmeal is sure to fuel you through! Salted peanuts…nice touch!

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape February 3, 2011, 9:59 am

    GOTR is such a great idea!! I bet you have a lot of fun working with the kids 😀

  • Stacy @ Every Little Thing February 3, 2011, 10:01 am

    Our season starts March 1st! We are gauging interest…we may have enough girls for a 2nd team and if so, I’ll be head coach! Otherwise, I’ll be Assistant Coach, which is totally fine by me. Very exciting! I just need to snow to melt so I can start running.

  • jen @ taste life February 3, 2011, 10:12 am

    Your ideas are so cute. I love how involved you’ve become with this group.

  • Andrea February 3, 2011, 10:12 am

    Thanks for the tips our season starts mid March.

  • Ann @ Day by Day February 3, 2011, 10:18 am

    I’d love to get involved with it once I’m out of college and in a bigger city. It sounds awesome! It’ll be a nice change of pace from an accounting job to go hang out with some fun girls! You just reminded me how much I like using salted peanuts on oatmeal!

  • Ali @ Ali on the Run February 3, 2011, 10:19 am

    This is great advice! While I unfortunately don’t have the time to be a coach right now, I’m hoping to volunteer with the organization in NYC to be a running buddy during the 5K. It’s amazing what you’re doing and I totally admire you and your husband for it!

  • Janene @ One Run at a Time February 3, 2011, 10:29 am

    I’m so excited to coach GOTR – I won’t be coaching in the Spring, because my move to Cincinnati was delayed, but I’m hping to at least be a running buddy… I’ll have to save these tips for the Fall. 😀

  • Lauren February 3, 2011, 10:30 am

    I love these tips! Those questions are so true. I ask so many questions or play games with the kids from the summer camp I work at like “whats your favorite…,” then they ask me a billion questions back. I always get the “how old are you” question, then they all guess. The answers are always so varied – sometimes, they think I look 12, others times, I’m 30.

  • kalin February 3, 2011, 10:31 am

    I’m a teacher not a coach, but one thing I learned to do (and have seen good results with) is giving specific feedback-so in a classroom I say things like “I like how you used punctuation on EVERY sentence!” rather than just “good job!”. It lets kids know what they’re doing well, and keeps praise from seeming like an afterthought. So in coaching instead of “great run!” it’d be more of “Katie I saw how tired you were after the first lap but you kept going!”
    You’ll see kids really pick up on it and all work to do the things that people are getting praised for it.

    • Caitlin February 3, 2011, 10:46 pm

      This is great advice 😉

  • Kara February 3, 2011, 10:35 am

    I don’t coach, but I’ve taught 7-8th grade Sunday school and I always had good luck asking the girls to tell me their “sunshine and showers” or high point and low point of the week. It’s a really good ice breaker and the girls really seemed to like it and it helped me get to know them.

    Do you create a Facebook group for your girls? I’d think that would be fun (and I’m assuming they all have FB profiles 🙂

    • Caitlin February 3, 2011, 10:38 am

      Some people create private blogs for the parents and girls to read but not Facebook – technically you have to be 13 to be on Facebook.

      • Kara February 3, 2011, 10:39 am

        I have to say I’m glad to hear that you have to be 13. There is some skeevy stuff on there!

        • Ashley February 3, 2011, 11:56 am

          Unfortunately everyone lies, which is why there are 8 year olds with a facebook page.

  • Sara (Miles and Manhattan) February 3, 2011, 10:39 am

    GOTR sounds so amazing, I having been looking into getting involved in NYC in the spring when my schedule clears up a bit and the weather is nice for running!!

  • Rachel @ No Need For Speed February 3, 2011, 10:47 am

    THANK YOU SO MUCH! I have GOTR coaches’ orientation this Saturday and I will definitely be mentioning your blog and these tips to the other coaches and staff.

  • Leanne (For Health's Sake) February 3, 2011, 10:47 am

    I think this is such a fantastic volunteering idea. The young girls are going to benefit so much.

  • ashley@quasichick February 3, 2011, 10:53 am

    Love this..and that necklace is to cute!

  • Katy (The Singing Runner) February 3, 2011, 10:57 am

    I just got a call 30 minutes ago (while I was in class) offering me a coaching position! 😀 Unfortunately I am not sure if I schedule is going to allow me to do it, but I am going to call the coordinator back to see if my conflicts could be worked around. *fingers crossed*

  • Camille February 3, 2011, 11:04 am

    We used to have those foot charms for this program in my elementary school called “Run for Fun”. Everyone always wanted to be the cool kid with the most feet hanging off their shoelaces 🙂

  • Destiny February 3, 2011, 11:14 am

    Hi Caitlin! I am a long time reader but have never left a comment – I wanted to let you know that your passion for GOTR is what made me sign up to be an assistant coach for this season – there are no chapters in Orange County CA so I am going to be driving to a school in Long Beach once a week – training is this Saturday and I could not be more excited! When I sent in my application I mentioned your blog was how I heard about GOTR and the volunteer director said she met you in AZ and it was a pleasure! Just wanted to finally comment and send my thanks to you!

    • Caitlin February 3, 2011, 10:47 pm

      Awesome 🙂 I hope you have lots of fun!

  • Sarah for Real February 3, 2011, 11:16 am

    I am not a coach but I’ve learned that it’s super important to impress on kids (no matter academics or athletics) that the most important thing is how hard they TRY. I love that you can use GOTR to help them learn this, since running is such an easy example. “It’s not how fast you run, just how hard you try.” They can use that philosophy in every part of their life!

  • Joanna@ Drizzle of Sunshine February 3, 2011, 11:31 am

    I always swoon at your GOTR posts! What an awesome organization! Love those foot necklaces! I’m sure those are great motivations on their own!

  • Caitlin @ TPL February 3, 2011, 11:33 am

    Have fun, it bet it’s amazing to work with those girls! I love the foot charms!! When I was in elementary school we would have a chart for PE of how many times we walked around the track and for each mile we would get a charm (it was for the whole year). Good luck writing!

  • Joanne February 3, 2011, 11:37 am

    Where’s my mind?! I had to re-read the necklace reward. I thought it said FOOD charm necklaces. I’m thinking “Great idea! A nibble for every mile run!” Oh well.. maybe I’ll try that on my next run. 😉

    Have fun coaching.

  • Cate February 3, 2011, 11:43 am

    I just attended coaches training last weekend and am so very excited to be an assistant coach this Spring! Our season starts in about two weeks and am looking forward to it.
    I have to say thanks to you for writing about this program because it is how I found out about it! 🙂 I will definitely keep all these tips in mind.

  • Claire February 3, 2011, 11:48 am

    I always read but never comment. . .but GOTR is one of my favorite things ever. I learned about it last winter and immediately sent my area’s director an email telling her I wanted to get involved in any way possible. I became an assisstant coach for 32!!! little girls who are all rockstars. In the spring they all finished the 5k and became so much closer as a group. I love all that GOTR stands for (I still tell tons of people about it and how much it affected me as well.)

    One thing that I highly recommend is make a fool of yourself. The girls love it. Do the energy awards at any and every time it is called for. (my personal fav’s are the cowgirl and superstar) The girls loved one that went “OOH, HEYY, You’re lookin’ good!”

    Running with the girls is also a great way to get them to open up to you, they feel a lot more comfortable when its not with the entire team.
    Have fun this season!

  • alison February 3, 2011, 11:58 am

    I love the foot charms! Sign ups for our spring GOTR season haven’t even started yet! On Feb 11th, I’ll sign my daughter up again. She had so much fun during the fall season. Our school has two wonderful teachers who coach the girls and I just couldn’t be any happier with the program.

  • Alison @ Around the VeggieTable February 3, 2011, 12:12 pm

    Wow that is AWESOME that New Balance helps! We don’t have GOTR in Hagerstown yet (I wish wish wish we did because I SO want to coach!) but there is definitely a need for it. We have several schools with lots of low-income families who could really use the program AND the new shoes.

  • michelle February 3, 2011, 12:12 pm

    Our season starts in March! Great tips! I like making sure that the put their hands down while others are sharing. It’s too hard to listen with your hand up! I use the sign-language “me too” sign to keep conversation under control (you know those girls can share and talk forever- which is good but it can take a little too long sometimes). When someone says something you agree with, or you were going to say you look at them and give them the “me too” sign. Using one hand point your thumb at yourself, and your pinky at the other person you agree with. Then you sort of wave” sideways- putting your thumb close to you and then see-sawing the pinky to the other.

    • Caitlin February 3, 2011, 10:48 pm

      This is an awesome idea and I will definitely be doing it with our girls! Thanks Michelle.

  • Lauren @ Team Giles February 3, 2011, 12:20 pm

    My sister and I are volunteering for GOTR. I can’t wait. 🙂 Great tips too Caitlin.

  • Stephanie February 3, 2011, 12:31 pm

    How do the seasons/sessions break up? I would really love to do this during the summer as I’ll be done with classes!

    • Caitlin February 3, 2011, 10:48 pm

      Fall and Spring only in most locations 🙁

  • Natalia - a side of simple February 3, 2011, 12:31 pm

    I’m so excited for your GOTR season to start again! I enjoyed following your journey with the girls so much. I think that’s a pretty clear sign that I should find it in my area 😉

  • Runeatrepeat February 3, 2011, 12:41 pm

    I’m trying to start a chapter near me! I don’t know how long it will take to get started, but I’m excited 🙂

  • Christine February 3, 2011, 12:52 pm

    This makes me want to coach!

  • Samantha @ Health, Happiness & Skinny Jeans February 3, 2011, 1:28 pm

    These are fun ideas! Coaching seems like a really rewarding experience.

  • ashley February 3, 2011, 1:46 pm

    I think GOTR is such a great program! I can’t wait to volunteer later this year when I transition to FT school & PT Work (right now it’s opposite for me).

  • Kiran February 3, 2011, 2:05 pm

    Good luck in powering through your writing 🙂

  • Allison February 3, 2011, 3:04 pm

    I just wanted to throw this out there about GOTR. The girls pay to be in the program. The coaches are all volunteers and they get minimal support from GOTR. But the girls at my children’s school have to pay $150 a session (fall or spring) to participate and this is prohibitively expensive for many of them. The race that the girls sign up for is not that expensive and the girls (or the school) have to provide transportation, etc to the race. The teachers who coordinate GOTR at out school have decided to drop it this spring and just do their own program as well as organize a school 5k for the girls to participate in. Several of the teachers and the former co-ordinator of GOTR in my area have said that the program has changed quite a bit (ie gotten REALLY expensive) over the past few years and that, while GOTR is technically a non-profit, it is really now for-profit for the people running it. It is so wonderful to see so many people willing to volunteer their time to empower girls and also just to encourage them to get out and exercise, but given the financially prohibitive burden it places on low income families (the people who need it the most) it is not that wonderful a program anymore.

    • Caitlin February 3, 2011, 3:32 pm

      There are scholarships available to girls who cannot afford the program.

      I think its wonderful that your school found a way to make it work for them though.

      • Allison February 3, 2011, 3:46 pm

        Actually, there really aren’t scholarships available when there is a large population of low income girls. Our PTA provides scholarships to girls who want to participate, but having sat through yet another PTA meeting where the teachers/coaches discuss “what exactly are we getting for all of that money we are paying” I have to disagree.

        • Caitlin February 3, 2011, 3:48 pm

          Hmm what council are you guys at? Just curious, not going to go rat to GOTRI.

          I wish programs like GOTR could be free but obviously they cannot. Its a shame and like I said, I’m glad your school found a way to make the concept work for them.

        • Allison February 3, 2011, 3:55 pm

          Arlington, VA…I don’t know what the council is. I do want to say that I think the concept is great and I am always impressed by people like yourself who volunteer so much of their time to help the girls learn to enjoy exercise. Given all the commitments you have, it is pretty generous of you to do so much. It is just the financial part of GOTR that I have an issue with. My daughter, who isn’t old enough yet, does ballet, soccer, swimming, and basketball so GOTR would be just one more thing. It is just the many families who can’t afford all those things that need GOTR the most.

        • Coach S December 10, 2015, 10:57 pm

          Our GOTR girls pay $100 per season, which includes to $20 5k registration, 2 t-shirts, a water bottle, snacks, and the curriculum itself. We had 12 girls this season, and almost all of them recieved scholarships. Our school is in a very high poverty area.

  • Courtney February 3, 2011, 4:35 pm

    That’s adorable! Would love to be a coach one day. Good for you! 🙂

  • Kristen February 3, 2011, 6:55 pm

    Thank you so much for the tips! I am in the process of marketing the program at the school I teach (I am the coach AND site liason… big undertaking for me first season!). I am soooooooo excited to get started, and I am hoping I can get some new girls to sign up since it seems like only my 5th graders are interested. And believe me, I will be using OB in some of my lessons!

  • Heather C February 3, 2011, 7:27 pm

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! I’m starting my first season as an assistant in March & my head coach who is also a newbie doesn’t have any time to help or pay attention to the needs of GOTR so I feel like I will be referencing this a LOT! 🙂
    I had to comment on what Allison said above, as when I told my own coworkers about the cost they were shocked. I have to admit that I was too, although the price for low income families is helpful. I was thinking back to being that age, if I had wanted to be apart of this I probably would have needed to convince my parents how much I wanted it. I hope as the program grows larger & larger the cost will come down especially with bigger sponsers like New Balance.
    I am also so thankful for the money you won to be donated to this great program!
    I wonder if Allison May be apart of the GOTR Northern Virginia. I’m in Stafford, VA & we’re apart of GOTR NoVa.

    • Caitlin February 3, 2011, 10:49 pm

      I hope you have SO MUCH fun coaching!

  • April February 3, 2011, 9:09 pm

    I was an assistant coach last year and will be a coach this year – I am VERY excited. It’s such an amazing program AND extremely rewarding to boot!!!

  • Kristy February 3, 2011, 9:41 pm

    Enjoy your blog, and your Operation Beautiful book! Am really considering starting GOTR here where I live in Bowling Green, KY.

    • Caitlin February 3, 2011, 10:49 pm

      Thank you for buying my book 🙂

  • MightyMite Runner February 3, 2011, 11:50 pm

    i’m so excited. I’m “co-coaching” a group starting Monday!!! Our target race is the Diva Dash on mothers day weekend sponsered by Fleet Feet where I’ll be coaching adult runners!!! I’m so excited to do both!

    • Caitlin February 4, 2011, 9:37 am

      This is so exciting!

Healthy Tipping Point