Games also include elements of speed, agility, coordination and/or power, thus building general athletic skill. Equally important, games build team spirit and camaraderie and keep athletes having fun and looking forward to practice. The more they practice, the better they get. When they see their improvement, they enjoy it even more, so the cycle continues.
Play games after race days or at the end of practices to build fitness, general athletic skills, and enjoyment of running.
Have fun with all practice activities, but also include time specifically for games. Use games on recovery days after a race or hard practice as a mental and physical break and a way to reward runners' hard work. Games are also great for the last 10-20 minutes of practice before cooling down to keep your team moving when they may otherwise begin to get sluggish, which will improve their overall fitness.