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P.E. Central Lesson Plan: Discovery Pacing
Purpose of Activity:
Students discover strategies for pacing themselves when running longer distances.
Suggested Grade Level:
Materials Needed:
1/4 mile track and a stopwatch; Paper and pencils for each group of two students are optional;
Lesson Plan:
Description of Idea

Have students run one lap as fast as they can (after a warm-up, of course). One partner times the other partner. Large clocks with second hands or a large digital timer work well. Have the partner write the time down. Students switch so that everyone has recorded their best times.

Bring the class together for a discussion. Ask the students if they can run 4 laps at that pace. They should say no. Next, ask them what they would have to do to run 4 laps as fast as they can. The discussion should be geared towards the concept of pacing and how it relates to cardiovascular endurance.

Have the students talk with their partner and come up with 1-2 strategies they can use to pace themselves. Offer suggestions such as make sure you can talk but cannot sing while running or to run a lap 10-30 seconds slower. Have them break the time down by lap. For example, if the first time they recorded was 90 seconds, have them pace themselves to run a 120 second lap. This means they should run the first corner in 30 seconds, finish the straight away by 60 seconds, next corner at 90 seconds and finish the lap at 120 seconds.

Have the students practice their pacing by running a lap 10-30 seconds slower than the first time. A second option is for students to run 4 laps and make sure each lap is 10-30 slower than the first time.

Either way, you will need to call out the time every 10 seconds, so they can work on their pace.

Teaching Suggestions:

Use flags, chairs, or cones to mark every 110 yards (100 meters) around the track as a reference for pacing.

Assessment Ideas:

Have the students write down their pacing strategies and turn them in after class or for homework.

Use the times for goal setting as part of their individual fitness plan.
Bob Wright in Richboro, PA. Posted on PEC: 11/2/2001.
This lesson plan was provided courtesy of P.E. Central (
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