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STOP BEFORE YOU START six simple steps to leading a Run for God class


Dear Instructors, First of all, I want to thank you for coming on board as a Run for God Instructor. I have no doubt that this will be a life changing experience for you as well as those whom you are leading. I have always said, “Whether you are taking the class or teaching the class, it will change your life,” and that’s so true! Each week, we hear from students and instructors whose lives and focus have been radically changed as a result of the truths laid out in this study. It’s not because of anything that we at Run for God have done but because of what God can do when His people simply put their focus on Him. My goal in this handout, and all throughout this Instructor’s Guide, is to simply give you a template of how you can teach your class. I will give you suggestions and tips along the way, but please understand that this template and these suggestions are not a “one size fits all” strategy. You may have different ideas along the way of where the Lord may be leading you, and if that’s the case, then by all means, follow His lead! — Mitchell


Step One|Class Format While there are many ways to format your class, we have found that one particular format seems to work best for the majority of Instructors. Below is a sample format of how “most” instructors choose to format their class nights. LET’S ASSUME THAT YOUR CLASS MEETS TUESDAY NIGHTS AT 7:00 PM. 6:15 PM Instructor arrives to set-up. (Move chairs, test audio/video, print handouts) 6:30 PM Doors open, music’s playing. Instructors and Volunteers are on hand to welcome and encourage students. 7:00 PM


7:05 PM

Prayer, then Devotion.

7:30 PM

Running Education.

8:00 PM

Group Run.

2 Step Two|Class Prep PRAYER

Create a prayer group right now of people who will

commit to pray for this class. They will start now as

you prepare and will continue to pray through to the end. All of our plans are great, but they are worth nothing without God’s blessing.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

LOCATION A lot of thought should be put into where you’ll be hosting your Run for God class. For most instructors, classes are held at their home church. This is familiar ground, they know who to speak with to get permission, and this is a chance to introduce students to their home church. Others however, choose to host classes at other locations like local gyms, private schools, YMCA’s, and even local parks.


SIZE Can the venue support your class size?



Does your venue offer a projector or TV/DVD

If you choose to host a group run after class, do you have a good location close by, or within walking


distance to do that?

AUDIO Depending on your class size, do you have an audio setup whereby your class can hear you clearly?

SCHEDULING Making sure that your schedule is nailed down prior to announcing your class is very important. Once you’ve decided on a location, you’ll want to make a schedule and make sure that all parties are aware of it. My suggestion for scheduling a class always begins with deciding on what race your students will be graduating and then counting backwards. You’ll also want to consider if there are any other scheduling conflicts during your class that will substantially affect attendance. These conflicts could be other church functions such as revival, school schedule conflicts such as Spring Break, or even holidays. Be sure to think through these conflicts thoroughly.


The race that you intend on serving as your graduation is a local 5K, which will be held on Saturday - April 25th. You know that your local school system’s Spring Break is the first full week of April and your church has a week-long revival the week of February 19th. Now that you have the specifics, you can lay out a final schedule, and it would look something like the schedule to the right.

Tuesday January 13 Introduction / Kick-Off Meeting

Tuesday March 10 WEEK 7

Tuesday January 20 WEEK 1

Tuesday March 17 WEEK 8

Tuesday January 27 WEEK 2 Tuesday February 3 WEEK 3 Tuesday February 10 *Church Revival Week of February 9th.

Repeat Week 3’s Workouts Tuesday February 17 WEEK 4 Tuesday February 24 WEEK 5 Tuesday March 3 WEEK 6

Tuesday March 24 WEEK 9 Tuesday March 31 WEEK 10 Tuesday April 6 *Spring Break Week of April 6th.

Repeat Week 10’s Workouts Tuesday April 14 WEEK 11 Tuesday April 21 WEEK 12 Saturday April 25 RACE DAY

*Anytime you must

skip a week in your schedule, simply repeat the prior week’s workouts during the week that you are skipping and resume your normal schedule the next week.

GROUP RUNS If you intend to host group runs, you’ll need to prepare for that now, as well. Do you need permission? How long is the course? Is it safe? Is it well lit? Is it closed to traffic? Will I host a run for every workout, or just on the nights that we have class? All of these are questions to consider. Group runs have proven, over the years, to benefit Run for God classes greatly as they create a sense of community and give your students a chance to get to know one another, as well as cheer each other on. VOLUNTEERS/CO-LEADERS Before going too far, identify some others who may come alongside to help you lead this class. These volunteers could be others in your church or even others in your running community. There are many moving pieces to this program and you’ll want to recruit some help, especially in a few key areas.

Co-Leader This is someone who could lead the class should you not be able to make it one night. They will know the students and the curriculum just as well as you do. Run Leaders These could be runners in your community who would be willing to step up and lead some of your group runs. If you can host group runs for every workout, that would be great, but don’t try to tackle this by yourself. Remember, you still have a life, family, and other things that need your attention. DON’T LET THIS CLASS BECOME YOUR IDOL! Group Order Coordinator Ordering your books and shirts as a group is by far the best option. Prices are cheaper, and there are no shipping charges. With that said, someone who is detail oriented should handle this and that person should not be you. Keep your focus on your class and encouraging them, ordering books and t-shirts should not be your focus. Let someone help you here. People love to help, you just need to ask.


Step Three|Class Milestones REGISTERING AS AN INSTRUCTOR Once you get to this point, go ahead and register yourself as a Run for God Instructor. This step is very simple and necessary to complete some of the steps that we will discuss a little later. You will find the “Instructor Login” tab on the Store page at www. Once you have registered and been approved, you will have access to all of the resources available to Run for God Instructors, including the Instructor’s Store, downloads, and your very own webpage for your class. Go ahead and take care of this step now.

STUDENT BOOK ORDERS The 5K Student Books can be ordered several different ways for your class. Anyone can go to at anytime to order a copy, this is not ideal, however, for a class that could make a group order. Because there is much more handling involved with shipping each student his or her own 5K Challenge, the prices are higher, and we are forced to charge for shipping as well. The best option for ordering books is to do it in the form of a group order. As part of becoming an instructor you were given access, by registering as an instructor, to our Instructor’s Store whereby you have access to many more products at cheaper prices and free shipping, AS LONG AS THE TOTAL IS MORE THAN $250. The best time to place your group order of books is immediately following your Introduction/Kick-Off Meeting. This will give you a week before your students will need their books, and because we typically ship out the next

business day, your order should be in-hand in plenty of time prior to your next class. You may still want to order 10% more books as your class will typically grow the first two weeks. T-SHIRT ORDERS While not required, we do recommend a Run for God tee for every class member. This is where Run for God started; you may have even seen some of our banners that say “It All Started With a Tee”. It’s true, this is where the rubber meets the road and where your students will be forced out of their comfort zone, because people are going to ask, “What is Run for God?” It’s my hope and prayer that this will open the door for them to share what Christ is doing in their lives. WE SUGGEST THAT T-SHIRT ORDERS BE PLACED FOLLOWING YOUR WEEK TWO CLASS. You’ll want to start sending out the Group Catalog (found on the Instructor’s Store or on downloads) as soon as possible and let everyone know the deadline to have their order forms to you

is at the conclusion of that class, if that’s the date you decide. Be firm with this deadline! The benefit of ordering as a group is the ability to order from the Group Catalog, which offers many more products at cheaper prices and free shipping as long as the order exceeds $250. Beware, we cannot add to or alter a group order once the order has been placed, so make sure your class meets your deadline. This is where you will want to recruit some help. Taking money, compiling orders into one online order, and then distributing the order once received can be a little time consuming, but it’s well worth it. Grab a detail oriented volunteer and ask for his or her help with your group order. *Remember, if ordering from the Group Catalog then your order may take up to two weeks to ship from the time the order is placed. Be sure and plan ahead!

WEEK 8 - 20 MINUTE RUN This is a big week! Week 8 is the week where this program transitions from a walk/run program to a run program. With the exception of the warm-up and cool down, all walking breaks have been removed and it’s time to learn to run for 20 minutes. Many members of your class are having doubts as to whether they can do this or not. THEY CAN! If they have successfully completed the program up to this point then they are ready to take this next step. Many of them see it as a giant leap, but it’s NOT, and you, as the instructor, need to encourage them in that fact. Make this night special. Invite other runners in your church to join you for this class. Encourage family members to be there to celebrate this milestone with your students. Banners, signs, pom-poms, and music are all welcome. I will never forget the first time that I experienced Week 8. It was a night of tears of joy and the night when many people went from “I Can’t” to “I Just Did!”

Celebrate this night with your class in a big way. You may find, as an instructor, that this night will be more special than your graduating race. Enjoy and celebrate the accomplishments of your students! RACE DAY How many of you remember your first race? If you do, then you know it was a very exciting time. Just imagine how much more exciting it would have been if you had gotten to complete that first race surrounded by a group of friends with whom you had just spent the last 12-14 weeks learning to run and paralleling that experience with your spiritual lives. This race will most likely be a “high water mark” in many of your student’s lives as it relates to running. Be sure and help them as much as possible in this process. We cover Race Day thoroughly in Chapter 12, but there are some things that you should consider now.

1. AT WHAT RACE WILL YOU BE GRADUATING? If you have a local 5K that can accommodate your group, then that’s a great option. You may want to reach out to the race director to see if they offer discounts for groups. Let them know about your class and that you’d be happy to promote their race to your class. If you can’t find a local race that fits your schedule, then a Virtual Race may be a good option. These races are growing in popularity and can be run anytime and anywhere. Be sure and check out as we offer several different options for Virtual Races as well as Actual Races, if you can make the trip.



classes choose to get together either the night before the race or in the days after the race to congratulate each other and celebrate one another’s

accomplishments. This is also a great time for you, as the instructor, to just sit back and listen to all the great things that God has done through your class. Make this night informal and full of laughter. A LITTLE MORE ABOUT OUR VIRTUAL RACES Many classes have found it difficult to find a race that will work for the timeframe of their classes. Our Virtual Races may be a good option as the timeframe of when you run can be flexible. Find out more by reading the PDF entitled “How to Make a Run for God Virtual Race YOUR Race� which can be found on the Instructor Downloads.

4 Step Four|Guest Speakers

THIS STUDY ALLOWS FOR THREE OPPORTUNITIES TO HAVE GUEST SPEAKERS. Be sure that you get these speakers scheduled during your planning stage. Having guest speakers is not necessary and the class can be taught without having them, but many have found this to be a good idea especially on those nights where a “professional” could really help. These nights are as follows. WEEK 3 - SHOES

As far as education goes, “Shoes” is by far the most important subject that should be learned by every new runner. It’s also probably the most overlooked and misunderstood. We do have an excellent “Shoe” video that explains this subject in great detail, but nothing beats a real life shoe expert who can explain the shoe industry and take questions.

Should you decide to invite your local running store to be your guest speaker, make sure that you are comfortable with their expertise in shoes. Chances are that the local high school kid working afternoons at the local sporting goods store is not going to be a good option. If you have a question at all about the competency of your shoe professional, or you don’t have one local, then use the materials provided. We know these are solid principals. Be sure to send them an outline of the topics covered in the Instructor’s Book as a guideline. Let them know that each student will most likely have this outline in front of them.

WEEK 4 - STRETCHING/CORE EXERCISE If you are a runner, then there’s a good chance that you know everything that needs to be said during this week. We all know that stretching and core work is important, and we may even be able to articulate that perfectly to our class. But Week 4 is meant to be interactive, and if you are like me, I’m not going to be the one on the floor demonstrating this to my class; someone else can do a much better job than me. Some may be perfectly comfortable here, but not this guy. Local stretching instructors are a great fit. They are typically comfortable in a class setting and getting a group of people to stretch effectively is what they do. I will throw out a word of caution here. Be sure you know the person who will be leading your class. Not only do you need to know them, but you also need to know where they stand spiritually. Many stretching routines can get into the realm of other religions, and should be avoided. This chapter is about stretching as it relates to running and nothing else.

WEEK 5 - INJURIES/INJURY PREVENTION Because this week can really affect the well-being of your students, it may be a good idea to have someone who is specialized in the field of Sports Medicine as your speaker. It could be your local Orthopedic or Physical Therapist. Let them know that you’d like for them to explain the most common running injuries and how they can be prevented. You may also send them an outline of what we cover here in the Instructor’s Book as a guideline. Again, make sure that you are comfortable with what your professionals are teaching. Just because someone is a “professional” in their field doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t check them out first.


Step Five|Class Promotion REGISTRATION

Now that your class is scheduled, your location is set, the race plans are in order, and you’ve taken this ALL to God in prayer, you’re ready to start taking class registrations.

The first thing you will need to do is register your class on our website by logging in as an instructor and building your very own web page. Here you will setup all the details about your class, complete with your registration form, class schedule, class fee, location, logo, and your contact information. Once this step is complete, our system will generate a custom webpage just for your class and a link that you can forward to and share with everyone you know. Your students will simply go here to learn about the details of your class and to register.

This process is super easy and will save you a lot of time and paperwork. Once someone registers for your class, their registration form will be e-mailed to them as well as you. This way you will be able to see how registrations are going in real time. Students are then prompted to print their form and bring it with them to the first class along with any cost that is required. PROTECT YOURSELF AND YOUR CHURCH One of the reasons we provide online registration is to protect all parties involved from litigation. Each student must read a comprehensive liability waiver and acknowledge the risks that come with starting any exercise program. Students are then required to agree with this waiver prior to completing the registration form. As long as this step is completed, then Run for God will maintain a record of all student waivers.

It is for this reason that we encourage all instructors to have an Internet capable computer on hand at EVERY class so that when new students show up for class, they can register online before class starts. They can also do this on their mobile device. This will also give you, the instructor, documentation and a contact list of everyone who is taking your class.

PLEASE DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP! MARKETING OK, the preparation is done, and it’s time to start getting the word out about your class. No one will come to your class if no one knows about it! So let’s talk about the top ways to spread the word about your class. WORD OF MOUTH - Start letting everyone that you know in on the fact that you will be teaching a Run for God class.

POSTERS AND BANNERS - Download these from our Instructor Downloads, fill in your class information, and start posting these anywhere and everywhere that you can. Church Hallways, Running Stores, Gyms, Local Hangouts, and local Race Goodie Bags are all good options. PROMOTIONAL VIDEOS - Play one of our short promotional videos for your church. Many times pastors will allow these videos to be played just before their Sunday service. SOCIAL MEDIA - Get the word out about your class through social media. Create a Facebook Page for your local class and begin to invite those in your sphere of influence to join. Here you can post our promotional videos, keep everyone updated on when your class will start, provide the registration link, and offer any other information that you feel necessary to share. If creating a Facebook Page, we suggest and then

your city and state. So lets say you are hosting a class in Atlanta, GA, your Facebook Page could be This in effect creates a community page so that if another church in Atlanta comes on board, then you could make their instructor an administrator and you both could promote each other’s classes. LOCAL NEWS - Press Releases can be very effective in communities. You can download a sample from our News/Media Page that can be used to send to local papers and news agencies. Be ready, because many times they may want to interview you, but this is a great way to get the word out.

Q: When should I start promoting my class? A: 30-60 days from the start.


Step Six|Starting Your Class Well, I hope and pray that this information has equipped you to get your class started on the right foot. We’ve talked about a lot of topics and plans, but all of this is for nothing if not rooted in prayer. Planning and Preparation is a very important piece of the puzzle, but Prayer is a must. SO WHAT NOW?

The last thing that I would suggest before kicking off your first class is to have a communication plan in place. Whether you will be the main communicator or one of your volunteers, you need to have a plan. Some choose to use e-mail, some use Facebook, while others choose to sign their classes up for a texting service. Whatever your form of communication, make sure your entire class is plugged in. Students love to hear from their instructors, which is why we suggest 3-4 messages each week while the

class is in session. Some messages may be a word of encouragement, while others may simply be a class reminder. If you notice someone has missed a class, send them a private message and let them know that you noticed, it may have been a conflict or it may have been doubt setting in. Either way, this lets them know you care! This may be the first time teaching this class for some of you, while others of you may have taught this class many times. We must remember that there is power in what we do, and that cannot be forgotten. Don’t get stuck in a rut of just going through the motions. Every one of your students is walking in a different place in life and they are leaning on you (the instructor) to prayerfully motivate them through this experience.


Stop Before You Start 3rd Edition  

Instructors, please read this booklet before planning your class!

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