As we’ve run this 5k to 10k course a few times now, I decided not to write a lengthy report on our latest 5k to 10k running course. Nevertheless, I thought I would just write a few sentences to congratulate the people who have just completed the course and encourage more people to join our next course that we will hopefully be able to run from early autumn. Also, I hope that many of our 5k to 10k participants will be welcomed at the Striders 10k on 1st July.
There was so much demand for the 5k to 10k course that we actually ran two groups. Nancy Stuart, Ed Startup and I ran the Thursday evening Hillsborough group. Matt Rimmer, Victoria Hawkins and Magda Boo covered the Tuesday evening Millhouses group. In Hillsborough we started with 10 people and it grew to 14 over the 8 weeks, which was fantastic.
When Ed and I first met up to devise a programme we were unsure whether to keep the group as one or whether to split the group in three to cater for the different abilities we had identified in the application forms. In hindsight, I am really glad that we kept the group together and were still able to make sure that every ability was catered for.
We wanted to give the group a flavour of what it is to get ‘better’ at running. I think that we opened people’s eyes to the fact that running is not just about being able to run a longer distance and increase speed, but that you can improve in technique, enjoy different terrains, and benefit from the social side of running too. Nancy, Ed and I started out with a programme to address endurance, speed and strength. After every week we revisited the programme and responded to how the group had performed in the session, and that informed the session for the following week.
We started off with an Andy Davies’ designed speed dating warm up that we repeated every week: a nice slow warm up with time to chat. Then we did the drills, occasionally with some strides when we had time, and this was then followed by the main session. These were divided into speed sessions including a time trial, an 800m relay, a hill repetition session, 4 runs out of the park increasing in distance and difficulty and finalised by a 10k run within 1 hour. The great thing about mixing up the content of sessions was that participants all found something they enjoyed and were ‘good’ at. This was great for building confidence.
As a run leader, taking this course for a first time, I really loved it. I think it is fair to say that the three of us were quite nervous at the beginning but because the group was so friendly and everyone bonded so well, we as run leaders also benefitted from gaining confidence in our own leader skills.
I think about 5 or 6 people from our group have joined Striders. That’s great – of course! – but I think it became more important to me that everyone taking part had the opportunity to progress and realised that it doesn’t take long to be a better runner.