Guidelines for Running Groups

v2.0 (19th March 2018)

To ensure the safety and enjoyment of all runners on club runs we’ve produced a series of guidelines for both run leaders and group runners to follow.

It is important for everyone to note that whilst the Run Leader(s) are responsible for the safe operations of the group, individual runners are still responsible for their own safety and the safety of fellow runners.

The club has a number of qualified leaders who have been on the England Athletics Leadership in Running Fitness course; however it is not always possible to ensure that groups will be led by these individuals. Volunteers do not need to take this course to start leading groups on club runs. Striders members are already covered by the club’s insurance as part of their membership.

Training Session Ethos

  • The sessions are group sessions and so there is an explicit responsibility to support each other and the Run Leader.
  • Sessions are welcoming and friendly but are also training sessions, so all runners are expected to support the Run Leader delivering England Athletics good practice in respect of warm ups, drills, cool-downs and stretching etc.
  • All runs need to be achievable for all runners within the group.  
  • The pace of the run should be dictated by the slowest runner in the group.  
  • Doubling back is mandatory and key to working as a team and supporting slower runners, (we’ve all been there) and should not be seen as a chore.  
  • Faster runs in the group should not just wait at the top of the hill then instantly set off when the slowest members get there.  This grossly unfair on the slower runners who get no rest.
  • Remember, we have all been the slowest in the group at some stage, please treat these runners with the same consideration that you would wish to be treated.

Run Leaders have the final say on runs.  If you are asked by the run leader to slow down, double back or look after the group, then please look to do so.

The Basics

  • All groups should look to complete a dynamic warm-up where possible.
  • Groups should be split into appropriate abilities so that the pace and distance guidelines from the associated page on the website for the training night can be met.
  • Groups should be kept to sensible and manageable sizes and there should be at least one Run Leader for every 10-12 runners.
  • All runners should arrive at least ten minutes before the advertised start times so that groups can be organised and can warm-up/leave at the advertised times.

Run Leaders will:

  • Plan a route before the run within the appropriate pace and distance as detailed on the clubs training night web pages.
  • Carry a mobile phone for emergencies or when this is not possible ensure that someone within the group has one.
  • Ensure they have access to the Leaders only online emergency contact details spreadsheet.
  • Ensure that the pace of the group is determined by the needs of the slowest runner.
  • Ensure that EVERYONE in the group doubles back to keep the group together.
  • Note the number of runners at the start and finish of the run.
  • Not leave anyone behind for any reason.
  • Encourage group members to move up a group when appropriate.
  • Ensure that someone escorts runners who are unable to continue due to injury or illness, back to the start.
  • If the group is becoming unmanageable due to a wide range of abilities, split the group into two asking another experienced runner to lead one of the sub-groups.
  • Stick to roads with pavements where possible.  If there is no alternative, then take every precaution to ensure the safety of runners by avoiding main/busy roads and using the advice from the Highway Code  https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-highway-code/rules-for-pedestrians-1-to-35) as a bare minimum; single file, right hand side of the road into direction of traffic, high viz, look-outs etc.
  • Stick to pavements with adequate lighting when time of day/night dictates.
  • Report any incidents to the Venue Reps and Training, Coaching and Venues team.

All runners should:

  • Wear high-visibility clothing in the darker months (run leaders reserve the right to ask people to leave the run if they are not wearing appropriate high-visibility clothing.)
  • Carry some form of Identification and emergency contact details.
  • Not wear headphones.
  • Inform the Run Leader of any illness or injury concerns.
  • Inform the Run Leader if they are new or have recently moved up a group.
  • Bring appropriate medication if required.
  • Notify the Run Leader if you are leaving the run for whatever reason (or if that’s not possible, another member of the group.)
  • Stay within contact of all members unless a split has been agreed with the Run Leader.
  • Faster runners should loop back at regular intervals or when requested to by the Run Leader.
  • If you choose to run with a group that is slower than your usual pace, do not run at the front of this group, stay back and help the leader otherwise your pace will dictate the group and make it harder for others in the group.
  • Look to place themselves in the appropriate group based on their ability. If they find themselves at the front of the group most weeks, consider moving up a group. Conversely, if they find themselves at the back most weeks, consider a slower paced group.
  • Cross on official road crossings wherever possible, all roads and road junctions should be approached with caution and only cross when safe to do so. Do not follow other runners across the road; ensure that you carry out your own checks before you cross.  Mid-sections of a group tend to ignore traffic signals while following the front of the pack which can be particularly dangerous. Please re-group in full on the other side of the road.
  • Do not run more than two abreast especially in busy areas.
  • Give way to other pedestrians/path users when necessary.
  • Warn other runners around you of impending hazards, pedestrians, dustbins, low hanging branches etc.
  • Look after the other runners within your training group, if someone is struggling make sure that they are not left on their own or inform your Run Leader.

If you have any comments or suggestions for this document or feedback regarding how the club do or do not implement and stick to these guidelines, please contact the Training, Coaching and Venues team via the contact form.