Running club: snootiness, kids, swishy pony-tails, THE spooky tunnel, up-up-uphill and - oh, it was all right really!

(Warning - long post!)

I was brave and I went to the local running club's Beginners' night last night. I'd tried a couple of years ago and didn't find them very friendly or helpful, but I've been running for a bit longer now and I am a bit wiser and I am more able to think 'Sod 'em, I'm doing this for me, I don't care what they think!' :D I went because I am in a bit of a rut, am not progressing (in fact am going backwards), have lost my mojo etc. and thought that this might be helpful.

We all met up at the local leisure centre. There must have been around 20 of us, ranging from 8-year-olds fizzing with energy through elegant, swishy pony-tailed ladies up to people like me, and then there were a couple who were like I was last time. There were 4 or 5 people from the running club and it was explained that we would go up the Trail, through the tunnel (oh, deep joy) and that we would do one minute of running and then (I think) a minute of walking. And repeat. Well... I wondered about this, because the Trail is all uphill from town. Anyway, we started off with a warm-up jogette around the block, doing exercises as we ran. Hmmm. I did some of them, but would have fallen over if I'd done them all! Flicking the feet up towards yer bum, okay, arm exercises, okay, but sideways skipping, erm, no, especially not on uneven pavements.

Anyway, then we got to the Trail. And the tunnel. Aaargh. We were supposed to stop halfway through it but I apologised and kept going because I was in a proper panic about it. One of the lights was out halfway up which didn't help at all. They all came storming up past me and I was huffing and puffing like a mad thing, but it was sheer terror more than anything :D

After that, though, I was in the second group just after all the speedy types. The problem was that the leader set the pace, but further down the line you couldn't really see when he was stopping and starting. I found it quite hard - and the funny thing was that I kept looking at my watch and thinking, 'Where's the bridge? We've done over 1k - where's the bridge?' But because we'd started from town and not my normal start point, we'd already done at least 1k before I'd normally start running :D

I'm all for encouraging kids to run, but they were a bit of a nuisance, quite frankly. They were darting in and out of the pack and going backwards and forwards for a bit - then they were all whistled up front, so that was better. Once we did get to the bridge, we stopped for a breather while everyone caught up and we regrouped. I hung back and stayed at the end and just did a jog-trot down rather than run-walk, and had a chat with one of the ladies from the club who was pleasant. She talked to me all the way back through the tunnel, bless her, so that was a bit better.

At the end the leader went through some stretches and there was a shout-out for C25K - hooray! One of the club members said his wife was doing it, so I said how good it was too :) The leader recommended that everyone try to get three runs a week in, said 'See you all next week' and that was it.

I had a bit of a problem in that there wasn't any real accommodation made for those who really couldn't run - which was exactly the problem I had last time. There was at least one lady I was talking to at the Leisure Centre who dropped out at some point, and I heard the back marker saying to someone that they'd tried 30-second runs 'but she just couldn't hack it'. We were out for 50 minutes and covered 5k. That's not beginner territory. I was knackered - okay, I didn't have to stay towards the front, I could have pushed myself less and been mid-pack, but the leader said that each week we will do more, so next week we will run for 90 seconds. His aim is to get us to run the local 5k fun run in 10 weeks' time - but we could all do that now!

I think it will be useful in that it should improve my speed and stamina. I will have to run an additional twice a week to keep up, which will fulfil my goal of getting fitter, even if I don't much enjoy the evenings. He said that towards the end of the course we'll do interval training, hills and fartleks (although I thought we were doing intervals!) so if I can stick with it it will Do Me Good.

In other news, I got back home, had a shower and wasn't even hungry. That will Do Me Good too :D

28 Replies

  • They don't sound very inclusive, but maybe you can find a few friends anyway. I hope so, it sounds a bit of a chore! But the things we do to get better at running - eh! Well done for going again!

  • It'll be fine, I'm sure! I tend to prefer running on my own, so I was quite happy running more or less solo. I was just a bit surprised that as the club runners came past and swapped places that they didn't say hi or have a quick chat, except for the last lady.

    Thanks, though - if it gets me back on track it will do me :)

  • I sympathise with you - and empathise also :), because I also go along once per week to a social running club and frankly, I run there alone. They also have walkers so my wife is catered for and is quite happy - but even then you get different kinds of walkers - there are the "strollers" and the power walkers" . Fortunately though there are a number of each so they sort themselves out. As for the runners, I can't say that they are all much younger than me - because some are older than me, but they are the types that have been running all their lives and are quite good at it despite their age.

    They mostly run "easy" - but the problem is that there is such a wide range of what people consider to be easy. :) Anyway, they are friendly, the scenery in their area (about an hours drive from where I live ) is nice and different and we often have a breakfast after the early Sunday morning runs. They are just not "organised into pace groups" and everybody tries to keep up with the leader. Except me who now takes a different route to everybody else.

  • Do you pay for being antisocial or is this a free club??

  • Mine is free, fortunately :) Not sure about Bazza1234 's though!

    If I wanted to join the actual running club it would be £30 for the year. I'm not quite sure what I'd get for that except possibly a discount when entering some races. As I only enter about two a year, it doesn't seem quite worth it!

    They might get better, you never know.

    Sorry - I've responded to this but you did actually reply to Bazza - I missed that. Apologies for jumping in :(

  • No worries, as the Aussies say... :)

  • Small Annual fee

  • I'm glad your runners and walkers are friendly. The breakfast sounds good as well! Your group sounds like a good mix of abilities, although I like the way you do your own thing. I think you're absolutely right when you say that there's such a wide range of what people consider to be easy - how often have I seen people on here say, 'I'm so slow!' and blink at their 6 minute/km stats! (that's fast for me :D )

    I suspect that as with many new groups, there will be fewer and fewer attendees over the next couple of weeks, as people decide it's not for them, or can't keep up. Apparently with the running club itself they do a monthly pub run, which might sound like an incentive, if I can get past the friendliness barrier. We'll see how it goes, anyway. At least I'm very clear what I want out of it.

  • I have always found that "most" people are quite backward in coming forward. 99% (or some other high figure) of people will not initiate conversation!! - so it is up to me/you to do it :)

  • Hmm, doesn't sound that well set up for actual beginners. Well done for sticking it out and very well done for contemplating building it into a weekly plan. Doesn't sound like my cup of tea at all... but hopefully things will improve for you, and not just your running!

  • Well done for going Annie,sounds like hard going but sounds like you're going back for another go which is good. As long as it's helping and you rise above any annoyances then it's got to be a good way of refresh.g your running and trying new things 😊

    I go to a "run England" group which is quite relaxed and jolly with 3 options for length of run, which is good but I think if i went more often to the one of the run clubs as such over here I would improve more as it does more different activities. They're both full of friendly folk though😊😆

  • Thank you - I like the sound of your group! These people weren't unfriendly as such, it's just that I suppose I expected them to make a bit more effort and for it to be tailored more towards beginners given that it was advertised as a beginners' evening. Ah, well, providing it helps me get back into running properly, it will all be fine! The huge benefit is that I can walk down there. I've had a look at Run England and the nearest one is about a 40-minute drive away, which isn't impossible, but a 5-minute walk is definitely easier :D

  • Sounds like my idea of hell that but you yourself sound positive so stick with it and it can only get better.

  • I'll just keep telling myself that it's for a good reason! I'm off out for a run now, which I might not have done this time last week, so it's already working :D

  • Annie, your experience describes mine when I ventured into a running club a year ago but I haven't been back since. I think you're very brave if you go back again but as you say it will do you good 😨 in the same way Milk of Magnesia did you good when your tummy needed help 😝

  • And iodine on a blister? :D It's already done me good because I went out this morning, although that wasn't much fun either as my legs weren't running properly for some reason. I'll certainly go back next week but I'll take it week by week. I suppose I'm spoiled by the friendliness of this community!

  • I know. It's a hard act to follow 🙂

  • I don't think I'd bother with it Annie but if it is helping you kick start again, maybe it is alright. I'd rather drive 40 min once a week and be with friendly folks.

  • Well, I'll try again next week and see how it goes. If I can pick up my running again, it will be helpful. They weren't exactly unfriendly, just not as nice as this forum :D

  • I think you should just take the positives from it Annie , and leave the rest . My club was friendly enough, but I have decided that I am " a loner " and happiest doing my own thing .

    My club was on a Tuesday, which involved a scary drive in rush hour traffic and in the winter we just ran around the streets . In the summer and light nights it was great as we used to run around a lovely park . Sometimes I didn't want to run on a Tuesday, sometimes I wanted to run Monday or Wednesday :-) Plus now Im following my HM plan and run set distances .

    I still bump into a few of the members at events, races etc and its nice to have a chat ,but this way suits me far better .

    I am so glad that its got you out running again though ! :-) xxx

  • I'm definitely a solitary runner, Pops, which didn't help to start with. As I've said above, they weren't unfriendly, but they didn't exactly make much of an effort. I'm not saying that I expected bunting and cake (oooh, why wasn't there cake?) but if I'd been running it (ha!) I would have tried to have a word with everyone. But if I can stick with it and get what I need out of it (selfish madam that I am) then it will be helpful.

    Your description of your club encapsulates how I feel. Sometimes it's not convenient to run on club night - or you don't feel like driving out there, or you want to go somewhere else. Nice that you still bump into people though. Go you with your HM plan! :) xx

  • No not selfish at all Annie , you've got to do what feels best for you xxx

  • My Sunday running group is relaxed, and I know all the frequent attendee's by first name. We chat or we don't chat, just take it as it comes, some don't always want to chat. It's so good that I prefixed the route for last Sunday with the group leader, as it was my wife's first time out with a club after graduating c25k, so she is still on the slow side to mix it with faster runners. I must say she enjoyed it as we turn back to pickup tailenders so they never get left behind.

    If you can put up with your new club and enjoy some new running routes all well and good...

  • That's great, Dave, sounds like how a running club should be. I'll see how it goes and I may decide to join, you never know. Roll on next week...

  • Hi Annie - not sure where you live. I run once a week with this group - Sadly they have

    very few locations in the UK, so we are lucky to have one here in Exeter. It grew out of the Womens Running Network which I think has now ceased. I love it! So friendly and welcoming, very inclusive., and still challenging - and thats the point of it really. I could so easily just go out and plod around. A group makes you work harder, and gives you the opportunity to learn more about your own abilities as a runner. Well done for joining- I may join a local group full of racing snakes and swishy ponytails as well! (I have seen some slow b****** like me at the back of the pack!)

  • Hi Jojo, that group looks great! I'm up in Derbyshire so unfortunately there isn't one near me :( Mostly I prefer to run on my own as it's me-time, but your point about it being challenging is exactly what I need at the moment, not just in my physical abilities but as much to pep up my mental laziness! I'm hoping that as I get used to them the friendliness will start to shine through and then I might even join the club, you never know! Happy running to you :)

  • As the regulars on here know I do all of my training on my own, but often feel as though a running club might help me improve(and I need it). Unfortunately they are all late night clubs in my area and by late I mean they don't meet until 8pm, and bearing in mind during all of my triathlon training I am in bed by 9pm almost every night of the week it doesn't fall into my plan. I sometimes wish I had someone to run with as it can be a slog but I also feel as though I am not good enough to join a club. Funny how our own inadequacies kick in!

    Good on your for persevering Anniemurph I hope you get lots out of it!

  • Thanks, Mat :)

    If you're not good enough for a club then I shouldn't even show my face! Those would be too late for me, I agree. The actual running club here is 7pm so they are doing the beginners' group before that, which suits me fine. If I had to leave it until later I wouldn't bother. I am definitely a solitary runner by choice but if I can pick up some helpful information it will be great. Also, I was definitely pushing myself harder than I would have done on my own last week, so if that continues I will definitely get fitter :D

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