Bridge to 10K
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Why wasn't PE at school structured like this?!?

I have recently joined a running club and been on a few 10k runs with them. I really enjoy it so saw on their Facebook page a couple of sessions which are designed to improve speed and stamina. They said they were for all abilities so I thought I might as well give it a go!

I had a terrible time in PE at school as I was truly dreadful at everything! I wouldn't say it scarred me because I just always turned it into a massive joke but it certainly made me believe for many years that I was not built for physical activity. All my memories are of stumbling along miles behind everyone (be it in the 100m or cross-country) often giving up and walking because it seemed so pointless.

Well these sessions couldn't have been more different! There were a wide range of abilities there - from those who run way under 20min for 5k to those in the mid to high 30s. Instead of everyone being expected to run the same distance both sessions (one on grass, one on the track) were organised along the same lines. If you are fast you have to run further in the time. So last night the slower runners ran 500m intervals while the fastest ran 800m starting in groups at different points on the track.

The psychological difference this made was amazing! I knew the fastest guys would catch me and pass me but as I started towards the front and didn't once feel like I wanted to give up - I ran faster than I have ever run on my life in both sessions.

I was talking to the guy who organises these sessions and he said it would be completely pointless to expect all the different abilities to do the same thing and actually the effort involved from each person was equal no matter what distance you were running in the time.

Such a shame that running at school isn't structured like this (at my sons school it is still very much about traditional "races"). It seems so much more beneficial to focus on individual improvement rather than pitting the fastest and the slowest against each other x

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Sounds fab. This is going to be so good for your running. My running club is a mix of all abilities too and it's great for pushing us.

I quite enjoyed PE at school and was good at them (apart from hockey which I loathed) but what I hated was the sessions were rushed and we were made to strip off in freezing cold bathrooms and shower with cold water for about a nano second all in front of a scary bossy teacher who just shouted orders at us 😩 Absolutely ridiculous and it wouldn't be allowed now. A snowflake I'm not 💪💪

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Haha! Seemed to remember we all used to swerve the showers 😂 I can't remember a single thing I was good at - always last to be picked even if my best friends were team captains.

Don't get me wrong I'm not against competition - it just seems a bit ridiculous to put those who find it hard up against those with natural ability. As I always used to say to my PE teacher at school you wouldn't make students who don't play stand up on stage and take part in a music competition but you're making me jump into this long jump pit on sports day when I've no hope of going more than about 30cm 🤣

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But it's turned us into runners now who've stuck it out and achieved some goals 😄👍

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Well done, It sounds like you have found the right place to build on from the programme pianoteacher . We have a fitclub close by and they do a c25k course as well as the longer distances. They are so supportive of each other at Parkrun and I think I want to be part of that group. They also have great club kit, which I’d love to buy! Really funky in lime green and black. It’s a Monday evening but there’s nothing else in the diary!! Enjoy 😊

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That sounds great Dexy! The same guy that runs these sessions also runs a walk2run group (similar idea to couch25k) and they're all encouraged to take part in parkrun. It's separate from the running club but lots of club members help with the sessions and then support them at parkrun by acting as pacers or sometimes completing their own run then going back to run the final section with them x

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You’ll be finding a new role PT - no you’ve probably got enough to think about with all your other responsibilities/ activities.

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I would absolutely love to help with it but unfortunately the sessions are when I'm at army band x

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Completely agree. Hated running because of how we were forced to cross country run! While teacher watched from indoors.

I'm a teacher. We differentiate maths and English and other activities. But less so in PE. My school is lucky. PE is not taught by class teacher but by PE specialist with coaching qualifications. PE is for all and she teaches for all abilities. Not sure how normal this is.

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That sounds really good Ang33333 ! I once had a conversation with a very good runner who was also a lecturer in sports science. He felt that the whole approach to PE in school needed a complete overhaul. This was about 10 years ago so I don't know how much has changed in that time? x

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Not much. When I started teaching I taught PE to my class at least 4 times a week. Don't think any school does that now. No time in the curriculum. PE and sport has a high profile in my area luckily so lots of sports festivals and clubs for all abilities!!

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Someone I know saw me out running and remarked I was doing “quite well”.people’s criteria for running is still coloured by school sports day, when you were no good if you weren’t fast. I wasn’t fast then and I’m not fast now, but I can run for nearly 2 hours without a break or walking, so that, in my book, is what it’s all about. School sports day was always purgatory for me. My daughter’s primary school had the right idea: every child had a prize for taking part. Some of us are competitive and some aren’t, so we should all be rewarded for getting out there and doing it.

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You're so right Flick! That's exactly my attitude with my son as well. He's not fast and finds it tough but I'm always happy to have him at parkrun with me whether he walks or runs. He's going to a new junior session tomorrow night run by the same guy so it will be interesting to see the structure of that - some of the kids who will be there have a parkrun time which is a good 10 mins faster than my son's. After my own experience of his coaching I'm pretty sure it's going to be alright though x

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That sent a shiver down my spine, I hated PE at school it was so grim. They didnt even try to make it fun!!!

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Unbelievable really when we're all having such a good time with this running business 😁

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My hazy memories of school sports seemed to be if you were good at it, great, if not, just keep out of the way.

There seemed to be precious little actual teaching or encouragement.

If that's changed then brilliant. But having seen my two go through the system it's improved only in part if at all.

Given the parlous state of our national health I'm disappointed that this has never really been taken on. But given short-term electoral cycles not sure I'm surprised.

But if we're setting an example in a small way, every little helps i guess.

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Yes I love to see the kids running at parkrun, but sadly they are not the ones that need the encouragement. Their parents are showing such a good example.

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I've been talking to a few other people today and the experiences all seem to be pretty similar unfortunately. The guy I spoke to a few years ago felt that school PE should be much more about encouraging health and general fitness rather than competitive games. Unfortunately there seem to be quite a few people who like to shout very loudly about "generation snowflake" when these issues are brought up! I'm not against competitive sport - I'm just not sure school PE lessons is the right place for it x

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I'm not against competition; we're all competitive to some degree or other. What troubles me is that kids are written off before they've got the basic skills to be competitive. If anyone had said to us n moths ago "You're going to run a 5K against n other people" we'd have slunk off for a fag behind the bike shed. But now that 5K is a basic part of what we do, it'd be fine. So it's much about building confidence and basic skills before we get all "sports day"...

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Awe that’s good that you enjoyed it! I love my club too - very much differentiated and supportive 💪🏽

About school running - following my success with c25k, I got my Year 6s to do ‘ class to 2k’ (or 1k or 3k)! Three separate groups. We went to the local park 3 times a week over 6 weeks and gradually built up our intervals. It was a huge success. They got certificates in front of parents at their leavers’ assembly. It was fantastic! So much so that next year we’re going to get the kids to ‘graduate’ at the local town run which can either be the standard 5k or the 2k fun run when they’ll get a medal and a tshirt! I’d love to take this to more schools - so many kids are so unhealthy these days! I wish my PE time had also been like this 👌🏽

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That is absolutely amazing Tasha 😍 Such fantastic way to get the kids active and reward them for their achievements x

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That is an absolutely fantastic thing to have done. And it doesn't surprise me that you were at the forefront of it xx

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Thanks! It worked too!

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I predict Birthday Honours List xx

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He he he. Don’t do royals I’m afraid ⛔️

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Nor me. But talk like that will get us banned or forced to read the Daily Mail or something equally awful. Shh.....

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Oooh I love you even more now 😂

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"Middle-Aged Royalists Jogging to Brexit"

The world's scariest community.... :-)

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😂👌🏽

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We'll get a backlash soon. I can feel it in my waters..... xx

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You started it 😂 me know nothing 🙊

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Oh. The blame game. Pointless recriminations. Finger pointing. The collapse of Western Civilisation. Been there. Done that. Move along please. There's nothing to interest you here. This is an official Crime Scene. xx

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😂

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Stop it. Poor Marie will have all these notifications and think people have been writing sensible things. She's in for a shock. Again. Poor Marie...

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Well done Tasha, and I bet the kids loved it.

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I’m so pleased you’ve found a supportive and enjoyable running club. I love running with others too. As much as I love running alone!

I remember school and sports. At the age of 11/12 I was really good at everything and loved all sports! Then puberty hit and I slowed down and teachers were no longer interested in me. 😔

So glad I’ve found my love for running again. X

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At least you were good at it once 😂 I wasn’t 😳

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Many many moons ago!!!! 😝

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You are now though!

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That's such a shame Rip ☹️ I feel sport is quite similar to music in that some people seem to have more natural aptitude than others. As a private teacher I'm in the great position of being able to teach each person as an individual - if they find something hard I try to find ways of helping them to understand it rather than just writing them off as useless x

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PE was also torture for me. I was last for everything and convinced myself I could never run well into adulthood. Back twinges from bike accidents would surely mean a heavy footed running pace would dislocate my hip or something. And cycling didn't make me sporty it just saved me paying for bus fares I couldn't afford. Really stays with you that PE was about being first or last - I totally see that now. When it's so obvious it should be about being the best possible you.

My running club also does a similar race where everyone starts according to their usual pace - the idea is everyone will finish roughly together. Also their motto is 'nobody gets left behind' - which suits me very well!

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Your experience sounds very similar to mine Ruth. Fantastic that we're now both able to participate with clubs who really understand how to encourage people x

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I hated PE and every sport (or 'games' as they were called then) and spent a lot of time devising ways of getting out of them... not much as changed in as much as I still have no interest in sport but I do love running :)

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Haha! In the end I was allowed to go to the music department when I should have been doing PE - my moaning paid off on the end 😂

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It sounds like you’ve found a great club, pianoteacher!

Their whole attitude sounds brilliant! 😃❤️

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Interesting discussion.....regarding schools encouraging health and fitness rather than focusing on competitive sports, have you heard about The Daily Mile? All the children and teachers walk/jog/run a mile a day. The emphasis is on having fun, inclusion and is non competitive.

So glad you are enjoying running and found a supportive club 😀

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No I hadn't heard of that skyesue16 - will look it up. Sounds like a very good idea x

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School PE definitely scarred and humiliated me. I was a very obese child, who was slow, clumsy and also terrified of things like climbing frames, ropes, vaulting horses, etc. Unfortunately, further scarring was inflicted by two running clubs I tried to join the first time I tried to run 20-odd years ago in my 40s (having not done any physical activity since school). The first said they did not consider that anyone slower that 8 minutes per mile was a runner. The second did accept me but said that my then 12 minutes per mile was way too slow to have me join any of their groups, so I was condemned to spending club nights running a small circle round the club house on my own... I didn't last long on that and gave up the idea of running for the next 15 years. Now at 64, I have only managed 15 minute miles at best so far, usually needing more than 16 minutes per mile. I don't think there is any group locally with other such slow people. Not only am I older than most runners, but I found out in a body analysis session at a gym during that first attempt at physical fitness 20+ years ago that I have less than 10% of normal hip mobility in one direction (and it has probably declined even more with age). I think that explains why I could never do things as a child that other kids find easy, such as leap over stepping stones, climb stiles, get out of a swimming pool without using the ladder, climb trees, etc. and it also means my stride is incredibly short. When other runners pass me now, I sometimes experiment by matching their stride frequency for a bit, but even then they remain way faster and soon disappear over the horizon. For this reason, I have decided that the only way I can sustain running is to reconcile myself to running alone.

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I thought Parkrun was working out for you?

I had to do some sums because I work in kms but it sounds as though we are of similar pace (and of course many who are still doing the C25K programme won't have the faintest idea how fast or how far they are going and usually happier for their ignorance). I have only had two or three runs where I've not had to correct Fitbit about the nature of the activity... but the heart rate is clearly different from a walk.

I just didn't do PE for the last few years of secondary school (although my negative view was informed at least as much by the impact of having a fitness obsessed parent). I was quite concerned about my sons doing secondary education at a 'sports college' (as designated in one of the countless dubious education experiments) Neither is 'sporty' but I was pleased to find that they had a wider range of options and whilst there were team sports, there was also a good deal about personal fitness. One of my children has complex special needs and the school decided eventually to fund leisure centre membership for him so that he did climbing or gym with an assistant instead of team sports.

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Parkrun does indeed work for me! However, I don't see that as being the same as joining a club, and not being in a club is what I meant when I said I run alone. Actually, being among the last 10 stragglers at Parkrun means I end up being alone there too apart from when the return wave passes me as I am still on the outward section. Of course, there are always the marshals to say hello and thank you to, and there is always the possibility of being the very slowest on a given day and thus accompanied by the tail walker.

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My brother is a pretty good runner - he's just been competing in the finals of the World Masters Orienteering. However, when he joined a local running club, their social skills left a good deal to be desired (left behind in the dark and mud)... he goes out with a few mates instead. But that's only once a week. Otherwise, it's solo, and solo running is probably a skill we all need.

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I'm sorry that you had a bad experience with the two running clubs Denovo. We have walk2run but I'm not sure if it's a national thing?

Interesting about your hip too. I have mild scoliosis which, once diagnosed, explained why I had posture problems in ballet x

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No walk2run in my area. I think that now I would have to be really sure I was in a group that included several people running at my pace to try a club again. It's OK though, I have my music, and can compete against myself :)

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