Coached Sessions

We currently have two coached training sessions available for our members to book online now!

We are able to offer 24 places each Thursday, as two coached sessions of 12 – led by two of our club coaches, Grant Chapman and Vince Long. Both have extensive knowledge and experience to share with our club members. Please feel free to ask them any questions that you may have about your running technique or form, or even about the coached sessions themselves.

In addition to these places on a Thursday, we are also running a 6-week block of sessions every Wednesday evening, specifically aimed at members who are new to ‘interval training’ and perhaps would like to learn more about what can achieve and how they may benefit.

This 6-week course will offer 12 places per week and will be led by our coach Grant Chapman.

In total, this means we are able to offer 36 places each week for coached sessions, hopefully offering something that is inclusive for all our members.


HOW WILL IT WORK?
As mentioned, we are offering 12 places each Wednesday and 24 places every Thursday. To book your spot, you will be required to book your place using the link below:

bookwhen.com/royston-Runners

If you’re booking on a computer, scroll down to the interactive calendar and choose a date to join one of our sessions.

Once you have booked your spot you shall receive a confirmation email which then guarantees your place for the forthcoming week’s session. These are free to all club members.

Bookings are only taken and allocated from Friday until Tuesday for the training session on the Thursday of that week. You will not be able to book ahead for weeks in advance.

WHAT IF I CANCEL?
If you book your place for the coming week’s session, please ensure you do make the commitment to attend, as the places are limited. If you really cannot attend, please log in to your account on BookWhen and cancel your place. The place will then become available again so that any members on the BookWhen waiting list can fill your spot.

LOCATION
There will be two locations on a Thursday night, but please only sign up for one of them, both locations will offer the same session.

The first location is at the bottom of the industrial estate, this offers a safe and well lit 800m circuit, away from members of the public, it is also fast and flat with minimal traffic or interference.

The second location is the Twigden estate, again this location offers a well lit, public space with minimal traffic and a wide enough path to allow for a coached session with minimal impact to the public.

Our Wednesday sessions will also take place at the Twigden estate.

WHAT YOU CAN EXPECT FROM SPEEDWORK:
The coached sessions aim to cover a series of exercises aimed at increasing the speed of running and general fitness. It might be running 200 meters as fast as you can four times with a rest in between.

Most of us can come up with plenty of reasons to avoid speed work: we might say it hurts; it increases our chances of picking up an injury; it makes us too tired for our other runs… the list is endless. The thing is, they’re all unnecessary fears. What’s more, whether you want to beat an ancient 800m PB set on the grass track at school, or out kick the runner who always sprints past you in local 10Ks, adding speed will be immensely rewarding.

Speedwork doesn’t just make you run faster. It makes you fitter, increases the range of movement in your joints, makes you more comfortable at all speeds, and it will ultimately help you to run harder for longer.

If you’ve already added a speed session or two to your schedule then you’ll know all of this already. If you haven’t, then here are a few things to remember.

EASE INTO IT
When you started running, you ran for just a couple of miles every other day, and have gradually built up to your current mileage. You didn’t suddenly start running 35 miles a week, so adopt the same approach to building speed. Put at least three months of steady running behind you, then start with just one session every 10 days or so.

NOT TOO HARD
Speed sessions aren’t about sprinting flat out until you’re sick. They’re about controlling hard efforts and spreading your energy evenly over a set distance or time, just like you would in a perfect race.

WARM-UP AND WARM DOWN
Before each session, jog for at least 8-10 minutes to raise your blood temperature, increase blood flow to the muscles and psyche yourself up for fast running. Follow that with some gentle stretching and then run a few fast strides before getting down to the tough stuff. Afterwards, jog for another 5-10 minutes, before stretching once again.

FIND A PARTNER
Speedwork takes more effort and willpower than going out for a gentle jog. It’s much easier and more fun to train with someone else – and if you really want to improve, try running with someone just a bit quicker than you.

QUALITY, NOT QUANTITY
Speed training should not account for more than 15 per cent of your total mileage. So slot in your speed sessions around the regular work you’ve been doing all along.

PACING YOURSELF
When you start with coached sessions you might find pacing yourself difficult. If you’ve run a 5K race and a session calls for that pace, then you’ll have an idea of what it feels like. But if you haven’t raced the distance indicated for the session, don’t worry, because you’re most likely to find the right pace through trial and error anyway.

While the idea of speed work is obviously to run quickly, you’ll rarely be running flat out. Instead, the time for each rep should be pretty similar, unless indicated otherwise. Run too hard at the start of a session and your times will fall off; take it too easy to begin with and you will speed up, but the session won’t benefit you as much as it should.

In fact, for your first sessions, it’s better to be cautious, because you don’t want to immediately hate speed work, and you’ll know that next time you can push yourself harder.

TYPES OF SPEEDWORK:

Repetitions/intervals
Periods of hard running at 5K pace or faster, between 200m and 1200m in length, or 30 seconds and five minutes. Recovery periods can be short (30- 90 seconds), or of an equal time or distance to the reps. Running at harder than race pace for short periods not only improves speed but also allows you to work on your running form. When you’re pushing hard, it’s important to concentrate on things like arm and hand motion, posture and stride length. If you can keep these together during a hard session of reps, it will be easier to do so during a race. Don’t attempt reps until you’ve tried other types of speed work for a couple of months.

Tempo intervals
These are longer than ordinary intervals in that they take between 90 seconds and 10 minutes (or between 400m and two miles) and are run a little slower than your 5K pace. These work a bit like threshold runs – they raise the point at which lactic acid builds up in the muscles.

Fartlek
Fartlek is Swedish for ‘speed play’ and is the fun side of speed work. Best done on grass or trails, you simply mix surges of hard running with periods of easy running. Run fast bursts between phone boxes, lampposts or trees when you feel like it, and as hard you like. Great for newcomers to speed work.

Hills
Simple: find a hill that takes between 30 seconds and five minutes to climb at 85-90 per cent effort, and run up it. Jog back down to recover. A great alternative to track intervals.

Happy running!