Running Company

I’m loving Janathon this year.  Probably because I’m somewhat cheating by lurking in the background from the comfort of my sofa/bed/desk and measuring my Janathon progress in words read rather than miles covered!

Doing something everyday is admirable but doesn’t work for me.  I’m already balancing my own 10k PB training with leading a beginners running group whilst getting myself ready to take the UKA Coach in Running Fitness course soon too.  The last thing I need is the pressure (albeit I know it can be positive sometimes) of having to do exercise everyday.

However, I can certainly say I have read more blogs this Janathon than in all Jan- and June-athons to date.  And I feel great for it!

The other thing I’m loving at the minute is my running.

2014 is shaping up to be my most run-filled ever.  As well as working to qualify as a UKA Coach this year, I’ve also set my sights on my personal goals of securing new 10k and half marathon PBs.  In order to help both these goals I have joined a running club.

In the last 4 years since I found running I have done most of my running alone.  Admittedly I’ve shared some runs with some very interesting people (including but not limited to the Tube Runner and Running Miss Daisy) but I largely plod the pavements partner-less.  In the last 4 weeks I have discovered the value of running with others.

On Tuesdays I observe the power of running in a group during my beginners session.  Frequently my runners tell me how pleased they are they came because they wouldn’t have run as far or as fast or at all if it wasn’t for the group.

On Thursdays I now join my own new running buddies: the Witney Road Runners.  I generally join the group who are heading out for a 5 mile (ish) jaunt round town.  As I sacrifice a personal session to lead my runners on a Tuesday I need to make sure I work hard on a Thursday and boy have I worked the last two weeks!

Last week, due to traffic crossing problems, I was dropped by Cormack, a friendly chap who runs entirely for the fun and fitness of it, and had to really work hard to catch him as generally he and I are similarly paced.  I caught up with him and we then worked hard to chase down the faster of the group in the closing kilometre.  We didn’t catch them but I really gave those legs a stretch!

This week I promised Cormack that I wouldn’t let him get away.  The route tonight took us up Tower Hill early.  Now, I’ve tried to go easy up hills but it just seems like harder work so I like to tackle hills head on.   I also use it as an opportunity to concentrate on my form rather than the hill.

It wasn’t until I’d leveled off at the top of Tower Hill that I realised that I’d left everyone behind.  Well, almost everyone.  Not far off my shoulder was a young guy who I hadn’t seen before so I took the opportunity to introduce myself.

It turns out Joe was only at his second Witney Road Runners session himself, having decided to join to help him structure his running.  Now this guy is fit – he’s in the RAF, he’s played football, boxed and he’s now found running.

The biggest thing that struck me about Joe was his self-confessed all-or-nothing attitude.  This guy is all about doing the best he possibly can.  Every time.  He admits his biggest problem with running is that he  doesn’t know his pace.  He’ll just go for it, until he’s sick, then go for it again.  Gulp!

At this point, for my own self preservation as much as his, I eased the pace a little.  I knew the route and knew he didn’t, so it would encourage him to save a bit of energy, at the same time as saving me from burning out!

What I found surprising was we were consistently hitting sub 4:50 kilometres AND chatting at the same time!  Amazing what you can do when you’re not purely thinking about putting one foot in front of the other.

I told Joe to push on in the last kilometre to make sure he felt like he’d got the most out of his run.   I could feel he had some pace to spare and although I didn’t ease up, there was no way I could keep up with him at that increased pace.

So thank you Joe!  You helped me to a cracking session containing a 7km stretch at my target race pace.  Looking forward to next week!

Do you run on your own or in a group?  Which do you prefer?  Have you felt the benefit of running in a group or do you get better results on your own?

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One thought on “Running Company”

  1. Running with a group is also much better providing you do not start racing each other and the group is roughly your standard. I used to aim for the talking pace of the slowest runner that way it was kept friendly.

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