Getting like minded people together who are willing to learn and also share their own experience in running and helping others improve is something I am always keen to be involved with. Over the past 18 months I have been fortunate enough to coach others on an individual basis. This has really helped me to understand what it was that people struggled with the most or what knowledge would really be the most useful. Combining this with some of my own experience both good and bad, then bringing people together in a fun and open enviroment could form a melting pot of motivation, knowledge sharing and support, so we decided to take the plunge and put together not one but two training weekends in January!
I guess just doing one would have been enough, but so many people wanted to be involved, rather than creating one group that was way too big we split things up over two weekends, with around 20 people on each course this seemed like a good number and we certainly would not have wanted it to be any larger!
The mix of people was extremely varied, with some who were just getting into trail 10k`s and others who were planning on doing 200 mile races or already had done some seriously nails events! To us it didn’t matter too much, we were all there to learn and enjoy the time. We had structured the practical sessions to cater for the difference in abilities and it was great to see everyone just get stuck in, eager to share and help each other with whatever their goals or aims.
Sharing good quality information and principles of successful training was key, but we wanted it to be in a fun and comfortable enviroment where people could engage and learn not just from us but also other people on the course or attending as guests. In addition to this, we wanted people to have something useful and usable to take away and put into practice in their own training and lifestyles, plus have some time running and seeing some of the beautiful areas we live and train in around the moors and forest.
All of this was based on our own experience as successful runners, time spent coaching others, courses we have attended in coaching, nutrition, training, personal development and hours spent reading and practicing what we preach! We were also fortunate enough to have some guest speakers, Ian Mulrooney who is the sports therapist (and much much more) I have been working with for the past year, Tony Holland from The Ultra runner store who talked about his second favourite subject – all things equipment (first being Shelli Gordon ;-)) Also Tim Taylor from Chia Charge was on hand for another nutritionally experienced head!
We were aiming for a good mix of theory, practical, running and time to socialise, so we spent quite a bit of time preparing and making sure that the sessions were interactive and engaging, but concise. We also put together a workbook so everyone had something to take away and make notes on throughout the weekend. We did a few other random things such as training Tapas, bingo cards, time trials and spot prizes all of which spiced things up a bit!
It was great to be able to have some nice new kit from Scott, Montane and Mountain king for people to try, not just in the hall but take it out on the runs to give it a good test! We also took all of our personal equipment, wobble pads, gym balls, resistance bands, kettle bells, slam and medicine balls and other useful bits of kit that have really helped people we work with and ourselves. This allowed people to try different types of exercises that may have been more specific to their own requirements, it was also good fun to test out and show each other some different moves!
After running the first two weekends we were overwhelmed with the positive feedback and excitement from the people who attended, not just at the end of the weekends but following on from these in the way that it is all being put into practice and applied – we have even set up a Facebook group so people can stay in touch and continue to share ideas, encouragement and experiences!
We have also been very keen to learn and improve the training and peoples experience so have been very keen to review and improve what we are doing, we did a little fine tuning after the first weekend and have a few more tweaks to do next time, all good stuff and great to be able to keep getting better!
One thing we did find was that a lot of people were a little worried about their own abilities and either holding people up or not being fit enough. This is quite understandable when coming into an unknown group so we made sure that everyone could participate equally and work hard in equal measures but by their own choice not under pressure. The super fit people were also kept on their toes as we structured every practical session to take all of this into account, every one felt challenged and there were certainly plenty of smiles!
Saturday night and the end of the first day was finished with a really nice run (with a bit of a twist!) in an area most people had not seen before, back for a drink and some healthy cake made by Kim, her(and my) mum Irene, plus Lisa Clark! Following this it was time to socialise and for those that wanted it we headed out for group meal in the village Bistro who opened up especially for us. This was ideal as it meant we didn’t need to cook and they catered for everyone! The food was excellent and just what we needed at the end of the day!
We feel extremely lucky to have had such great groups to share these with and feel so excited about helping more people enjoy their running. A massive thank you to everyone who came, got stuck in and made these weekends two of the best running ones we have had! Also a huge thank you to everyone who supported us with these, volunteering your time on the day or keeping Kim and I sane before and afterwards!
If you want to get started with trail running or feel it is time to learn some new skills and get motivated to improve even more then we would love to help. We cater for everyone and ensure that whatever your level you will take plenty away. You can either join us for a full weekend or on one of our day courses.