When I first started running 2 years ago (with zero running knowledge), I immediately joined a running club so as not to pick up bad habits from the outset.
I had expected that I’d hear constant of talk about foot placement, arm movement, breathing, running styles and posture etc. This wasn’t the case.
When I look back I realise what I actually got was 90% motivation; not shouty orders or back slaps, but just that pack mentality and the sharing of experiences coupled with real positivity and empathy toward each other. For sure, there were one or two pointers to the technical side of running, but that wasn’t the point.
After just over a year of running (and a marathon) behind me, I took a run leader course. Again, my expectations of the course were different from reality. I’m not saying in a bad way, just different. I’ve been run leading each week now for 8 months with Farsley Flyers and really enjoy supporting everyone.
I’d say though, it’s only in the last few weeks that it’s truly dawned on me that ‘coaches‘ are the ones who will take you technically through athletic progression. HOWEVER, what you need before that is the ice breaker to get started and a regular heartbeat of getting out running – this is where the ‘run leader‘ plays their strongest card (yep I do pass on the basics of posture and stretches but just keep the technical side simple).
Time and time again, through beginners group club running, parkrun couch-to-5k and now recently the School-Drop running you constantly hear the positivity and real sense of pride as people take their first steps and complete their first session. There’s nothing complicated about the sessions, it’s just the reliability of them being there and being focussed on getting around as a group. As weeks go on, some find their mojo through athletic improvement others find it from the social aspect.
This was today’s group for my 3rd ‘School Drop’ run as I’ve been calling them – parents at Daniel’s old school gathering and running after dropping off the kids in the morning. We had 3 new (and nervous) starters today but by the end of 5k, all very proud and raring to repeat (though I’m waiting for the messages of aches tomorrow!).