Thursday, 19 May 2011

In the Club

A very well respected and highly accomplished coach from my running club was commenting to me on the modern mind set, where people are likely to presume that information that is charged for, is, in some way more valuable than information that is given away for free. The subject matter was the rise in the number of personal trainers charging for their services. Some may have relevant experience, but many do not. The art of running can sometimes be a complex beast, sometimes not improved by mere text book knowledge, but by experience.

Many of the older generation of athletes rose through the ranks of the British athletic club system and realize their importance, but many of the new generation of runner, seemingly targeted by the monthly running periodicals, such as Runners World et al, seem to have lost that connection. Virtual running clubs, online coaching, and various websites provided by equipment providers offer ways to keep motivated and dish out snippets of advice, but are no match for the knowledge to be gleaned form joining a local club. Our club, as most, is all served by coaches on a purely voluntary basis. The expertise given, aside from a small session fee and yearly club subscription, is all passed on for free. This is not a reflection of the quality of advice, more a reflection of the character of the people who give up countless hours a week, not for financial reward, but for the reward of seeing improvement , both athletic and personal, that involvement in our sport results in.

A lot of beginners tend to regard joining a club as the domain of the superfit. This couldn't be further from the truth. Our club, as most others, have a mix of fast and slow, young and old- but they provide a meeting pot for people who share a passion, regardless of ability. So my advice to any of the new breed- join your local club!

Yesterday was the first of my ' slow races.' This is a reference not to my running pace, but to the overall ethos of racing. Currently having plenty of free time on my hands affords me the priviledge of taking life at a more relaxed pace that normal. Instead of rushing from work, running, then rushing back home again, I wanted to make a simple local race into an event. The first of the Wolds Dash series, hosted by Louth Ac was held last night. This forms part of a 5 race , midweek series over distances from 4.5 to 7 miles. They are the sort of races I love- £3 to enter, low key, basically, but adequately organized, with a field of mainly local club runners. The cycle to Louth is around 22 miles. This took me a couple of hours steady biking and ,as I warmed up for the race, hadn't seemed to take anything out of my legs. My 6th place in the race was my highest placing in a Dash for many a year. After warming down, chatting and having a post race brew, I commenced the ride back in beautiful ,warm summer weather. I eventually made it back to the carabanger at 10.45pm. Altogether I'd been out and about for nearly 8 hours in order to run a £3 race, but the enjoyment of the day was immense. The Slow Life indeed!

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