Why to join a beginners running group

Why to join a beginners running group

If you're thinking of joining a 0-5K group or club and want an idea of what's involved, then read on as Hilda Coulsey explains why it's the best way to get up and running.

Ilkley Harriers is a thriving running club for all ages, and we've been organising beginner running groups for several years.

They act as a starting point for new runners, with the aim of helping people run 5km - without stopping - after six weeks.

Everyone is welcome, with just a one-off nominal fee at the outset. And club membership isn't required - though plenty of people join at a later date as their running progresses.

Not every club or group course will be the same but here's at outline of what to expect:


GroupRunning with others
You’ll enjoy the social friendliness; everyone encourages each other, you're having fun and your confidence builds over time.
Expert knowledgeLearn from the experts
The coaching is a combination of encouragement and teaching good technique. You’re learning this at a crucial stage of your running development – and it soon becomes a habit.
You’re participating in a progressive programme and seeing rapid improvement which helps maintain enthusiasm. The discipline in attending a weekly session and ‘doing the homework’ is a big help too.
SafetySafe and secure
You get the safety of running in a group, which includes a duty of care and us holding emergency details in case of a problem. Learning a variety of different routes is another big plus point.

FamilyEveryone welcome
Lots of people think it’s just elites that join running clubs - I thought the same myself. Then they see the coaches - normal people of all shapes and sizes, just a bit fitter – and realise that’s not the case at all.

FacebookCommunity spirit
We’ve found that the Facebook page seems to be very useful in helping with motivation, socialising and posting updates.



TrainingAll bases covered
We teach the most important aspects - including how to warm up properly, breathing technique, posture advice, regrouping, supporting each other and cool down stretches.

TimeGo at your own pace
Regrouping (when the faster runners turn around and rejoin at the back) means everyone keeps moving for the same length of time - and at a speed at which they are comfortable.

CalendarHow long does it take?
We do our beginners course over six weeks – it’s not too long and you can see the progress you’re making over a relatively short period, but it gives enough flexibility so that if you have to miss a week you can still join back in.

RunningHow is it structured?
We start out with 60 seconds running and 90 seconds walking, repeated eight times. By week three it's five minutes running, two minutes walking, done four times. Your first non-stop 10-minute run comes in week four and you're up to 5K in week six.


Graph5K to 10K
The next stage is more difficult, but you are building on solid foundations as you work up to running for around an hour.
Club runsClub runs
The improvers course takes you up to 10K and gets people to the point where they can decide to join the club and confidently participate in sessions and races.
First training session

The photo above is from the first very training session, while the picture at the top is three months later and shows what's now the 'improvers group' after a 10K run up onto Ilkley Moor.

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