12 reasons to join a beginner running club
Find a local running club
Ilkley Harriers is a thriving running club for all ages, and we've been organising beginner groups for 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:
1. Running with others
You’ll enjoy the social friendliness, everyone encourages each other, you'll have fun and your confidence will build over time.
2. Learn from experts
The coaching is a combination of encouragement and teaching good technique. You’ll be learning all of 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.
You get the safety of running in a group, which includes a duty of care and your group leaders holding emergency details in case of a problem. Learning a variety of different routes is another big plus point.
5. Everyone's welcome
Lots of people think it’s just elites that join running clubs - I thought the same myself. Then they see the coaches - who are normal people of all shapes and sizes, just a bit fitter – and realise that’s not the case at all.
6. Community spirit
We’ve found that our group's Facebook page is very useful in helping our members with motivation, socialising and posting updates.
7. Expert advice
We teach the most important aspects of running - including how to warm up properly, breathing technique, posture advice, regrouping, supporting each other and cool down stretches.
8. Run 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're all comfortable.
9. Make progress fast
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.
10. Structured 5K training
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.
11. Build up to your first 10K
This next stage is more difficult, but you are building on the solid foundations you've set with your early training as you work up to running for around an hour.
12. Club runs
Progressing from the beginners course to the improvers course takes you up to 10K, and usually gets people to the point where they can decide to join the club and confidently participate in sessions and races.
Find a local running club