Our 10 week Beginners Running Course has now restarted and we have 20 excited new and returning runners joining us. Last Sunday (week one) we were helped out by 10 Bexley AC members. We would ideally still like a few more helpers on our books, so please let us know if you can give some time on a Sunday morning (and Wednesday evenings too from mid-June) to provide some guidance, motivation and support – you don’t need prior experience and this is a great way to give a little back to the club.

We had many races in the past month, and the final few days of the month are yet to come, so a full results list will come out next week. In the meantime, don’t forget to send your results to us via email: results@bexleyac.org.uk and we can add yours to the ever-growing list.

I think that if you’re a long-term experienced runner, or a new runner just training towards your first 5km there is always a question that comes up. Should I run further – or faster? I guess depending on the circles you move in, or the people in your training group this will resonate more or less with you.

For some people, it’s easy. They love their 5k or 10k runs – have no interest in dipping their toe into anything more and will therefore dedicate training to pushing their times for these distances. Simple. Easy (well, not easy – but you know what I mean). However, there is a darker, more menacing beast that lives within some of us, always nudging us to go further, a cheeky half marathon, perhaps even 20 miles – then a marathon and before you know it, you’re hooked!

No one ever warns you at the start of this journey that there is a vast differences between the 5k runner looking for seconds off their time each time they race, and the endurance runner trying to “squeeze in” a 20 mile run early on a Sunday morning as part of the training plan, without it impacting the family life!

The time to train isn’t the only thing to factor in. Oh no. Trainers – you’ll have your supportive ones for the long run, then a second pair to use whilst allowing the cushion to firm up on your first pair. You may not then want to use the same trainers for long runs as well as short ones, so that’s another pair which may be lighter (every second counts) – but don’t forget that the best thing to do when you’re in a rut is to cheer yourself up and buy some new running gear, and before you know it – you’ve justified the need to have at least 4 pairs, and we’re somewhere near the truth!

It may help to check your gait once every 18 months or so (or for the first time if you haven’t before) in a sports shop. They’ll usually do this for free and suggest some shoes for you – the choice is yours whether to buy them there and then, or go home and probably find them cheaper on the internet somewhere. The gait analysis will show how you run and if there are any imbalances that a pair of trainers could help to correct – or support while you run.

So when I’m not thinking about justification to buy my next pair of trainers, or signing up to races, I think about the next training session and how to balance the speed vs. distance argument. Balance is key. It’s not just a case of one or the other, and you must factor in rest and/or cross training too to have a complete package. This doesn’t fit into everyone’s lifecycle and sacrifices are usually made by dropping one of these. Discover how your body reacts to variation to your training/rest routine and do what is best for you. Finding this is key to a healthy, happy and successful running life. Everyone will hit a wall at one time or another and a tweak to your pattern may be just what the doctor ordered.

Don’t be afraid to try new things. Asking your coach for help or talking to the other runners in your group may help you overcome a particular problem. Don’t take on too much, or too many goals at once. Find that balance and find a happier running you.

I’ve asked the group coaches to have a review of their group members and to make sure you are all still in the group you belong. We don’t want any of you to fall behind, lose motivation or be unable to fulfil your potential, so there could be some changes ahead. We won’t force anyone to move if they don’t want to, but this is going to just be an opportunity to shuffle things up a bit, for the better I hope! There may even be some changes to your Run Leaders, just to keep things interesting.

We are also going to try and accommodate our growing numbers by introducing an extra group soon – somewhere for those returning from injury, tapering or just looking to maintain a general level of running fitness (without the pressure of a full session) and still under the guidance of a Run Leader.

As if that’s not enough news, one final piece to share is that we are currently looking at reinforcing our identity as Bexley AC Road Runners by making available some new running attire! It’s early days, but when we’re running on the streets we want people to know who we are. More information to follow.

Kind regards,
Paul Dallison, Road Running Secretary