Groups (currently suspended) usually run at 6:45pm on Monday and Wednesday evenings. We meet behind Crystal Palace Rail Station.
'Pay what you can' group - I suggest £40 per programme, but some people can pay more and some less. Running is for everyone!
I'm also a member of Crystal Palace Fun Runners, our established, friendly, local club. If you'd like to join them directly (club runs from 7km, at any pace), join them here. (they are currently waiving their membership fee).
I'm a club runner, parkrun Event Director, and qualified UK Athletics Run Leader, Running Coach, and Level 3 Event Group (Endurance) Coach, with an Enhanced DBS check.
As a coach and professional researcher, I'm particularly interested in how to tailor physical activity to benefit everyone, particularly those managing long-term health conditions or other challenges.
I ran the 2020 virtual London Marathon for the National Autistic Society, who have invited me to run for them again in 2021. I'm hoping to raise even more this year, and hopefully go a bit faster too!
HOW OUR GROUP SESSIONS WORK
We start each run here, behind Crystal Palace Station.
I will communicate any changes by whatsapp - assume we are going ahead every week whatever the weather. The only exceptions will be if I'm incapacitated, if group runs are prohibited, or if the weather is icy or otherwise unsafe.
I start a new Couch to 5k group every three months. While Couch to 5k is a 9-week programme, I allow 12 weeks to accommodate the unexpected, and to allow people to catch up if they've missed a run. The programme recommends three runs per week, so you'd still aim to do most of the runs on your own. Download the couch to 5k app to guide you through this.
When it's light enough, we'll run different loops around the beautiful scenery of Crystal Palace Park. In the winter, we'll run on pavements in the Crystal Palace area.
I encourage a proper warm-up and cool-down with stretches (see this video from 11:00 for full details), but for social-distancing I am encouraging people to stretch individually after a run.
I'm not medically qualified and will always refer any queries about health or injuries to a doctor, but will be available to discuss common running issues.
I also encourage an all-round approach to running fitness, including strength, balance and flexibility exercises during our sessions and at home. Previous email guidance is available on my facebook page.
As of the start of September 2020, we are able to run under the following rules:
1) please let me know in advance if you are coming (even if only just before the start) so that I have a record of attendance for insurance and NHS tracking purposes.
2) we will run in groups of no more than 6 (each including one run leader), observing social distancing.
3) please do not come if you have any covid-19 symptoms or other reason to believe you may be infected. If you become ill later, please let me know.
4) please avoid congregating before or after the run as far as possible.
ONWARD AND UPWARD
After the couch to 5k
Once you've conquered the 5k, it's important to keep the momentum going, so that a great achievement becomes a healthy lifestyle. See this video for a short guide to the different kind of runs that can keep you interested.
I thoroughly recommend joining your local parkrun - the free weekly timed 5k that anyone can enjoy. South London has lots of gorgeous courses, although Crystal Palace will always be my personal favourite.
I also recommend joining Crystal Palace Fun Runners - they've taught me everything I know about running, and given me an amazing running community to keep me going. They run groups for all paces and also provide track and hill sessions. I'm hoping lots of you 'graduate' from our group to the club. They welcome all standards and all speeds - their runs are about 7km and over, but the slower groups stop-and-start and always accommodate everyone.
Finally, if you'd like a more tailored running plan to meet a new target, get in touch and we can put together a personalised programme to meet your goals.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT PROGRAMMES DO YOU OFFER?
I lead a group of runners doing the Couch to 5k programme, starting a new programme every few months.
I also offer one-to-one training, evaluating your technique and creating tailored programmes to help you achieve your personal goals.
WHEN DOES THE PROGRAMME BEGIN? DOES IT MATTER IF I MISS A SESSION?
Our next new couch-to-5k programme for beginners or returning runners will start on week beginning *tbc*. There are two runs: one on Mondays and one on Wednesdays. You can come to either run, or both, and you don't need to keep to the same day each week.
Injuries, illnesses and other commitments are a common problem for new (and not so new!) runners. So I run each programme for 12 weeks, using the 9 week programme but repeating three weeks (last time it was weeks 3, 5 and 6) to allow people to catch up, and to allow for the unexpected.
HOW FIT DO I HAVE TO BE TO JOIN?
The couch-to-5k sessions are aimed at brand new runners or those returning after a long break or injury. Even if you've never exercised before, this session will be suitable for you.
II offer individual coaching for runners of any standard, but these will be more valuable for people who are able to run for half-an-hour.
NOTE: please seek advice from a GP before starting any new programme of exercise, or if you suffer health conditions that could affect your ability to do so.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
To make the group sustainable, I suggest a one-off fee for each programme. If you pay, then get ill or injured, don't worry! You'll be able to continue running with us until you've reached your goal.
I believe running should be everyone, so this is a "pay what you can" group - I suggest £40 per person. This covers either completing a couch-to-5k programme or achieving an individual goal with group runs and your own personalised session and training plan.
All donations go to the National Autistic Society - please donate here.