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The Clapham Pioneers are one of more than100 clubs who have recently completed the England Athletics Club Run programme.

The ‘Pioneers’ are a friendly running community-based in the heart of Clapham, south-west London. The club is made up of sociable people who love running. All abilities are welcome during for their Tuesday club night around the Clapham Common.

The England Athletics Club Run scheme provides a series of three visits from an England Athletics Coach, over a three-month period. The aim is to provide some additional coaching to club members and to support coach development.

London-based running coach Urban Bettag visited the Pioneers on their Tuesday night Club Run on three occasions. In anticipation of the spring half marathons/marathons, the Pioneers usually experience a big turnout on Tuesdays and fully embraced the Club Run idea. The average turnout throughout the three Club Run sessions were 50 runners, with a maximum attendance of 70 runners.

Together with the Clapham Pioneers Head Coach the content and format of the Club Run sessions were agreed. Many of the Clapham Pioneers prepare for a spring half marathon, specifically the Surrey Half-Marathon. The Pioneers wanted to use the Club Run sessions to prepare them more specifically for the half marathon.

Tempo Intervals around the Clapham Common

The sessions were aimed at helping prepare runners for the half marathon distances. The first session introduced the Pioneers to varying the tempo around the half-marathon pace to improve the ability to tolerate lactate and ability to sustain a faster pace for longer. Two weeks later, the session was followed up with by a progressive interval session (aka ‘Crescendo Run’) with increasing tempos to simulate a fast finish in the half marathon. The final coached session was tempo/cruise interval session, which helped the group to run more by feel and listening to their breathing while maintaining a half marathon pace.

Coach Urban who is one of a team of around 30 England Athletics Club Run coach deliverers commented: ‘I really enjoyed visiting the Clapham Pioneers. The turnout we had on three occasions exceeded my expectations. Everyone worked really hard on the night. Not just the athletes, everyone involved with the organisation of the session. We critically reviewed each of the sessions and made changes for the next session based on the feedback.’

Categories: Club Coaching, News

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