When I joined the Clapham Chasers five years ago, I quickly developed a network of friends who love running, and talking about running, as much as I do, and who know the science bit behind making you a faster and more efficient runner. They also like a drink (or seven) so it worked out rather well really.
I’ve been lucky to have people around me who have been incredibly supportive through the highs and the lows, by putting training plans together for me and pacing me to PB’s. However, I can’t help but feel like a burden and, more often than not, I feel like I let them down when I miss my goals (which happens A LOT).
Recently, I’ve been introduced to Runners Connect who offer runners bespoke online coaching programmes within a community of people who simply love to run. Based on the principle that runners tend to do their best when supported by others, they created a community that connects people with other runners across the globe, to motivate and inspire, however you may be feeling.
How does it work?
Founded in 2011, Runners Connect have a team of expert coaches that help you to train smarter, stay healthy and run faster based on your current running ability and your goals.
There are three options you can choose to get you started:
- Just a schedule
- This is the basic package that gives you a customised training schedule without the coaching support, or community access
- Team coaching
- The next level up, this offers a custom training plan, plus access to a supportive community and team of coaches to get feedback, answer questions, and help you adjust your schedule
- 1 on 1 coaching
- This is the premium and most comprehensive package that allows you to work exclusively with one of the coaches. Your coach will write your training plan in 3-4 week blocks which is adjusted based on your feedback
Once you’ve chosen your package, you’re asked to give as much information as possible about your running history, experience, current level of fitness and your goals. The more you can tell them, the better your experience will be. I’ve already learned it’s best to be honest about your current training if you want to get the most out of it, they really don’t judge you at all!
Basically, don’t claim to be like this…
…if you’re currently running more like this….like me
Your training plan is built around your preferences, lifestyle, and other commitments. So, if you prefer your long run on a Friday, and you always do weight training on a Monday, your coach will build this into your plan. This is my favourite aspect because my life doesn’t always work to a schedule and I really need that flexibility without feeling like I’m having to compromise.
When you log into your account you’re taken to your dashboard where you’re given your training plan for the week and can upload your activity either manually, or by linking to Strava. You also have the option to add comments if you were feeling good/tired/strong etc which gives the coaches some added insight into how your training is going.
There’s clear guidance on the pace you should be targeting depending on what type of run is scheduled for the day such as ‘easy’ or general’, and why you should be running at that pace. You also get regular contact from your coach and they soon get in touch if you haven’t been logging your runs to make sure everything is OK (so, no hiding…)
Depending on your membership, you also get access to a ‘newsfeed’ which allows you to see what your fellow runners are up to and what they’re thinking & feeling so you can share your experiences and support each other.
It’s worth having a good look round the site too as there are lots of blog articles and podcasts to listen to on all things running!
If you’ve found yourself in a bit of a training rut, or are unsure as to how to get fitter or faster or achieve your goals, I can recommend giving this a try. I always find that a good motivational technique for me is to tell other people what my goals are, that way I’m more accountable, and Runners Connect is a great way to do this within a supportive environment.
No matter what your current fitness level is or what you want to achieve, they have the right people to help you get there. I’ve been impressed!
I was invited to try Runners Connect as a guest, as always, all views are my own.