Example sessions from our weekly club runs are below.
Monday Nights - social runs
7PM START - CORNER OF DACEY DRIVE AND CAMP ROAD
Monday evenings are our 'social' runs - come along and stretch the legs after your weekend races and long runs, or have a chat at the start of the week. Fancy being pushed a bit further or faster than last time? Let us know - we'll pair you up with a run leader who'll try to do just that.
Suitable for all levels, from couch to 5k-ers right up to ultra marathoners. Our regular runners have 5k times ranging from below 20 minutes up to about 50 minutes, and pretty much anywhere in between, so there's pretty much guaranteed to be someone at your pace. And if there isn't, one of the run leaders will stick with you the whole time. We run a strict NO AARDVARK LEFT BEHIND policy - our run leaders all enjoy helping people set new PBs.
OUT AND BACK
The bread and butter of our Monday nights - we typically do 45 minutes moving. 23 minutes running out, then the challenge is trying to make it back to the start in 22 minutes! Works great with a mixed pace group as everyone is moving for the same time - we start together, we finish together, and then we take a selfie together!
SUMMER TRAIL RUNS
We've got some beautiful trails around the Heyfords, and we like to use them when it's light enough and dry enough to do so. A trail run will be announced in advance on our Facebook page so you'll know whether to consider wearing your trail shoes, although since we generally only do them in the dry you'll usually be fine in any footwear. We have a few routes with longer and shorter options from 5k to 8k - so again we manage to start together and finish together most weeks.
Wednesday Nights - progression sessions
7PM START - CORNER OF DACEY DRIVE AND CAMP ROAD
Wednesday nights are when we get a sweat on - sprints, intervals or hills to build your strength and stamina, and increase your leg speed. We generally start with a 10 minute warm up and explanation of the session, then 25 minutes of the tough stuff, and then a short cool-down.
Although this probably sounds intimidating to the beginner runner, it really shouldn't. The sessions are run in small areas so that we all stay together in one group, irrespective of speed or fitness levels. Quicker runners might do more loops or cover more distance during an interval, but as always we'll start together, finish together, and nobody gets left behind.
Exactly as the name suggests - we run hard(ish) for 400m uphill, then keep running back downhill, and repeat until the session finishes! The downhill stretch acts as the recovery, with breathing and heart rate returning to more normal levels. Or normal for a runner, at least. Good for buidling strength, training your body to recover quicker, and a great confidence booster if you've a hilly race coming up.
MICK HILL SPRINTS
Named after the member to suggest it, we run 60 second sprints up hill at about 8/10 effort, then back down again at about half the speed. Then we do it again - repeating 8 times in total. Everyone should start and finish each repeat roughly together. And if it all sounds a bit too scary, you always have the option to sit out a repeat or two. Heyford has some of the most comfortable road signs to lean against in the whole of North Oxfordshire.
One named after our Club Secretary, we have more uphill sprints! We start off with 5x50sec sprints, then a break. The 4x40secs, 3x30, and 2x20 - each with increasing relative effort as the duration comes down. Finally we need to get back to the top of the hill - so it's a 400m run back where we came from.
On a quiet, well lit part of the estate, we run round a 500m loop. 2 loops fast, one at recovery pace - just keep moving!
After our warm-up we head to a quiet 350m loop. There we run a time-based pyramid session - 2 minutes fast, 2 recovery, 4 fast, 2 recovery, 6 fast, 2 recovery, 4 fast, 2 recovery, and one final 2 minutes fast before our cool down. As above, members are encouraged to keep at a jogging pace while recovering, although there's always the option of walking if you need - there's no judgement from any of the club!
The first of our "fun" interval sessions, although we know that you'd probably struggle to convince a non-runner that they were fun! We pair up based on similar speeds on a 200m loop. One of each pair walks in a group around the loop, while the other runs in the same direction. Once the runner catches the group of walkers, their pair takes over while the first runner joins the walking group. A bit less intense than our 'normal' interval sessions, you'll spend about half the time walking and chatting while recovering. Can you put the world to rights while waiting for your partner to run about 300m and catch you up? Probably not, but it's enough time to have a bit of a moan about your rubbish Wednesday.
HEADS AND TAILS
Do you feel lucky, punk? From the same start point each time, you'll choose heads or tails, make your choice known by placing your hands on your head or your... erm... tail. Then the run leader will toss a coin. Get it right and you get an easy run round a 250m loop. Get it wrong and it's a sprint round a 500m loop. All finish the loop roughly together, and then we go again!
Just how much fun can you have with a couple of giant inflatable dice and a straight stretch of road with 12 equally spaced lampposts? A lot of fun - that's how much! Someone rolls the dice, then everyone sprints however many lampposts are indicated. New runner or just after an easier run? Then pick one of the dice and do a smaller distance.
The Other Stuff
There are some ad hoc sessions run on other evenings during the Spring and Summer, where we strike out across the trails over longer distances - around 10-12k typically. Our Facebook group is the best place to find out when these are happening.
While our regular club runs are just on Mondays and Wednesdays, most of the club run multiple times a week. Looking for someone to run with on a Thursday lunchtime or a Friday morning? Or have a race coming up and want to start pushing your distance a bit at the weekends. Chances are you'll find someone to join you. The run leaders might be able to suggest someone at a similar pace, and hopefully similar personality as well so you don't want to kill each other by the time you've been running side-by-side for 3 hours.
Fancy striking out alone instead? We can suggest a variety of local routes, on road or trail.
Let us know what you're after, or what your running goals are, and we'll do what we can to support.