Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Coaching at the RMR Retreat 2015

Last weekend I faced my biggest coaching challenge to date. I journeyed up to Cranage Hall in Holmes Chapel to join 80 women for the Run Mummy Run Retreat only this year, instead this time I was there as part of RunFitUK and responsible for helping to deliver some quality sessions alongside Cassie, RunFitUK founder.
Me, Cassie and Jo
During the weekend we lead these wonderful, enthusiastic women through an example RunFitUK session on Saturday morning including warm ups, technique drills, strength and balance sessions, games and intervals. We also hosted the very first RunFitUK challenge on Saturday afternoon and a less energetic technique session on Sunday morning, to give everyone some "take home" tips, regardless of hangovers or aching legs.
It had been anticipated that we would have three coaches for the weekend but a change of circumstances meant it was just myself and Cassie, ably assisted by the wonderful Jo, who organised us superbly. So the ladies were split into two groups of 40, the largest group I'd ever dealt with! I'd be lying if I said I didn't have a few nerves but everyone wanted to be there and get involved any concerns melted away. The balance games were a source of much hilarity for all involved!
After a fabulous lunch it was time for the challenge! We were split into teams of six and pitted against each other in a version of a relay race, with a team member peeling off after each lap. The amount of encouragement the women gave each other was truly amazing and there were some real game faces on show! It ended up being the sort of event when anything could happen and quite often did. There were some astounding sprint finishes, plenty of strategic discussions and at least one 1 km PB. Although captain of the white team, I wasn't due to run until a member of another team had to pull out, so I was seconded and got to play my part of one race. Unfortunately my involvement didn't get us through to the final but the white team went on to win!
My moment
Congratulating my team
All efforts were celebrated
Even though all of our sessions are geared towards the individual working to their own ability the "morning after" technique session made even more allowance for delicate heads by limiting the amount of running and focusing on posture and arm swing, giving some key points to take away and the opportunity to ask any questions. The collective groan at the start of the walking lunges was priceless though!

I felt a bit lost once I got home on Sunday afternoon so decided to take myself out for a run, as I'd actually done very little over the weekend, trying to put my own coaching tips into practice.
There's been a lot of lovely feedback about the sessions so far on twitter and social media including a message from one lady saying that the buzz words had helped her to shave a minute off of her pace on a run already!
Memento of the weekend
RunFitUK are in five locations at present and much as we'd like to grow, we're limited by lack of willing and qualified coaches so if you'd like to get involved please look at the website and get in touch. There are a lot of ladies on the retreat who want sessions local to them!

If we're already local to you and you'd like to try a session, you can book a "wildcard" online. We're not a ladies only group and cater for all abilities. Hope to hear reports of newcomers soon.

On July 26th we are hosting a free event in Bracknell specifically for ladies new to or apprehensive about running. You can find all the details on the events page.

Thanks to Tim Escott for being our photographer all weekend. All water marked photos credited to him.

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