beginners ("EZ" runners)
It is remarkable how many people in Cambridge go out running regularly. For each one of these there are probably several who are interested and want to try it out. Why is this? Probably because running is such a fantastic thing to do:
- It gets you very fit.
- Food takes on a whole new magical persona! Running burns large numbers of calories and gives you the most healthy of appetites.
- It helps you sleep at night.
- It does wonders for your mental state! There is nothing like an endorphin rush to make you feel good and positive. It clears the your mind, helps you keep things in perspective and allows you to concentrate for longer.
These are just a few of the benefits. They are wide-ranging, both physically and mentally.
You do not have to be one of the fastest, most competitive athletes in the University to share in and appreciate these benefits. It does not matter if you are less experienced or just running for general fitness, the experience is the same.
There are many members of Cambridge University as a whole and indeed CUH&H who could describe themselves in one or more of the following ways:
- "I have never really run before but I would like to give it a try".
- "I have never really run before but I am running the London Marathon next year".
- "I used to run several years ago but I gave it up. I would like to start again."
- "I like to keep fit and run quite regularly. I like the therapeutic effects but, at present, don't want to tackle any of the more intense sessions "
There is clearly therefore a significant demand for properly EASY runs and beginners' sessions. I recognise how important this is for many of you. Indeed the club recognizes how important this is: article 3 a. of the constitution states that one of the aims of the club is "to promote the sport of cross-country and road running in the University at all levels".
The Hare and Hounds is not elitist. All standards are welcome. I consider the provision of workouts for all abilities a very important part of the club. During full term we provide several sessions each week tailored specifically for anyone who is apprehensive about getting started or who, at present, is only interested in keeping fit with some relaxed running. (Incidentally, if you fall into category 2, check out the London Marathon page!)
When and where do the beginners' runs take place?
OK here's how it works: During each week of term a beginners' training schedule is posted up here and also sent to the training mailing list. If you are in one of the categories described above then everything on this schedule is specifically designed for you.
During term time, there are around 5 such workouts each week and more if the demand is there. If there is demand out of term we will also run these sessions. A variety of different routes, starting points and times are used. You can do as many or as few as you wish. Perhaps just try one or two per week at first then gradually build in more as you get fitter and more experienced.
So what can you expect?
Your runs will be EASY, (and I MEAN EASY!). They will be at what some would call "conversational pace": you will easily be able to chat with the people you are running with (it's a very social thing too you know). They will tend to last around 25 - 30 minutes with the route and pace being such that absolutely no one will struggle. There will always be at least one experienced runner present to ensure that the pack sticks together.
The tea run is an excellent run to try. It is always very popular as it has an added incentive: read about it here.
Sometimes a beginners' run might be scheduled to start at the same point as one of the main CUH&H runs. Do not worry about this: the beginners' group will be made clear at the start. Besides it will be a good way to meet members of the club who do not do the 'EZ' runs.
Beginners' track or intervals sessions are there for people who want to try out something more than single-paced running. While remaining well within your capabilities, they offer an excellent way to see what the more intense sessions on the main training schedule are like. Essentially there will be a few efforts run at a slightly quicker pace than the EASY runs. Give them a bash to see what it's all about.
Once you've got to grips with the EASY runs, and perhaps a beginners' track session, you may like to try out some of the other things on offer. I'd like to reiterate an important point here:
You are more than welcome at ANY of the sessions. The main schedule is colour coded: the standard blue steady runs are suitable for all. They will usually be further than the beginners' runs but there should be three groups: easy, medium and fast. So there will again be a group that suits you. Even in the more hard-core red sessions, regrouping will occur at the end of each effort so you will not be left on your own. Seriously consider giving them a try when you feel ready because they are amazing. Everyone works together. There is a great atmosphere and camaraderie. Also consider the circuits and core-stability sessions (in green): no running involved yet great for your fitness. I am not applying any pressure here. Just don't forget they are there and you CAN do them.
Progress is often remarkably quick. The history of the Hare and Hounds is full of people who tried out a few easy runs then found they really enjoyed it and ended up competing for the University. If you are in the slow group in the main runs to start with, it may not be long before you move up into the medium or fast group. So stick at it and don't rule anything out.
You are free to come a long and try it out without joining CUH&H. No one will turn you away. Browse the rest of this site though to see what you'd get by joining. A whole social life thrown in for one thing!
Finally, I know there are those who feel put off by the competitive sounding emails. Please do not be. Competitions are a very important part of CUH&H. Of course they are. However, you are just as important and each week I will endeavour to include messages specifically for beginners and EZ runners in my emails.
If you have any comments or suggestions about this side of the club please do not hesitate to contact me. For example if you'd like more runs at a different time or from a different starting point, or if one of the runs was too fast or too long, please let me know. They are for your benefit so we will do our best to tailor what's on offer for you. Above all please let me know if you were ever dropped and left on your own in a run (especially if you were unsure of the route home for example). This should not happen and is considered by myself and the rest of the committee as a serious matter.
I'm sure I will see you around Cambridge,
Spread the word.
Happy running everyone.
CUH&H Club Captain