January 19


Are You Fit Enough to Join Our Running Club?

By Conor Graham

January 19, 2015

With the launch of our supportive Beginner’s Running Groups this post isn’t as relevant but there are some good bits to read if you’re thinking about getting back into running. 

To find out more about our Beginner’s Running Groups click here…

As a club aiming to encourage inactive people to take up walking, jogging and running we meet a lot of people who are concerned about whether they’re fast enough to join us.

Many tell us they want to get fitter before trying out a club run for fear of being left behind, which is a very valid fear and an experience no one wants to have. How do we know whether you’re fit enough? We’ll ask you one key question:

Can you walk for 30-minutes at a conversational pace without pain?

Most will reply yes and can in fact jog/run for that long. If they can’t walk for 30-minutes then we do suggest they build up their walking ability by starting with a 15-min walk at a pace they can maintain, then increasing the duration by 5mins each week with 2-3 walks per week until they reach 30 minutes.

Now most people we talk to are already running or are coming back to running after a long break. They have usually searched for a “Running Club in Cheltenham” so plan on Running. The problem is that they think they are terrible at it because when they go out for a run they get tired quickly and soon find themselves walking to catch their breath.

Just the fact they can walk for 30-minutes should answer their question but most people don’t want to walk they want to run, which is great.

Next we need to figure out why they have to stop running when they run outside. The easy answer is usually that they’re running too fast.

We all start at a speed we think we can maintain for 30 minutes but soon find our lungs screaming and stop to walk. Cold weather can make this occur more often but the solution is still simple:


If you’re doing your first club run and haven’t run in months then we’ll ask you to choose a conservative pace group which assures you can complete the run. After that session you may choose to step up a group or stick with the conservative group and progress with the programme.

Already Running Regularly?

If you’re already running regularly and this all sounds a little “beginnerish” then thanks for sticking with us. We have 10, 11, 12 and 13kph (3:45-2:52min/mile) groups and are working hard to attract faster runners as well as develop those we have.

At the end of the day the only thing we want you to consider when deciding if our club suits you is logistics:

  • Can you make it to the start location on time?
  • Do you want to run with others and get fit in the process?

Please don’t get fit to join the club runs. Join the club runs in order to get fit!

You’ll be surprised how many people are de-conditioned at club runs. Some are de-conditioned but able to run at 12kph, others much slower but that really isn’t important.

Any and all of us would look unfit trying to run with Olympic athletes but those with the right attitude would relish the opportunity to learn from them.

How to Make Running Fun

The fun in running is not the part when you’re huffing and puffing, struggling to keep up. We’ll help you minimize time in that zone, by pacing your runs.

The fun of running is that first half when you’re feeling fresh, running at a sustainable speed, enjoying the scenery and people you’re running with.

Don’t listen to the little guy in your head who says you’re not fast enough.

You’re joining a Running Club to get fit, not to show people that you are fit.

Conor Graham

About the author

Conor is the Head Coach and Founder of Cheltenham Running and Walking Club.

His experience as a Strength & Conditioning Coach, Triathlete and Personal Trainer ensure members are educated on best practice in regards to training progression while also nurtured through the early stages of fitness development.

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Talk to our Head Coach about whether Cheltenham Running and Walking Club is  right for you.