Helensburgh AAC provides training and support to any runner, whatever your level or reason for running.
Club Training Sessions
Club training sessions are on a Tuesday evening at 7:20 and Thursday evening at 7.30pm at the Clubhouse. Both sessions generally involve an hour of training and you can expect to be finished by 8:45. The majority of these sessions are spent doing interval training. This means faster running for periods of 1 to 10 minute repetitions with 1 to 5 minutes recovery in between the repetitions.
Interval training is very effective at increasing aerobic fitness and running speed. If you have not done this sort of training before you will need to start steadily as interval training can be hard on your body. There will always be a coach or experienced runner in each group who can advise on how many repetitions to attempt and at what pace to run at.
As a general rule during the repetitions you should go at a speed that you can maintain throughout that series of repetitions and you should be able to recover by the end of the recovery period between the repetitions. The guiding principle being quality over quantity.
Although there are two club training sessions organised each week you should not feel under pressure to do both. For some runners a single interval session is probably enough, especially for less experienced runners.
Types of interval sessions include:
First practiced in Sweden in the 1930s, its literal translation means speedplay. In a fartlek session, typically, the athlete will vary the speed at which they are moving at different stages of a run for set periods of time with faster, slower and sometimes intermediate speed runs. Generally the variables are time based, with distance being a secondary concern (except perhaps the total distance to be covered). Fartlek training allows you to increase your speed over sustained periods of running, by increasing your lactate threshold level (the point at which your body starts producing significant levels of lactic acid due to anaerobic respiration).
Literally means ‘pair run’ and is basically a relay which is done in pairs. The relay comprises of one of the team running whilst the other rests, before they get to go again. Often, between efforts, the recovering athlete puts in a gentle jog back to the changeover point. If both athletes in the pair are evenly matched this can produce a competitive element into a training session.
Pyramid Running Sessions are a useful tool since they allow a range of distances (and potentially speeds) to be run in a single session. Usually the term is used to cover any session where there is a step up or down in distance between runs, for example 400metres (m), 800m, 1200m, 1600m, 1200m, 800m, 400m or 1 minute, 2 minutes, 3 minutes, 4 minutes, 5 minutes, 4 minutes, 3 minutes, 2 minutes, 1 minute. This type of session is good because of the speed and recovery elements, allowing the body to be overloaded in different ways on different runs.
The purpose of speed endurance is to prolong the amount of time at which a near optimal speed can be maintained. Technique is important with speed endurance because once an athlete starts to tense up the degradation of speed is accelerated. A typical session may consist of 5-7 repetitions of perhaps 400m, 800m or 1 mile with about 2-3 minutes recovery between repetitions.
Hill running allows for running on a different surface (i.e. grass rather than tarmac) and also teaches a slightly modified technique that is more aggressive and requires more knee lift. Hills are something that can be an asset to anyone, whether for the duration of a sprint race or for a finishing kick in a distance race. It has more obvious benefits for those who are going to do road races or cross-country as it is very unlikely that any of these races will be entirely flat.
Anaerobic or Lactate Threshold running is normally the domain of middle and long distance runners. Here the session is meant to be run as fast as possible, whilst remaining entirely aerobic (in other words, the body is replenished with as much oxygen as is being used during the activity – at no stage will the body go into oxygen debt). To accomplish this is often difficult, as it is not easy to tell whether you are running entirely aerobically. A simpler way to tell, which is relatively accurate, is that if you are running aerobically then you should be able to carry on a relatively normal conversation. If you are too out of breath to talk properly then you should slow down a little.
As well as the formal club training sessions, most runners benefit from doing some longer runs at a steady pace to increase endurance and economy, so that they can run for longer before becoming tired. Many club runners get together on a weekend for longer runs. These runs are organised after the Tuesday/Thursday sessions or by email, text or via our Facebook group, and are done at whatever speed and duration desired by the runners going out.
Weekend runs are a really enjoyable part of being a club member and are done at a pace that allows you to chat with your fellow runners and to enjoy the beautiful countryside around Helensburgh. Runs on the paths and trails around Loch Lomond are particularly popular.
The club training sessions combined with a longer run form the core of a good running regime. How much other running you do will depend on your goals, how much time you have for training and the needs of any other sports in which you take part. The club coaches and experienced runners can advise you on how much other running you need to do to achieve your goals whether these are to improve fitness or run competitively.