Cofton Off-road Training Sessions

We’ve recently formalised the Saturday morning sessions which will take place over the Winter months at Cofton Park. As some of our newer members may not be aware of the sessions we caught up with Sean Rose to find out more…

Cofton Park“Why do the session?”  There are a number of reasons why the session is good for you:

  • We all spend a lot of time pounding the streets; mixing up your running surfaces is a good way of avoiding over-use injuries.
  • We all have what is called a running economy that relates to our style. This is how efficiently we run. It is different from person to person…remember Paula Radcliffe’s twitch. If you can strengthen your body then your style will have less impact on your efficiency and you get less tired at a slower rate; off-road training can help with this.
  • We should all be doing some form of cross training to help with the first two points but in reality that is hard as we aren’t professionals with that sort of time commitment so going to Cofton where the surface is less stable and more varied is a good way of getting the best of both.
  • If you embark on a prolonged use of Cofton over the Winter all that benefit comes through in the Spring and sets you up nicely for running quicker. Also if you are doing a spring marathon you are developing strength to cope with the marathon load.  There is always a little caveat in the training programmes you can find on line. “Must be capable of running xx a week”. What that really means is being able to do that week in week out for months with no impact as you are about to start loading your body in un-natural ways. Cofton sets you up nicely as your body learns to recover quicker and gains strength.
  • If you are going to race cross country then you really need to be getting used to what that really means. The session is structured to give you maximum benefit. A) A 2 mile warm-up which is what you need to do check out any course, b) Drills that prep your body for running well, c) Sessions that will give you the experience of what it is you will face. To run well downhill in a race you need to have practised that.

“What time is the session?”  It is early I’m afraid; 8.00am on a Saturday morning. But we get most of the session done by 9:30 with a warm down to follow. We want to start promptly but if you are 5-10 min late then that still works as you can shorten the warm up or go in the opposite direction (anti-clockwise) to meet the group. It will be on most Saturdays unless there is a key club race happening. Those at the moment are all Division Cross-Country races, the Warwickshire/Worcestershire County Cross Country and the National Cross Country. We will publish when the session isn’t on so please check on the website before you come along. If you should ever be there when it isn’t on then 2-3 laps of Cofton would be a good workout!

“What do I need to bring?” Layers! Waterproof jacket, long sleeve running top, short sleeve and possibly a thicker jumper. Leggings. Hat and gloves. It is always best to be prepared and judge what you need there. If you see it raining bring a dry top for driving back in the car. As for fashion sense over the years I have taken to wearing dark colours (including socks) as they wash better! One thing you can’t avoid is getting wet and a bit of mud so also have a spare dry pair of trainers to hand for your drive back. For the warm up trail shoes or a pair of trainers that have passed their best is ideal. For the session bring either trail shoes or cross-country spikes.

“I don’t think I can manage the session how do I start?” There are plenty of routes you can take in Cofton to create any given distance  so I have always seen attending as a good way of recovering from injury, building mileage and/or getting used to the terrain to be able to run the session. We can also tailor sessions if you are at a point in your training that best suits your needs.

To find out more about about the cross country season, races etc. visit the Cross Country page.