Saturday Off-Road Training

Saturday Off-road training takes place all year round with just a short break at the end of the summer (keep an eye on website for details). The training is great for preparation for all road running and of course the XC races in the winter.
We develop strength and stamina through the winter and target speed in the summer, for the shorter, faster races.
The surface is harder to run on as you lose more energy into the softer ground. Having said that flat hard grass can have very similar properties to track so is often used by endurance athletes in preparation for a stint on the track. Also differing surfaces tend to have differing patterns of injury / overuse so throwing in another surface alongside your road running changes the dynamics on your body helping to strengthen it over time.
We meet at 8.30 am in the Cofton Park car park and the session is usually finished by 10.00 am.
As we train all year we do try and incorporate differing running needs based on the time of the year and will on occasion change venue (perhaps a Park Run time trial) or make allowance for certain races, so keep an eye out for announcements.
The training normally follows this routine:
  • Warm-up 1mile of the park (some runners prefer a longer warm up so would come down earlier for the extra mile)
  • Drills which can include Mobilisation (e.g. heel toe transitions), Dynamic stretching (e.g. heel flicks), Strength/Plyometric exercises (e.g hops) and Speed drills (e.g. fast feet)
  • Training session
  • Warm-down 1mile of the park
The training session can be anything from a timed session containing 20-35 minute of effort, to 400m efforts with recoveries. Each week is a different challenge and the coaches balance the volume of hills, duration of effort and recovery based on the time of year. We aim to keep together as a group so that we are always training with our peers.
What you put on your feet is a matter of personal preference and experience. For example, coming down to train in the summer the ground is going to be hard so trainers or your faster flats are best. Many people run in trail shoes but by far the best when we are in the winter and wetter months are cross country spikes especially if you plan to race as getting your feet used to them is important. You may also want to bring something warm and dry to wear after the session, especially in the winter.

All abilities are welcome

– As most sessions are based on duration you are under no pressure to complete a set distance. If you are new to this type of training, or are getting back to fitness, it’s up to you to decide how much you want to do. The coaches will advise you. For example, plenty of people doing full sessions now started off by doing just the warm-up and drills, then half a session and building up gradually. What you will find is that as the session is longer overall you will naturally run further.

Dates we don’t train

– Though we do train all year we will cancel training on specific days, these are namely when the (Men and Women) League Cross-Country races are on and Road Relays. Announcements are usually made within the club so that people are aware when we won’t be training.