Friday, 12 October 2012

Training @BirtleyAC

I've been finding it increasingly difficult to get down to do my regular track session after work on a Thursday. As it starts at six, this means a rush back home, then just enough time to get changed and head back out again.  So after chatting to Lee at the minors xc last Saturday, and with Birtley AC training just at the top of my street, I thought I'd see if I could give it a go.

I messaged Ed & Val on Facebook, and they were more than happy to let me tag along.

It's only about a 2-3 minute jog up the hill and along to Lord Lawson School, which served as a little bit of a warm up.  There was some kind of school information evening going on, which meant the place was heaving with kids & parents, but someone managed to spot me looking like a bit of a lost soul, and pointed me in the right direction.

The younger members of the club stayed at the school to do some kind of training demo for the prospective kids & parents, while the junior members & seniors headed out for a road session.  I was kind of hoping it was going to be something relatively flat, since I'd done one of Evil-Coach-Darth-Jim's hill session on the Tuesday at Jarrow, but that hope was quashed with the info that we were doing hills, and that it was the road up to Wrekenton.  This prompted some major discussion on the jog over (for which read decent paced run) as to which road it might be as there as several.  It turns out that it was the longest, steepest road so there was some thoughts of 'Oh my God, I hope we don't have to run all the way up that' and *holds hand up* 'Taxi for Thompson' which were floating round my head.

I was surprised to see so many people waiting (at the lane which leads to the Angel View Pub), we were pretty strung out on the trip over, but they all re-grouped, and waited for Tom (the coach) to set the session.

It was timed efforts (something I've not really done before - normally number of reps or distance).  So 30sec / 45 sec / 60 sec effort up the hill, jog or walk back down recovery x 4.  This meant that the fast lads & lasses could get a decent workout, without leaving the slower folks way behind.  The session worked really well, and with there being so many people there (about 30 or so), it had a smashing atmosphere.  I probably could have worked a bit harder than I did, but I could still feel Tuesday's hills in my legs, so I just tried to take it steady, and not embarrass myself by dropping out before the finish.

Once were done, it was a steady bimble back down Durham Road, and up the the school.

Some stats:
Warm up - 3.15k, 16:15
Session - 2.09k (this is just the uphill efforts, though this would be more for the faster folks)
Warm down - 3.88k, 20:57 (inc my bimble back home)

Gotta say it was really well organised, and I'd definitely recommend it to both established runners, and beginners alike - very friendly.

Many thanks to Birtley AC for having me along!

Check out Birtley AC here on the web on Facebook, and twitter: @BirtleyAC


  1. Great blog post Vicki, and so pleased you enjoyed your session with @BirtleyAC :) Tommy is a really good endurance coach who always gets the best from his athletes by giving as much commitment to the sport as they do, and the gold from last week's XC in Sheffield will hopefully be the first of many this season!
    The coaches for the younger age groups (last night I think it was Alison, Fiona, Pam and Steve) and the sprint coach Vince also work hard with their groups, and again have seen some great results from their athletes recently (such as the David Sharpe Shield) They usually stay within the confines of the school and use the facilities there instead of the open road.

    As a more senior and distinctly back of the field runner, I will never see the heady heights of a gold medal, but I'm still finding that the occasional session with the "proper" runners is helping my fitness. Time to put it to the test now as I'm off to do Gateshead Parkrun - let's see if that hill session has REALLY helped!

    1. Cheers Val - really enjoyed the session!

      Great to see Tom actually checking up on us in his car on the run back - making sure we were okay, good team management.