Free courses to help you start Running
Run4Life has been delivering Beginner Running Courses across Bristol since January 2015. We started out with pilot courses in South Bristol then North Bristol and then began our multi-site roll-out from June 2015 offering beginner courses in at least 4 different areas all running at the same time. The beauty of this is that everyone across Bristol is on the same journey at the same time so they can share the highs and lows of each session. We use our Facebook group to help support our course members. Our Facebook group has over a 1000 members, most have been on our Beginners course, everybody wants to see each other succeed so the environment is very supportive and encouraging. We have run hundreds of courses and have tweaked and honed our bespoke schedule over the years from feedback from our participants.
We now offer 2 courses:
Walk to Jog
This is our new 4 week pre-beginner running course. We encourage people to start walking for thirty minutes three times a week and add in very short jogging sections – 10 seconds, 20 seconds. This course prepares people to join our Zero to 35 course.
Zero to 35
Our very succesful 12 week course which takes non-runners from 30, 45 and 60 seconds of jogging with walking intervals up to 35 minutes of continuous jogging/ running.
Why do we not follow the Couch to 5k schedule/ app? The app is great and many people start running with it. However, we have found that some of our runners find the first session too much so our introductory week helps to prepare people. Our course is 12 weeks allowing a bit more time to build up the running sections, it also takes people to 35 minutes of running as very few people achieve a 5k in 30 minutes after just 9 weeks of running. Our schedule is also incremental across each session so that the jumps between weeks aren’t as big and feel a little bit more achievable.
Sign up for Part 1 – the first 6 weeks, Part 2 – the second 6 weeks or the whole course
Because everyone has different goals and starting points, from September we will be offering participants the opportunity to sign up for the first 6 weeks which takes people to half way through the course achieving 18 minutes of running as 5 and 8 minute blocks with short walk breaks imbetween, OR the whole course- 12 weeks and the 35 minute goal OR the second 6-week part which starts at: 10 minute run, 3 minute walk, 6 minute run and builds up to the final 35 minute goal. This will allow people to start from the beginning without the pressure of achieving the whole course OR those who need a bit of help to get going again but don’t need to start back at the very beginning can join us part-way through.
How to Register
So, if you would like to start running why not come and join us? We usually start courses in January, April and September. All courses are posted on our Facebook page at least three weeks before the start of the course, so ‘like’ and follow us. We offer courses in North: Blaise, Lawrence Weston or Southmead, Central: Lockleaze, Eastville, St George or Lawrence Hill and South: Hengrove or Knowle West. Courses are free but we do need people to register on the individual event set up for each course, these are found on here: run4lifebristol.eventbrite.co.uk
Members of our Facebook group can join in our social runs organised by our enthusiastic running volunteers (details are posted within the group). Find details of our Hengrove run here.
Read the inspirational stories of some of our Run4Life members here:
January 2016 I decided I wanted to get fit and lose some weight. I signed up for a Zero to 30 course, turned up but was too nervous to get out of my car so I drove home again! A few months later I signed up again and actually went along to my first Zero to 30 session. Everyone was really friendly and I wished I’d started earlier! I was so unfit I was huffing and puffing even during the warm up (but I wasn’t the only one). At the end of every session Charlotte, explained what we’d be doing the next week and I always thought I wouldn’t be fit enough to do it. Every week I amazed myself that I could do it and 9 weeks later I ran my first parkrun at Pomphrey Hill – it was fabulous and I was hooked. I carried on running regularly and had never felt better, I was 4 stone lighter and loving life.
In May 2017 I received devastating news, I had stage 3 breast cancer. I was facing an operation, 6 rounds of chemotherapy, 20 radiotherapy sessions and 18 chemical therapy injections. My running family were amazing throughout my treatment and kept me moving which helped me enormously. I regularly went to Parkrun and sometimes took over an hour to walk round but the support at the end was always amazing. I am nearly at the end of my treatment with just a few more injections to go. This year to celebrate beating cancer I am running ten 10ks.
I started as a reluctant couch potato who only joined as I couldn’t think of any good excuse not to start a free beginners course in my local park. I remember being so nervous turning up to the first cold January session, but with the support of a work friend my journey began. The group seemed friendly but I was exhausted after the first 30 seconds run, the next 45 seconds defeated me and I didn’t even try the 60 seconds run. I was disappointed and felt like even a beginners course was too much for me, but the leaders were really supportive – encouraging me to keep pushing but find my speed (much slower). By the end of the first session was pleased I’d tried and even planned to do the 2 homeworks.
Over the next few weeks I found my speed and very slowly but surely I was keeping up with the times, running further and further each week. I’m always the person at the back of the group but if anything even the fastest of runners are really supportive.
When I started I honestly never believed I could run for 30 minutes but just a few months later, with the encouragment of my enthusiastic trainers, I was entering parkruns and running, very slowly, for an hour.
With the help of Run4Life I’ve found new friends who still meet up weekly to run and discovered a new hobby of parkruns – one recent holiday I even planned in a ‘tourist’ parkrun and cracked my personal best!
I feel fitter than I have done in decades, my breathing is better, I’ve lost weight & I’m proud that with the support of Run4Life I have even continued to train after graduating – the Facebook group has a great community of all levels.
If you are thinking about starting but not sure if you would really be able to run 30 mins then stop worrying about that – the first week is a slightly less daunting 30+ secs, once you’ve done that then you are taking the first steps to 30 minutes.
Do get yourself some good trainers, then find the right running clothes and whatever music or audiobook you need to keep you going during homework.