Most people find it harder to stay motivated, let alone improve through the Winter months.
The days seem shorter and running just feels less important when you've got a nice warm house to chillax in.
If your last Winter was anything like most, you scaled back the running to once a week, at best.
The thought of leaving home or work to run when it's bitterly cold just didn't appeal.
You spent more time at home and as a result, ate more food.
By New Year's day you had not only lost all of the fitness you'd built the previous year but you added back all of the weight as well.
Is this what you want to happen again?
Of course it's not!
This year will be different...
Make a plan to not only sustain your current ability but achieve something you've rarely done before.
You're going to use your New Year motivation, not to crawl back to a half decent state, but to push for your best ever Spring running event.
Just think of what this will do for your health...
What it'll do for your confidence...
What it'll set you up for in the Summer of 2020.
Winter Squad is a group of inspired runners who have committed to not just entering events but training for them with the guidance of a coach and personalised programme, the education of an online course and the support of their peers.
We'll ask for the information needed to personalise your programme such as:
You'll soon be:
You'll gain full access to your personalised running programme with session plans detailing what distances, speeds and duration you should run at over the next 12-16 weeks.
A second programme will be supplied in the New Year with updated details which take into account your new found abilities since joining.
Peak for every event with session plans you can use when running with the club or alone.
Contact your coach any time to discuss new events, challenges, niggles, illness or target speeds.
Learn everything you need to progress from intermediate to expert in just 12 weeks. It's not who you know but what you know that will get you success.
Become inspired by other Squad members who want you to achieve and hear about your progress. Over forty members await your inclusion.
Gain three weeks of guidance and support from our qualified Nutritionist alongside her Autumn Recipe Book and private group support. You can follow and adapt our Autumn Nutrition recipes and form your own ideal training diet.
Have you ever just wanted to ask one person what you should do about a running related issue?
The internet has loads of information about running but getting an answer specific to your situation is practically impossible, due to the vast array of moving parts in your life.
Whether you need guidance on a particular run you're struggling to fit in, a niggling left knee or which events to enter the correct answer will depend on what came before. Conor will take the time to understand your goals, strengths, weaknesses and dig up what lead up to any situation which has left you uncertain about next steps.
Unlike a blog post or running forum, quality coaching happens best when you learn how to solve problems by yourself.
Conor will help you figure out the answers by working through the facts so you can become an independently knowledgeable runner.
Anytime you find yourself with a question simply message, email or set up a call to discuss your situation in depth.
Conor will typically reply within a couple of hours on weekdays and in between family and coaching commitments on the weekend.
When you're getting answers from one source which knows your exact situation you can bet it'll be more effective than any blog post, book or forum.
Your Truly Personalised Running Programme
Generic programmes fail to prescribe speeds which reflect your ability and contain distances which neglect the multiple events you've entered.
Your programme can be designed with speeds based on your ability and distances which peak you for multiple events.
Our first job will be to find where the hidden potential lies when compared to previous race build ups:
There are so many things which can go wrong in training and on race day but with your own running coach, a personalised programme and other squad members cheering you on you can set yourself up for a year of personal bests in 2020.
I found the training videos, Facebook group and training plan great for keeping up motivation, plus socialising on training nights, to remind myself of individual & shared goals!
I’m glad I joined the Summer squad and have enjoyed the experience.
Being in a squad means getting a training programme to work with; but for me the most important part is giving and receiving encouragement, support and advice.
I used to run in my younger years when I was in the RAF and tried again about 6 years ago with another running club but unfortunately did not enjoy it and gave up. Having had a recommendation from a previous work colleague and friend, Tina Sawle, I joined Cheltenham Running Club in January 2019.
Age is not a barrier, nor is fitness level. I am now 57 years old and having started on the Couch to 5km programme, I successfully completed the Cheltenham Parkrun in June 2019. That was it, I was hooked and I joined the Summer Training Squad to continue my journey.
I suffered a knee injury which set me back a little and I missed the Cheltenham Challenge 10km in August. However, with the support of physio, advice from Conor and other members of the Club, I was able to build up strength and get going again. I am amazed at how much I have improved from those early days when I thought I would never run 1km without stopping never mind 10km!
I have now gained confidence and recently completed my first official 10km in the Worcester City event on 15th September.
The members of the club are so friendly and supportive, I couldn’t have done it without them.
As a Winter Squad Member you'll be able to help us shape our latest online running course. Gain lifetime access to all lessons and suggest new topics to be included.
Learn the way around your very own running programme, get the tech set up so you know what speed you should be running and how to know whether you're actually keeping to the speeds. Learn to plan your own race calendar and ideal training week to ensure the best Summer of your running life.
Address niggles before they become an injury, fuel yourself depending on the run you're about to face, teach your body to adapt for the benefits you need to conquer each event. This module will prepare you to prepare your body for faster and longer runs than it's ever been capable of.
Mental strategies for coping with stress, technical cues to hard wire and knowing when to change the race plan are all vital if you're going to succeed in every run. The biggest failure of most intermediate runners is removing the options they have available when adversity hits part way through a run.
Each run offers us an opportunity to fine tune our next one. To make vital decisions about our next events and maximise progress. Learn to recover effectively and your body can cope with far more physical stress than you ever thought possible.
There's nothing worse than training well and racing below expectations. Fact is that just one bad decision can turn our race upside down and not only waste your entry fee but months of preparation.
Your biggest risk to crushing this Winter of training is undoubtedly an injury. Ask anyone on the start line of a 10k, Half or Full Marathon and they'll tell you they've had to manage some kind of pain which they were unable to shake. Many will take weeks to recover from the injury which resulted when they push through the pain to finish in a time they knew could have been better.
Conor teaches intermediate level runners how to maximise the benefits from every run. He's helped hundreds of runners complete first time distances and achieve a steady series of personal best results.
Over 15 years as a fitness proffesional and running coach have enabled him to grow as a coach, investing time and money in the latest methods utilised by runners.
Clientele vary from those who run regular Half and Full Marathons to many who wouldn't run to catch a bus.
I'm due to run the Cheltenham Half shortly but have already started planning with Conor my next training and event schedule over the winter. I have done this so I can capture the full benefits of the Summer Squad and prepare myself for some challenges in 2020 and beyond."
I highly recommend Conor's training squads. I've been a keen occasional runner for a few years, and had run a few 10ks and half marathons.
This year I was determined to get some structure in my training and see what I could achieve at the Cheltenham Half with a proper training plan. I hadn't done much training in the months before joining Conor's programme and was pretty unfit.
I've found the structure of the training plan to be excellent in improving my speed and endurance in a careful and gradual way over several months, without risking the injuries I've had in the past when I've suddenly increased mileages.
The combination of the interval runs with their lung-busting fast kilometers, good paced tempo runs and sensibly paced long runs has transformed my fitness. The improvement in performance has been really good too - I'm running 18ks at a faster pace than I ran a 5k at the start of the programme, and have beaten my 10k pb from several years ago.
What I find amazing is that I now think of going out for a 10k as a short run! Being part of a squad really helps with motivation too, when you might otherwise find an excuse not to go out for that long run in the British rain or holiday heat, and Conor's support and advice has been great as well.
I'm looking forward to the Cheltenham Half, and continuing to get much more out of my running.
Joining the Summer Training Squad was the best thing that I did for myself this year. I had been a member of the Cheltenham Running Club for a couple of years and decided to sign up for the Cheltenham Half Marathon as it looks like so much fun.
I knew that I would need to train as, for me, preparation is key, and I have not looked back since joining the squad. The programme has been fantastic, totally tailored to my personal ability, I have learnt better running techniques and handy tips on how to get the most out of running.
I have found it so motivating to run with such a friendly group of people and Conor’s advice and personalised training programme has made it possible for me to believe I can achieve my first half marathon. I’m now really looking forward to doing something that I would never have thought possible.
Each race entry costs you £18-£50 so it's important that you actually get the experience you hoped for when you entered the event.
This is rarely the case with many runners:
Some people pay £400+ for a course of private sessions with a health professional only to find they've lost all of their running fitness. Others wait months for an appointment with the NHS only to be told they should stop running as "it's bad for your joints"...
Why put your body and your family finances through this process when you could invest just a fraction to prepare correctly? There is so much value to be gained with a process proven to reduce injury rates. Just learning to run injury free could save you hundreds of pounds.
But what about the actual experience of training? Uninterrupted, consistent runs with small and regular personal bests which get you in the habit of winning. You'll win every race against previous best times if you can stay injury free and stick to your programme.
We're confident you'll feel the improvements in your training experience just days after your first run but if you're unsatisfied with the level of support then we'll refund your registration fee.
“It is a very good club for those beginning to run whatever age you are. There is a very friendly atmosphere to encourage people to reach their goal. This is one of the best running clubs in Cheltenham.”
“I wanted to get back into running after a break of 2 years. I set myself the Cheltenham half marathon in Oct as my target. The club got me going again and they are so welcoming and inclusive. Conor gives great advice. I thoroughly recommend the club and am constantly telling friends about it.”
14 weeks of online Coaching and Support
14 weeks of Coaching and Support with the Full Club Experience
Your programme will start on the 3rd of January and ends on the 12th of May
Our Annual and Standard memberships do not include a programme, educational workshops, Facebook support group or any scheduled time with a coach.
No, the programme, guidance and support you need to train is all available online and over the phone. There is a membership which does not include club attendance.
You'll be referred to our Physiotherapist, Katie Foster, to discuss whether you should attempt to race and how the programme should be adapted. If your injury is a sudden accident, like a broken ankle, then we'll likely provide a credit towards a future squad membership.
If you decide the arrangement is not for you simply email us before your programme is ready and we'll open your place to someone else.
Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
I am incredibly proud of the progress we've made in preparing and educating runners. Thanks to this squad and others like it, there are less people who destroy their love of running due to a bad race or training experience.
There is still so much to achieve though. Thousands of runners sign up to events on a whim only to fail their own expectations thanks to a lack of knowledge and support.
Please don't let this be you. Whether you join this squad or another programme like it, you want to make running enjoyable, rewarding and sustainable.
Please take the action which prepares you for a life long love of running.