Blackwater Valley Runners welcome beginners any Wednesday night – aim to arrive around 6.50pm. The easiest place to park is in Aldershot Park car park, to the left of the cricket club gates.

“You don’t have to join straight away. Come along and run with us for a couple of weeks and make sure that we are the right club for you before you make it official.” ~ Andy, Club Secretary

What to expect

You might not be the only new starter on the night, we will welcome you and ask if you have run before and how many minute/miles you run. (Doing the free local Rushmoor park run on a Saturday morning is a good way to get an idea of your pace). If you’ve already got some running experience we will slot you into the correct group and introduce you to the lead runner. At 7pm the chairman and committee do some “Shout outs” about things the club and members are doing. Then everyone does some warmup and stretching exercises, then we split into 5/6 running groups. The beginner’s group is aimed at runners who can walk/jog about 4 miles in about 50 mins. The group is led by an experienced leader who can ensure that the people at the front get pushed a bit harder than those at the back. After a few weeks you’ll find that your running has improved and you can run at a comfortable pace for 30 mins or more, and you’re ready for a 5k or 10k race.

Beginners FAQs

Q: What do I need before running?

A: A health check up is a good way to begin. Then you will need a good pair of running shoes, Shoes are the key These are the one investment you really do need to make. Cutting corners here is a false economy. Reckon on spending between £50-£70 for a decent pair and take advice from a specialist running store. They’ll have trained staff ready to help and who know what it means to be starting out. If you want advice on who to see in your local area contact a local running club. It will also be worthwhile buying some specialist running gear in time as this is designed to keep you cool as it “wicks” away sweat from the body.

Q: How do I start running?

A: Go for a walk! Time on your feet will build up stamina. The best way to start running is to walk around a local route or circuit that is not to far from your home or work, try running between lampposts, run from one lamppost to the next then walk to the next, try and go as far as you can around the circuit for about 15 to twenty minutes, rest for one day then try again this time between two lampposts. Slowly build this up adding 5 or 10 minutes every run. Not many of us can run a mile the first time out so don’t get discouraged, and don’t quit! After two weeks try and run three lampposts and rest for one lamppost, after time you will be able to run the whole circuit with out stopping. Always rest one day between runs.

If you want to start running as part of a group rather than by yourself, a couple of our members put on 0-5km courses during the year. Many of our members have joined after completing these courses.

Once you can run without stopping for 3 to 4km, you could start doing the free local 5km Rushmoor park run on Saturday mornings. The times of all Blackwater Valley Runners are published on the park run club page, so you can see how your time compares to our members.

Q: When should I join a running club?

A: Once you have mastered about a mile without stopping you should learn how to warmup and stretch properly. It is a good idea to learn how to do this at your local running club; Blackwater Valley Runners always have a group warm up session before running. Tips can be picked up about your running style, and training ideas to get the best out of your aims.

Q: How do I know I am running at the right pace?

A: Can you talk when you run? Always start off by running at a comfortable pace. To check your levels try chatting to a running partner. You should be able to speak without gasping or feeling out of breath. If you can’t, then slow down.

Q: When can I run my first race?

A: Train 3 times a week and once up to 3/4 of the distance in your planned race (i.e. if you plan to do a 10k train one day a week up to 7.5k) the other two runs can be shorter hill runs or fast pace interval runs.

Q: What should I be eating before a run?

A: Don’t run on an empty stomach. Many beginners (and some experienced!) runners skip meals to lose weight or avoid feeling bloated. But your body needs fuel to run. You’ll soon find you run out of energy and have nothing in the tank. As a rule eat 200-300 calories about an hour before your run. On the other hand, don’t over-do it! And pick your choice of food with care – slow release carbs are great (cereals, pasta, grains etc) and, of course, make sure you are fully hydrated. Avoid sugary, fatty foods.

Q: Should I eat while I run?

A: Drink on the run. Keeping hydrated is critical. It means taking in about half a pint of fluid every 15-20 minutes of running. On longer runs you’ll want to think about restoring energy levels – you can buy sports gels that work perfectly for this or just carry a packet of jelly babies with you!

Q: What if I am not good enough to keep up?

Blackwater Valley Runners have a team of experienced runners to help you learn how to run, teach you the local routes, training tips, useful information about local competitive runs. We will always try to help each other out, as we work as a team. We run in groups – we don’t race around routes trying to be the first to finish, and we never leave anybody behind on a run.

Q: When do Blackwater Valley Runners run?

A: See the Home page.