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.” ~ Club Secretary

What to expect

We meet in Aldershot Cricket Club at 6.50pm on a Wednesday night. Please come right in and introduce yourself to the members sat on the door taking down names. They will help you find out where you need to be, and direct you to the people best to help you start out at BVR.

Do take a look at our Facebook page before you turn up, as occasionally we have ‘away runs’ and the numbers meeting at the club on those evenings will be very low.

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 and how far you run. Doing Rushmoor parkrun which is a free local 5Km 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 your lead runner. At 7.05pm there will be some “Announcements” about things the club and members are doing. Then we split into run groups based on pace and distance – usually about 6 groups.

The beginner’s group (white group) is aimed at runners who can walk/jog 3-4 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. Our philosophy is that no one gets left behind, and everyone can run at their own pace. You may find some of the slightly faster runners do loops forward and back to the group. Don’t panic, this is just the way we make sure everyone gets to run at the right pace for them!

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. Plan 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.

You can start running with the help of an app or podcast such as that produced by the NHS – More details on the NHS Choices Livewell website.

If you prefer a structured group activity rather than by yourself, several of our members put on 0-5km courses during the year including CanDo Running, Ready to Run Surrey and Hampshire . Many of our members have joined after completing these courses. You can find local beginners groups through the RunTogether website.

Once you can run without stopping for 3km, 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 warm up properly. It is a good idea to learn how to do this at your local running club; Blackwater Valley Runners have a group warm up session before the Tuesday speedwork sessions, and stretches afterwards. 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.

“Can you say “Call an ambulance?” If not you need to slow down.” ~ Deb, Run Leader

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.