Run Leader Guide

Guidance for Run Leaders

In order to keep having different pace groups we need people to volunteer to lead runs - this can seem daunting so the committee has put together some guidelines to help you

Planning to lead a run

  • You do not have to be a coach or have a run leader qualification in order to lead a run
  • You are not legally responsible for any runner in the group
  • Lead a group that runs at a pace you are comfortable running at, perhaps consider dropping back a pace group from the one you would normally run with
  • Runs are for an hour at the specified pace, but don’t be too worried if you end up being a bit shorter or longer
  • If you are leading the run/walk group, seek guidance from the coaching team first to ensure that you are able to lead the group with a suitable structure ie: 1 minute run, 1 minute walk
  • If you’re worried about having a route there are a few sites you can use to plan one:
  • Don’t be afraid to ask others if they have ideas about a route
  • Consider having your route written down to take with you in case you want to refer to it. Some GPS watches will also allow you to add a course and navigate
  • Don’t worry about getting lost, you can always retrace your steps, and more often than not someone else in the group will know how to get to a familiar place
  • You should plan to carry a mobile phone with when leading a run, make sure it is charged

Before you run

  • Before you set off, take your group to one side
  • Count the number of runners you have in your group
  • Introduce yourself so that everyone running knows your name
  • Ask the names of any people in the group you don’t know – if anyone says that they are not a member please let a committee member know post run – we allow non-members to take part in session prior to committing to the club but need to know so that we can chat to them – even better, if you have time please introduce them to a committee member
  • Ask that if anyone decides mid-run that they are going to drop out, that they let you know
  • Double check if there is anyone within the group stepping up the pace for the first time
  • Ask if everyone has ICE details on them, if not, encourage for future
  • If you have a large group, ask someone to be the tail runner. They will remain at the back of the group to ensure nobody is left behind and can shout forward to you if the pace needs adjusting or a loop back is needed
  • Try to do encourage a brief warm up before setting off. This could be as simple as jogging on the spot whilst you count everyone and make introductions, or taking a gentler pace for the first few minutes of the run

During your run

  • Ideally, try to keep everyone running as a group
  • Call back to the group every couple of miles to check everyone is comfortable at the pace, adjust if necessary
  • If you find the group is starting to split, you can call to your front runners and ask them to loop back. This would mean they run back towards the rest of the group, past the back runners for a little way and then turn to start running back to re-join at the back of the group. You can do this as many times as necessary over the course of the run
  • Try and keep your pace as even as possible and close to your target pace during the run – if you run significantly faster than your ‘advertised pace’ you may find that some of your group struggle to keep up.
  • We run a lot on pavements and footpaths with shared usage. We don’t have right of way and need to be respectful of others. Be prepared to call out any hazards you encounter on your route, this could include:
    • Bikes – should include an instruction to your runners to keep left or right as appropriate
    • Other pedestrians, particularly if the pathway is narrow and you need runners to move to left/right/single file in order to pass safely and courteously
    • Bollards!
  • Re-count your group every couple of miles to ensure you still have everyone you started with
  • Be mindful of road crossings, ask all the group to wait at busy junctions especially so you can ensure all cross safely

After your run

  • Count your group back in to make sure you have returned with everyone
  • Encourage the group to stretch before they drive home

In case of emergency on your run

  • If assistance is needed from any of the emergency services, call 999 as soon as you can safely do so
  • If a runner is hurt or has been taken ill, check to see if they are carrying an ICE tag with medical information and next of kin contact details
  • Utilise the rest of the group to either assist with the situation or find help if needed
  • If the group is large and there are more people than is ideal around the incident, ask if someone is happy to lead the group back to the sports centre
  • When the situation is in hand, try to make contact with someone from the committee so they are informed contact email addresses are available on the website

Running When it is Dark

  • Ensure that you have a torch or running light and some hi-visibility clothing when running in the dark
  • If anyone planning to run with your group appears to not have suitable hi-viz or a torch, they either need to obtain some (perhaps another runner has spares) or should be discouraged from joining the run that night
  • Take care where possible to plan routes that are suitably lit
  • If running on paths where the lighting is not ideal, make use of your torches to help spot and call out hazards to the group

Tail Running

Where possible the club is trying to place tail runners with the different pace groups. As tail runner, your role is to:

  • Remain at the back of the group with the last runner, this ensures that nobody is left behind
  • If the main group is pulling away from you, call forward to the run leader and ask if they can loop back
  • Make sure you call forward to the run leader if you encounter any difficulty they need to be made aware of
  • Tail runners should also make sure they also have suitable hi-viz and lights when running in conditions that require them
  • As with run leading, you should only tail run at a pace that is very comfortable for you