Confidence dip

I ended up having a little cry after the club run tonight which I know is pathetic.  It's just so soul destroying always being left behind... We go out for a 6-7mile 'steady' run once a week but I'm always the slowest and lose sight of everyone after the first couple of miles.  I had one of the coaches sticking with me until recently but now he's training for a marathon and I told him I don't won't to hold him back and I'm fine doing my own thing.  So now I find myself running along the A3 in complete darkness struggling to find motivation to keep going.  I try to stick to or just below 8min/mile which is what I should be doing for a tempo run according to mcmillan but the general idea in the club is to run as fast as you can and it's killing meimage.  I know in a long run it's probably for the best and will make me faster but at this stage I start wondering if I wouldn't be better doing my own thing... Do I stick with it and hope it gets easier or do I give up?  Or maybe I need to find myself another club which has more members at my average level? But then I really got attached to this one... not easy.


  • If it were me - I'd just run by myself if the club runs were upsetting me. Your pace sounds really good - most of my runs are slower than that. It does sound like the club are very competitive but running fast all the time isn't good.

    You are doing really well so do keep it up - maybe just do a few weeks by yourself and then go back ? Whatever you do - don't give up !
  • Tis is the sort of thread that makes me worried about joining a running club as I do average about 8 min miles...  or about 50min 10K pace which for me is a decent effort.

    I am not sure what others think but I would say find another club as their surely must be one with a greater range of runners so you could find one with a nice spread of paces so you could chose to go flat out or got at a comfortable pace or even at a slow pace and have a chat.

  • Sorry to be blunt but it sounds like a proper rubbish club.

    8 min miles as a steady run? for real?

    I train with runners capable of sub 3 marathons, and my tempo run pace is not much faster than 8 min miles. Fast runners dont need to run fast on every run and can and will drop to their recovery run pace to accompnay a slower runner going at "tempo" pace. A good club will pair up runners of similar capabilities to make sure no-one is ever left to straggle along on their own.

    Do they do other sessions on other days? you may find other steady runners at the club have been put off by these quicker runs and do a different session on a different night. If not - pack it in - you may as well be running alone but not being made to feel bad about it.

    BWT dont be put off - plucking up the courage to join a club was the best thing I've ever done running wise and has brought on my running, times and stamina no end... and it wasnt by slogging along alone at a pace I cant manage!

  • I must admit to being surprised that @ 8m/m you are stuck at the back running by yourself. Club I run with you'd be out at the front at that pace. We have runners of all abilities and everyone switches around during the runs so no one feels left out. With 4 leaders there is always someone to run with the slowest or weakest runner.

    Kicked-it is right though, not everyone in our club goes out together. There is the oldmans group and the silly fast runners group as well as us middling runners.

    Find a group who work the way you want.

    I have to admit that I'm very selfish when I run. I do struggle when running slowly and keep bumping into the runner in front. I hope I'm not guilty of upsetting anyone.

  • If you're really running 8m/m for 6-7 miles then you wouldn't be in the slowest group at our club. They shouldnt really be letting this happen to you.
  • It does sound like the club's got a pretty non-inclusive ethos. Mine work on the principle that the person setting the pace at the front should regulary do a 180 and run to the back marker, and then work there way back to the front again. That way you get a group of people who all finish at roughly the same time, but some have just run further than others.
  • Thanks for the encouragement guys... much needed.

    Cougie- giving up running is not an options.  I was only thinking about giving up on this session... You might be right.  Maybe I should do my own thing for a few weeks and then try to go back.  I run to/ from work a couple of times a week (8miles one way) so I could do this instead and try to run some of it at a quicker, tempo pace.  Maybe in a few weeks when it's nice and sunny and we start running in parks it won't be so painful to be left behind... I think the A3 in complete darkness did something to my head yesterday...

    BWT- I know I would probably be better off with a less competitive club but I've now trained with them for a few months, got through my first xc season and feel quite attached... They are a great bunch of people and it would feel like a betrayal if I just went somewhere else. I can't blame anyone for not sticking with me, I would not want to hold anyone back- it would be even worse than being left behind.  It's just a shame that there aren't more runners at my levelimage

    Kicked It- I know... they're just ridiculously fast... 8 min mile is my pace and I lose sight of everyone very quickly so they're all running much faster.  The only other session I can do with them is track as there are a few other runners like me or a lot slower but none of them even attempt the 'steady' run... for obvious reasons.  I can't do the long run with them either- I've tried once and they do just above 8min mile... I can't keep it up for 15-18 miles... so got left behind again and decided to draw the line there.  I want to be able to enjoy my long run and if I'm fighting for my life all they way and can't talk to anyone it's pointless...

    Biker mouse- I can totally understand being selfish... That's why I say that I don't want anyone to be held up by me and miss out on their session... I would hate it.  And I know I'm quite selfish myself when it comes to running.  The thing is- since I joined them I've improved loads so all this chasing seems to be working but not sure if my morale can take it for much longer...

    Maybe I should look into joining another club as well... it is allowed isn't it?  I would still compete for my first club but maybe could do a couple of sessions with runners at my own level.

  • Ian- they say on their website that all abilities are welcome but in practice it doesn't quite work this way...
  • I know you say you are attached to this club but why?  They sound very elitist!  OK, so they might be nice people but that doesnt mean its the right club for you.  Maybe just try out a few other clubs, you could easily become attached to another club that is more evenly/fairer paced.  You dont need to tell your current club unless you are transferring your membership.
  • Mon77,

    Cant believe what I read about your running club . Running is always surely about enjoyment and I think it is always a question of balance and mixing things up. Sure,tempo runs and speedwork are important if you want to quicken up your times but these should only be a part of your training. It does sound to me that your current club isnt providing you with that balance. When I first joined my club it took me a year or so to realise that I make the club work for me,in other words,some weeks I train with the "easier" gruops and some weeks with the more "intermediate" groups. And, as ever, there are always a few people who seem intent on proving themselves. Avoid those .

    I wish you well, stay strong and perhaps look at some other clubs!

    Good luck and keep smilng!


  • HTFU or find another running club. Crying over something like this reminds why Britain is a nation of weaklings. The other runners are not going at the pace they do just to spite you, so why should they slow down?
  • Intermanaut- fair point.  I realised that crying over something like this is pathetic which I admitted in my first post.  Just had a bad run and got a bit upset... don't we all feel sorry for ourselves sometimes? I also said that I don't expect anyone to slow down for me.  I'm not usually a weakling and by the way... I'm not British.  I had to be quite a tough cookie to get where I got in this country.image
  • Mon -  Why dont you start an informal group in your club of people who want to train a bit more slowly on the steady run night? Grab the suitable peeps at the track session and see if any are interested image

    There's nothing worse than trying to keep up and pushing your session outside its usefullness. This is one of the reasons I would never train with a club myself! 

  • Also are you based in London?
  • Curly- I am based in London.  I've tried to talk some of the slower guys to do a long run on Sunday or join us on the steady run but they're just not too keen... It seems like there's a bit of a gap and there aren't many people around my level.  They're either way faster or quite a lot slower and not prepared to go out for 15-20 mile long run which is what I'm now up to on Sundays.  I think I need to find a bigger pool of runners...image
  • You could pop along to some parkruns and make friends to find some image

    (or there are loads of other clubs around, including the Nike Town free one and some other more relaxed groups)

  • D2D- I find it hard to criticise the club... it's hardly their fault that the majority of the runners are very fast... I've probably made a bit of a mistake thinking that I can fit in... There are other clubs around and I'll definitely have a look around.  No point being with the club if I'm always running on my own anyway... Is it ok to be with more than one?  I'm not sure how this works.

    Curly- now that the xc season  is over I have a parkrun on my agendaimage

  • I'd be dead if my club did 8 minute miles!!! image You can run with me if you are near West London, I'm 10 minute miles so you can always be in the lead image The club I'm at splits into groups and I go in the bottom one but I'm not the slowest so I feel spurred on to try and move up a level.

    That's really good times and you should be proud of yourself. It's a shame you feel disheartened image

  • I think you need to have a word with the Chairman about this. Clubs should be providing safe runs for all club members and should not be leaving anybody to run on their own, particularly lone women after dark! If the Chairman is running near the front however, or if nobody tells him there’s a problem then he won’t necessarily realise that something is going wrong.

    I'm a club chairman, and I constantly have to remind the members not to leave people behind. They get into their zone and simply don't pay enough attention to what's going on around them, or they assume that if someone drops off they'll get picked up by the group behind, without checking how far back that group is or even if there is one! We started to find that a lot of the slower runners (and I’m talking 10 minute miles or more) were simply not coming any more. They’d turn up and find no-one to run with, and feel guilty when someone faster volunteered to run with them, so they’d stop coming which just made the situation even worse, as the less the slower runners came the less chance there was of finding someone to run with. I ended up instigating a mailing list specifically for the slower runners so that they could talk to each other and make arrangements with each other in advance as to who was coming, how far they were going to go and at what pace, and this has working really well, with several members saying that’s it really re-energised their running.

  • Mon77 I thought 8 min mile pace was a bit fast too! Well done you for trying to keep up. I think you are doing really well! There must be other clubs in London with a bigger range of groups. It's pointless staying with the same club if you have wildly different paces.
  • Bof TF- It does become a bit of a vicious circle as you say... the fewer slower runners the more difficult it becomes to find someone to run with and you end up giving up...

    Thanks everyone for the encouragement.  To be honest I've only experienced one club so I have nothing to compare it to and just assumed it's how things are done... Maybe should do some exploring.

  • We always invite new people who come along to run with us for a few weeks before deciding whether to join, as we know we won't suit everybody. Sometimes you just have to try a few clubs until you find the one that fits. Don't give up though - there will be a club that suits you out there.

  • Hi, this is the sort of thing that has put me off joining a club.  However I have been running in a series of park runs on Sunday and there are about 50 of us, and we really are a very diverse group.  We have a 16 minute 5km runner and 35 minute 5km runners and I cannot speak highly enough of the support and encouragement that we all give each other.  Believe me when I say that running 8min miles is far from slow!  Wished I could do that.  I have managed to knock off 2mins on my 5km times and I put this down to the encouragement of all the other runners.  I think you have just been a bit unlucky with your choice of club, good luck anyway and don't be put off!
  • I think it's sensible for there to be pace makers or leaders for each runners group, advanced and beginners, otherwise, like you said, what is the point? The organiser should arrange this better and should never be left on your own, no wonder you feel like crap! Hope it works out x
  • Big clubs could possibly organise specific groups, but the problem all clubs find is that to do it requires people willing to take on the role. And it's not just one person, as you need several for each group so that there is always at least one organiser for each group at each session. Sadly these people are often hard to find, especially in smaller clubs where you might only have a core of 20 or 30 people that actually show to every session with another 30 or 40 floaters who come along when it suits them. Quite often a lot of people seem to expect the club committee to just step up and do the role, but that's not really fair on them as it's not what they signed up for. 

    People are also very time-presured these days - they only have limited running time and so if they're training for something specific it can be very important to them that they can make the most of all sessions they do with the club. In these circumstances it not really fair to ask them to potentially compromise their run in order to manage a group of people. A lot also depends on the mix of people you have. As a small club we're lucky to have a really good mix of runners, both in age and ability, many of whom have known each other for a long time. This makes the social aspect of the club very strong which helps immensely. We organise all our speed sessions so that by running loops or laps everybody is running together and no-one can be left behind, but until recently we still had difficulty accomodating runners who wanted to run over 9:30 minutes per mile for our Thursday 7 mile runs.Thankfully however we seem to have found a solution that seems to be working.

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