Slowest runner at club so should I leave?

I joined a new club on moving country in April and they have been really friendly and welcoming but recently with intervals moved to the track and long runs to out in the country (and lots of people on holiday) I am always the slowest runner by quite a bit. At the track sessions everyone runs together so I actually end up getting the least recovery as the fast runners are seriously fast. On the long runs someone has to stay with me so I don't get lost and they always insist they don't mind but I feel terrible. Depending on the terrain (road, gravel, forest trail) my usual long run pace is between 5:30-5:50 min/km (8:51-9:23) but most people are going at around 5 min/km (8:03) or faster. At shorter distances I become progressively slower - my 10k PB is less than twice my 5k PB. I do 800m intervals at about 3:41 mins.

I got really demoralised yesterday and thought I should leave the club but I really like the people and want to improve. However, I have two half marathons coming up (desperate to get under 2 hours) and am injury prone (missed two halfs last year through injury) so scared to push the speed work particularly. Also think I am a bit anaemic again so have started the iron tablets but don't feel on top form.

Opinions welcome on whether it would do me good to stay with the club as motivation or whether I should just continue on my own. 


  • If everyone one who was the slowest runner quit there'd be no one left.

  • Aimingorfaster, I can quite relate to your problem. I know what it's like to be slow which is partly why I don't run with a club. So you're much braver than me already.

    Firstly, your times are far from slow. Secondly, dont let other people impact your decision to run with a club. Thirdly, have you looked at any other clubs, maybe ones that are not so competitive and have wide range of runners? Ive tried running

    With few clubs and although I run slower than you there have always been people slower than me.
  • It seems to be a different club culture here (Sweden) and also as my language skills are quite poor at the moment it is hard to search on the internet. A coach has been hired for the interval sessions for the next few weeks so I thought I would try one more and see if he perhaps splits us into groups or something which would mean I was not so far behind.

    As I say the people are absolutely lovely so mainly want to stay because of how welcoming and kind they have been. 

  • If the people are nice then stay.  It'd surely be better to be the slowest member of a club where people are supportive than one where you're not the slowest but the other members are idiots?

  • Exactly! And think of it this way; once you improve so that you no longer are te last in the group, what an achievement and joy will that be!!!
  • As is often said on here, someone always has to be last. They clearly are being friendly, and not wanting you to leave, so stick with it.

  • Fido2DogsFido2Dogs ✭✭✭

    I can understand how you feel, being about the same speed (actually a bit slower I suspect) and having once ended up trying to keep up with a group at my club where everyone was about a minute a mile faster than me.

    Well you can look up local race results on the internet to see if there's a nearby club with a bigger group of people your pace. You can also talk it over with someone at your club (the people who runs with you may actually enjoy the excuse for a gentler run than usual). And/or you could see if you could start a beginners' group at your club or otherwise recruit more folk (particularly of about your own pace, eh?).


    At least you've got a nice club which is a big plus image

  • Your pace is not bad and I would think would get you an under 2 hour HM.  For lots of runners that time is a good target to duck under.  In any race unless you think you are going to win it, there is only one person you run for and against, You.  There is no first without the rest of the field.

  • E mmyE mmy ✭✭✭

    I'm very jealous! I wish my times were like that! I can relate to you about not wanting to make them feel bad but you've got a lovely friendly club it sounds like. Maybe you could even encourage slower runners in your local area to join the club?

  • Can you ask if intervals be changed so that they are time based not distance based so everyone gets the same rest. It's what we do at our club.

    We do a great pyramid session where you run one way for say 2 mins, stop, 1 min rest and then turn round and run back for 2 mins.

    You should all finish together crossing the line. Then goes up to 3 mins, 4 mins, then down the other side of the pyramid.
  • MuttleyMuttley ✭✭✭

    We used to do this session at our track. We pair up and gather at the middle of the straight. Number 1 then sets off as fast as possible to run the bend and to the halfway point of the other straight. Number 2 meanwhile jogs or ambles across the central bit and when they meet up they change places.

    So the faster your oppo, the less rest you get. From the sound of it, you'll be in huge demand as a partner for this one image

  • your times are absolutely fine...

  • If I liked the people at the club I think I would stay. As has been said before there always has to be someone who is the slowest but that doesnt mean its always going to be you. As time goes by you wll hopefully improve, you will feel more comfortable at the club nights and you will still be aroung great people.

    Staying at the club will also have the benefit of helping you learn swedish, if only you can get passed the swedes trying to improve their language always replying in english. If you do decide to change clubs and want some help looking feel free to get in touch

  • yep, as muttley says, there are plenty of ways of doing speedwork without individual pace being an issue...this will be more fun for everyone in the club, not just you...with  a bit of work, it would also be possible to arrange a club handicap over, say, 5k, the case of my club, this produces extraordinary sights such as this weekend's sprint finish between a 70-year old bloke and a 19-year odl girl (he held her off -- just!)...and if the people like you, and you like them, then i would stick around...

  • Thanks everyone for your thoughts. I am going to give another few sessions a go and see how I do. It will be interesting to see if the new coach at the interval training changes the setup. Although I was the slowest at the interval session I did the whole session whereas a couple of people who were faster than me skipped out of a couple of intervals. I might be slow but I can keep going!

  • Your training pace is similar to mine and I did a (quite hilly) half marathon in May in 1:56, so I'm sure you'll have no problem doing under 2 hours. Stay in the club as you like the people.

  • compo 1compo 1 ✭✭✭

    keep   going    you will improve     it does not matter if you are fast or slow   main thing is you are a runner  and keeping fit

  • Stevie  GStevie G ✭✭✭

    Aiming, i came on this thread expecting to read you were running 12 or 13min miles or something. At around the 9min mark you're quite unlucky to be at the back.

    You'll probably find that the people who run with you on the long runs, don't mind keeping you company. As the range for "easy pace" running is quite wide, someone who runs 8.30 normally can easily run 9 to incorporate you.

    The track sessions sound badly organised though. My local club used to do them like that....the fastest guys would get way more recovery than the slowest.

    You either need everyone to do their own 800s at their own pace, and fixed recovery of say 2mins

    or you need to do it on time, so everyone finishes at the same point, and you all share you recovery.

    To have everyone doing their rep, and then waiting for the slowest person is a nonsense, and could mean the fastest end up with say 4min recovery in between a rep, and the slowest a mere 1min for eg

  • The way my club organises intervals is for a few people to load a pre-arranged session into their Garmins, and we all set off at once. We run for the interval then turn round and jog back the way for the recovery, and that way the slower people constantly get scooped back up into the group and don't get left behind. Then when the next interval starts, the faster ones can be a couple of hundred yards behind the slower ones to begin with. The folk with the programmed Garmins are fairly well spread out, shouting the instructions to everyone else. Often I'm by far the slowest and so far behind I can barely hear the shouts of 'Whoa!' Then they all come trotting back past me (and for some of them, their trot is nippier than my 'fast' pace, LOL!) while I'm still heading forwards. Works great!

    And I'm running 8:30-8:45 miles btw. Some of the folk at my club are scarily fast...

  • I would say they were quick you are not slow.

    I think people who run regularly appreciate this, I wouldnt worry about it, I dont and I am usually at the back too! 

  • WJHWJH ✭✭✭

    Definately don't quit! You shouldn't worry about being the slowest (or fastest really!). For example, my girlfriend has done a couple of park runs...isn't a regular runner by any means and has finished close to last place both times close to 40 minutes or just below...but she enjoys it! Don't put yourself down and keep persevering and your times may improve! On the flip side, you are talking about running these long distances - not everyone can do these so think of it that way too!

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