Hurray for my little Couch to 5k group who graduated yesterday evening (Thurs).  Seven of us ran a measured 5k from Partners, down Green Road, back along the coast road to Green Island, up Rue de Samares and back along La Blinerie.  The bubbly was already flowing when I arrived with the back-markers and a pleasant evening ensued. 

Joanna, Eleanor, Emma, Wendy, Kellyann and Zia got their pass certificates.  Jean-Marie has a calf tweak and will hopefully do his run over the weekend.  Elena and Barbara had unfortunate non-running accidents which prevented them from completing the programme.  Louise and Christopher are out of the Island.  I only failed with Sarah – I count that as my failure not hers.  Hopefully we’ll get to try again sometime. 

It was very interesting to see how the group developed over the nine weeks.  At first there was a certain hesitancy and self-doubt.  I had to work to keep the group together lest the slower ones hare after the stronger, fitter ones.  The whole essence of this programme is to work very slowly without regard to speed.  But in the final weeks everyone seemed to relax and found their own pace and rhythm.  All I needed to do was set the session and provide a little encouragement.  I’ll be very happy if a few of the group now become regular runners. 

I always maintain that I myself learn something new every time I coach – this goes for both track & field and road.  But to learn you need to observe and listen, and also watch how other coaches approach things.  It’s no use repeating the same patterns year after year, unless of course you’re having spectacular success.  Certainly I learnt a lot by working with this nice group. 

(I still wonder, with a certain sadness, what happened with my group in Waterford which I had to abandon midway through the programme .)

Next week I attend Day 1 of a 2-day ‘trainer skills’ course at Highlands College.  Assuming I’m not discarded as rubbish then we’ll talk about setting up a similar course or courses for the public, probably starting after Christmas.