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Speed Up, Cool Down, and Stretch

Fartlek Efforts

Every time someone says ‘fartlek’

This week, head coach Kevin Joynes-Creed, invited runners to complete a Fartlek session to challenge the body with various speeds. Runners needed to use their surroundings, picking landmarks to run at speed to. Well done to everyone who completed the session this week, particularly if you went out in the rain on our normal Wednesday club session night!

It’s not too late to complete the session if you fancy some fartlek-ing! Click the link left for more information on fartleks, what the session entailed and the benefits of the session.

There are only 3 Wednesdays left in February! – Why not challenge yourself to complete every effort session for the rest of the month? You could reward yourself with some pancakes at the end!


With club sessions on hold, it’s very easy to miss a very important part of running, the post-run stretch. Most of us are guilty of skipping a stretch or getting too distracted when we first get home from a run, and without the coaches watching or reminding us, it’s very easy to forget the importance. Not only does stretching help a runner avoid injury, it also helps to improve flexibility and cool down gradually. So what stretches are best?

Here are the stretches our RSE coaches lead us through after a club session:

With legs apart, try to touch the floor
Stretch down to your left foot, and then your right foot
With 1 leg straight in front and a straight back, sit slightly on the other leg. After 10s, reach down and try to touch the toes. Switch legs.
Front leg bent, straight back leg. Switch legs.
Side lunge to the left and right
Standing on 1 leg, hold your other ankle (it’s okay to use a wall for balance)
Raise one arm over your head and lean to the side. Switch sides.
Hold your arm across your chest to stretch your shoulder. Switch arms.
Hold one arm up and place your hand in the centre of your back. With the other hand, hold your elbow.
Both arms up at a right angle and then push them back. Ease off, then repeat

Each stretch should last around 8-12 seconds and should be done after running.

If you would like more information on the benefits of each individual stretch, or are unsure on a pose, just contact a member of the coaching team.

Club Weekly Totals

*According to Strava, 07.02.2021 at 5pm

That’s more than last week! Fantastic work team RSE!

Club Update January 2021 – Running into the New Year!

With most races postponed for nearly a year, club members have found new and inventive ways to keep themselves motivated and running, setting themselves challenges to get through the lockdown and a very cold winter.

Steve Edwards – “The Godfather of Running”

Inspiring club members this week was a talk from Steve Edwards, the world record holder for 900 official marathons completed in sub 3hours 30 minutes. Over 25 club members joined the talk, in which Steve put his achievements down to “Discipline, dedication, desire and determination” and a lot of hard work! Steve gave tips on fuelling, training plans and tackling injuries, encouraging runners to find a routine (including strength work), love hills, and have rest days.

“Thoughts to Remember – The comfort zone is a wonderful place to be, but to achieve great things we need to step out into the unknown and embrace uncertainty, the doubts and the knockback, only then will we truly know what amazing feats we are capable of!”

RSE members raised money for a charity chosen by Steve, Kate’s Home Nursing, who offer palliative care to patients in Gloucestershire and West Oxfordshire.

Thanks go to Linda Edwards for organising this fascinating talk.

The Distance, the Mud and the Speedwork

January has seen heavy rain and snowfall, so it would have been tempting to hibernate rather than go for a long run! But RSE runners have not shied away from the cold, instead setting goals to complete high mileage during the month.

Club Chair, Pauline Tilbury, joined a Strava challenge, to help keep focus during the month. Strava challenges are an excellent tool for virtual inspiration, often with a leader board, and a notification ‘crown’ when you’ve completed them.

I do usually run at least 100 miles in a month but I thought January may be difficult due to lockdown, dark evenings, bad weather and going back to full time work, so clicking on the Strava challenge just kept me focussed on getting out there and doing the miles a few times a week

Pauline Tilbury

Another club member to use Strava as incentive was Caroline Terry, who exceeded her challenge for 100 miles in the month by quite some way – 111.5 miles for the month! Here are some stunning countryside shots from Caroline’s runs:

Elaine Chapman also set herself a distance goal on Strava, this time with a goal of 200km. Elaine ran over 250km this month – if my calculations are correct, Elaine bettered her target by over 25%!

No stranger to virtual races is Elliot Gardner, who chose DB Max’s iRun Virtual Challenge for January. The race goal was to run over 50 miles or 15 runs to earn a medal – Elliot selected the 50 mile option and smashed his target by running even further.

I used it as another motivator to get out on a run 2-3 times a week in this miserable weather and also to complete some longer runs at the weekends. Final total was 52.58 miles.

Elliot Gardener

Running goals come in all shapes and forms, so it wasn’t just distance that RSE club members aimed for in January. While some runners planned for speed or new routes, others overcame barriers to return to running after a period away. A massive well done to everyone who set themselves a goal that they completed!

After suffering an Achilles injury in 2020, Amanda Ball set a goal to complete the RSE coach’s effort session – a tough 10 minute tempo run with 6 sets of 2 minute intervals, set by coach Nadine Brown.

I felt a sense of accomplishment in getting out and doing Nadine’s efforts for my first bit of speed work in quite some time. Having spoken to physio I decided to test out how much ‘loading’ my Achilles can handle, it’s almost a year since it was first injured. I had to remind myself how to programme intervals into my App too. I was pleased for the company of my watch commands as I was running solo – I much prefer to run with RSE buddies!

Amanda Ball

Club member, Mark Manley, known for his penchant for long runs had to put a halt to his marathon streak in 2020. In the absence of races, Mark ran a half marathon every day for the last week, totalling 101m for the week! That’s a lot of miles!

If the nickname “Shouty Dave” is mentioned, most club members seasoned in DB Max races know who the reference is to. If you haven’t seen him in a race, you’ve more than likely heard him… Completing the Shouty Dave Virtual 10k were Caroline and Kevin Joynes-Creed – lovely to see some photos of RSE race vests!

The virtual race raised money for Wiltshire Air Ambulance, a charity close to Dave’s family and one they would usually race money for through the Royal Wootton Basset Triathlon.

Kevin and Caroline finished the race in 1 hour 6 mins and 20 seconds.

It was very cold, muddy and wet and I fell in the mud coming out of Haresbush. It was also flooded by the outdoor pool so did the last 4K with soggy feet!

Caroline Joynes-Creed

Club Teamwork

*Weekly club totals according to Strava, as of 5pm on 31/01/2021!

Motivation and Mantras – Running in 2021

Challenging Yourself in 2021

At the start of 2021, we asked club members on Facebook what their running goals were for the upcoming year. After 2020 put a stop to races and normal running schedules, a lot of runners have had to re-assess how they motivate themselves to continue running – we’ve all had our ups and downs when it comes to battling weather or injury!

65% of respondents want to run just for the love of it!

Here is how the respondents voted on Facebook:

Under ‘Other’, club members mentioned running injury free and getting back to the sport after a long period of time.

In a time when a lot of people are spending their days at home, it’s important to find that drive to exercise, whether that’s a walk in the fresh air or breaking some running PB’s. Would you choose one of the above options? Or have you set yourself another running challenger? And nearly a month in to 2021, are you maintaining your goal?

Let RSE know how it’s going, we would love to hear from you! You could comment below this blog, send a message on WhatsApp or post on Facebook.

Coaches Tips of the Week

Use a mantra while running to help you think positively – mine is “Keep your head up, keep your heart strong”, inspired by a Ben Howard song my girlfriend always plays. Not only does it remind me to use good posture, but also to keep going when running feels tough.

Coach and Club Captain Dave Witnall

I saw this earlier in the week and really liked it – If you’re finding your run hard, it’s because you’re making it hard. You set the pace, you set the intensity, you are the one in control. It’s your run – you decide how you want it to feel.

Head Coach Kevin Joynes-Creed
Snow day runs are the best! Did you run in the snow today?

If you’ve completed a goal or personal challenge, however big or small, contact Ellie Taylor (me) via WhatsApp, as I’d love to feature you in the club news report.

The Virtual Fairford 10k – Run it Somewhere Else

As with many races, it was with a heavy heart that the annual race organised by Running Somewhere Else, Fairford 10k, was postponed for 2020. To end the year on a positive however, race director, Pauline Tilbury, announced the first ever Virtual Fairford 10k – Run it Somewhere Else!

There was a fantastic response to the race, with over 140 entries including 30 RSE club members. Throughout December, members took to the streets, footpaths and trails, running in small groups (when allowed) along the normal Fairford 10k route, others running laps around their house. Being December, club members ran through all weathers – well done to Sarah R., Sharon and Liz who ran in a downpour (familiar after their Virtual London marathon feats!) and to Rachel B., who chose to run in the snow! (The photos looked fantastic!).

My last virtual race of the year – took a wrong turn twice on route so had to slow down and ask for directions! Thanks to Steve for organising the run on the normal Fairford 10k route. We even had a mince pie at the finish as it’s Christmas!

Elliot Gardiner
Steve Sandercock and Elliot Gardiner

Team RSE did not disappoint in podium places, with club members taking 1st and 2nd in the men’s category, and 1st, 2nd and 3rd in the women’s! A fantastic performance by Rosie Oates saw her take minutes off her time to secure a PB.

I headed out to my nearest RSE route on a bit of a mission to push for one last chance to have a race in 2020, regardless of being virtual! I am so pleased with the results and still can’t really believe I’ve ran a 10k in that time!

Rosie Oates

Other club members used the virtual race as a good incentive to get back into running or racing – a special congratulations to all runners who completed their first ever 10k and to those who ran in an RSE vest for the first time!

  • David Witnall  – 40.12 – 1st Overall/ 1st Male
  • Rosie Oates – 42.29 – 2nd Overall/ 1st Female – New PB!
  • Andy Masser – 44.54 – 3rd Overall/ 2nd Male
  • Eleanor Taylor – 47.51 – 2nd Female
  • Rachel Bodey – 49.15 – 3rd Female
  • Jo Wood – 52.01
  • Sarah Reynolds – 52.17
  • Sarah Page – 52.33
  • Elliot Gardiner – 52.44
  • Martin Pitts – 53.54
  • Vicki Mason – 54.4
  • Liz Farooq – 57.01
  • Sharon  Smith – 57.01
  • Cheri Edwards – 57.35
  • Zan Futter – 57.36
  • Anne Gardiner – 57.51
  • Kirsty Pitts – 58.13    
  • Janet Daniels – 58.56
  • Martin Sherriff – 59.01
  • Andy Sworn – 59.06
  • Taryn Hancock – 59.08
  • Gareth Roberts – 59.25
  • Becca Wilson – 1.02.00
  • Jenny Hoffmann – 1.02.00
  • Teresa Hazelwood – 1.03.27
  • Kevin Joynes-Creed – 1.03.30
  • Caroline Joynes-Creed – 1.03.30
  • Pauline Tilbury – 1.03.37
  • Amanda Ball – 1.05.00
  • Felicity Crotty – 1.09.10
  • Nadine Brown – 1:11:00 – helping a friend complete their first ever 10k!
  • Caroline Terry – 1.21.00