I'm a planner; I like to have a good solid plan when I do something. This can make doing something new seem daunting and kind of scary, because I don't know what to expect. I felt this way the first time I ran with the Salt Lake City Galloway Training Program in the spring of 2010. I didn't know anyone else who was going to be there, and I was going by myself. I was worried that nobody else would run as slow as me, and I would end up running by myself. As it turned out, there were people there faster than me, slower than me and the same speed. Even though I didn't know anyone on the first day, over the weeks, months and years I made many lifelong friends. If you are like me, and are apprehensive about taking the step to come and join our group, then this post is for you.
Before you leave home make sure that you are dressed to run and have extra layers if it is a cold day. Leave yourself some extra time to get to the location of the run in case of wrong turns and so you don't have extra stress.
Usually we meet at a park or similar location, and when you arrive chances are you will see an expanding group of people standing in the parking lot chatting. There is usually a few minutes available before the running starts for everyone to catch up or get acquainted. This next part was the hardest for me - getting out of my car and approaching the group. I think that my parents may have over done it on the "stranger danger" lessons so I have a hard time going up and talking to people I don't know, but don't worry, as you approach the group it is highly likely that more than one person will greet you with a smile and welcome you.
When the clock indicates it is time to start I'll take a few minutes for any announcements and to go over the running plan for the day. I'll also ask everyone to introduce themselves. After that we'll get started with a warm up.
The warm up will be 5 minutes of walking followed by approximately 5 minutes of 15/15 acceleration gliders, basically 15 seconds of slow jogging speeding up toward a run followed by 15 seconds of walking.
For the first few weeks of training this warm up will start to separate everyone into approximate pace groups and you will fall in with one of the pace group leaders. Depending on your speed you will run at different run/walk ratios. Each pace group leader will have a timer that will beep to indicate that it is time to switch from running to walking and back again. The pace you go should be comfortable and not strenuous. Once we get into the training a few weeks we will have a week where everyone runs a "magic mile" to get more formalized pace groups set.
During the run expect to chat with other people of the same speed and ask the pace group leader any questions you may have. After we are done running you can also ask me about anything regarding the training. Some weeks we will have a breakfast (which is optional) on the schedule, but if you are really wanting to grab something mention it to the group and you will likely have some takers for sitting down to chat after the run.