My experience of doing the Leadership In Run Fitness course

Waking up early on a Saturday morning did not feel that bad, as I was going to do something that I wanted to do. In the end, it turned out to be better than I had expected. The reason I signed up for the course was so that I could start a running group again. But, this time start it after gaining an official qualification.

When I entered the sports facilities, I was happy to see around fifteen chairs had been put out. The reason I was happy was that a couple of nights before the course, I had checked the website and had read that only five people had signed up. One of those people would have been me and one Charlie my colleague from work. Although, I have forgotten the names of the two tutors they both were very welcoming and they both had a sense of humor.

The first exercise we had to do was to say what we expected to get from doing the course. We then had to write down why we wanted to do the course. We then picked up one of the bits of paper and tried to guess who in the room had written it. After a couple of minutes of the ice breaker, people started shouting out what was on the notes, and then hoped someone would respond. It was an exercise for the tutors to get to know us and we realized we were all there for the same reason.

Most of the attendees were already a part of a running club and were there to get qualified so they could help out at their clubs. However, I was there as I wanted to help get local people to get into running. They gave us information on Run England and how we could go about starting a running group and useful tools like an app that can take payments.

We had a discussion about the role of a run leader. We then spoke about what it meant to be individual centered. To be an individual-centered run leader would mean putting the requirements of your participants first before yours. An example would be not using the session you are leading to get in your daily miles.

The role of a leader is to;

  • Organise and promote the group
  • Provide a safe environment at the right level for the participants
  • Encourage and maintain involvement in running and walking
  • Signpost runners to development opportunities
  • Provide a safe and fun environment
  • Be an individually centred leader having an awareness that you have a group of individuals

There was a brief talk on ADM which was very helpful.

Athlete Development Model

Fundamentals- Agility, Balance, Co-ordination

Foundation- Running, Jumping, Throwing

Event Group- Speed endurance, Wheelchair racing, jumping, throwing

Event Specialism- 5K, 10K, Half marathon, marathon

The pyramid of development is what athletes go through when training. It is not only young people who need to start with the fundamentals, but it could also be an adult who has not done any sport since childhood, individuals who have had serious illnesses or people returning from injury may need to go back to fundamentals stage.

The day was broken down into 9 sessions most of which were 50/50 theory and practical work, which was split between pre and post lunch.

Session 1 – Introduction

Session 2 – Identify planning structure and the components of a safe and fun session.

Session 3 – Warm up and organise a group

Session 4 – Practical session: Mobility and stretching

Session 5 – The FIT factors and energy systems performance

Session 6 – Practical session delivery

Session 7 – Goal setting and planning a series of sessions

Session 8 – Role of the leader in injury prevention

Session 9 – Personal development and where next

I would go through every session but 1. that would take 8 hours and 2. I cannot remember every little detail so what I’ll do is give a quick overview paying attention to my favourite parts which happen to be the practical bits.

Session 2




We had a discussion around the role of a run leader. We then went on to speak about what it meant to be individual-centered. Putting the needs of your participants before your needs would mean you were individual-centered. This means not using the sessions to log your weekly miles.

  • Organise
  • Instruct and Explain
  • Demonstrate

Session 3 (Practical)

The tutors demonstrated warmups and cooldowns, and we were shown various dynamic and static stretches. The tutors explained why it is a good idea to do a good warm up, and a good warmup should be progressive. We were then split into groups, and we took it in turns to lead a warm up and cool down. It was cold so it was nice to be getting active to warm up.

If you did not know the reasons behind warming up. It helps get muscles ready for the workout by increasing body temperature, it increases our heart rates, pumps blood around our target muscles and to potentially help reduce the risk of injury.

Session 6 – Practical session delivery

The best part of the day which was also the hardest and longest because you had to be involved in all sessions for other leaders to practice, which meant you had to do take part in 3 x 7-minute sessions. The instructor took us through various types of sessions which included:

  • Indian file
  • Loop back
  • Out and back
  • Relays or pairs running
  • Meet and retreat
  • Fixed point repetitions
  • Fartlek
  • Raid the goal (which was my session)

The tutors demonstrated the sessions they wanted us to do, we were split into groups and we were given session cards. We were given fifteen minutes to plan and deliver a mini session. This meant that in each group, we had to:

  • Set up the session (cones, etc)
  • Perform a warmup (which I did)
  • Perform the main session
  • Perform the cool down, stretches and feedback

Before we did our session, we had to participate in other sessions. All the sessions were fun, and it was good to provide others with feedback. My group went last which meant we could take what was good, and then avoid making the same mistakes.

In my session, I did a two-minute warm-up as that was the allotted time. In theory, we should have had the best main session as we had watched where other the groups went wrong. I believe we had the worst session as we did not read the session rules and one of the teams then started cheating.

The overall feedback was good, and the tutor told us it was the hardest session as people often cheat and get overly competitive which is what eventually happened.

When we returned inside for the last couple of sessions, we learned how to write a six-week plan for runners. We also looked at some potential injuries and their factors. There was a session on goal setting and a session on progression after the LiRF course. The day was fun and I learned a lot in a short space of time. The day was interactive and I learn more when more. I would highly recommend doing the course if it is something you have been looking at it is not too intense and as long as you take notes you will be fine. What I learned from the day was to make sure you plan your sessions in advance, make sure you always put your group first, ensure you provide a safe but enjoyable environment.

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My next step will be to do the CiRF course


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