Middle Distance Training Options

Herne Hill Harriers; middle distance pathways for young athletes through to seniors.

Why?

We believe articulating a clear pathway and potential options to best fit needs, especially for parents and younger athletes, will:

  • Help our athletes to fulfil their potential.
  • Provide clear information to athletes and parents.
  • Assist in the recruitment of new athletes.
  • Assist in the retention and sense of belonging within the club.
  • Enable our athletes to transition between groups, consistent with our ethos that the primary driver should be a programme to best fit each individual athlete.

Every coach-athlete relationship should be a two-way mutual and respectful agreement.

In addition to providing information for entry level to athletics within this framework, we also recognise that in some circumstances a coach-athlete relationship cannot be sustained because one party’s expectations are not being or cannot be met – hence we also outline progression routes for existing athletes.

If this mid-distance progression pathway plan is well accepted, we intend to use it as a template to bring parallel understanding and structure within our other athletic disciplines. The club wishes to openly assist athletes, and young athletes’ parents, to understand what provision the club has which best suits their immediate needs and athletic aspirations. This applies to both newcomer and existing members.

What can the Club provide?

We cater for athletes from U11 to through to over 80s.  Although our primary focus is on competitive athletics, we recognise that athletes can commit different amounts of time to their training.  We seek to cater for this breadth of interest but encourage all Club members to race regularly for the Club in the highly respected club colours of red and black hoops.

Our coaches, all of whom are qualified England Athletics coaches, through their own competitive backgrounds in athletes and/or significant coaching experience provide their time on a voluntary basis to help athletes achieve their full potential.  We do not charge athletes for the coaching they receive.  The club’s annual subscriptions cover running costs e.g. entries for championship races etc. However, athletes do pay for use of Tooting athletics track, which is where we are based and is owned by Wandsworth Council (we do have a concession arrangement for regular users with the track’s management organisation.)

Our athletes accept and enjoy the company of others and we recognise that as athletes transition through their teenage years they will normally seek companionship with peers and groups who may be faced with similar challenges e.g. exam pressures and other external factors or perhaps seek a different environment for training.  They may also be looking to older athletes for reassurance and support to help their transition in continuing their interest in athletics. We encourage contact with our young senior athletes, who have been through what they are undergoing and have been through teenage transition and, yet, have stayed in the sport to go on to compete and enjoy senior athletes.

What do we expect of our athletes?

Athletics appears to be an individual sport but is highly interdependent on individuals to be part of teams, for athletes to interact and socialise within a team element, helping the development and respectful interaction with all.  Through our coaches and team managers, we make athletes aware of the range of competitive options and encourage our athletes to contest the major championships for the Club where we have enjoyed very significant success over the last decade, at National, regional and county level across all the age groups.

Our coaches commit a significant amount of time to supporting our athletes.  In return, we expect our athletes (or the parents of younger athletes) to be open and honest about their aspirations and thoughts around club representation, training and racing.

If athletes are looking to move between training groups, it is very important (for them or their parents) to be open and clear with their existing and proposed coach. The athlete is at liberty to change coaches, as is the coach to agree to train an athlete or not. In order to avoid any misunderstanding or friction between coaching groups it is important to be open about intended changes of coaching. Our intent as a club is wanting to ensure there are known options to consider and there is a smooth pathway for those who are looking to progress, or to adjust training for any other reason to suit the athlete.

Groups

The following information is provided regarding training choices, and particularly clarifies options regarding the progression of an athlete due to their age and/or racing goals.

We have four groups that cater for middle and long distance athletes. The following indicative information summarises the focus of each and does not preclude an athlete staying with a coach beyond the normal stated age range if they chose to do so. All coaching group cater for both male and female athletes:

1              Predominantly Young Athletes focus:

1 A. Coach: James McDonald

Focus of group: Middle distance, track, road and cross country.

Location of group: Streatham Common in winter, Tooting Track/Bec in summer with trips to other venues e.g. Camber Sands.

Size of group: >30

Age groups catered for: predominantly U11 to U15, but with scope to cater for U17 and U20.

Training days: Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday, plus other sessions at certain times of year.

1 B. Coach: Wayne Vinton (supported by Paul Collis)

Focus of group: Middle distance, track, road and cross country.

Location of group: Wimbledon and Kingston areas.

Size of group: <20 (individual schedules are provided to athletes as required)

Age groups catered for: U15 to U20

Training days: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday plus other sessions at certain times of year.

2              Predominantly Senior Athlete focus:

2 A. Coach: Geoff Jerwood (supported by Keith Newton)

Focus of group: Middle and long distance, track, road and cross country (sub 19mins 5km as a guide to performance level).

Location of group: Tooting Bec Common and track plus Streatham Common.

Size of group: 20-30 (individual schedules can be provided for athletes)

Age groups catered for: Mainly senior but with scope to accommodate ‘competitive’ athletes of age 16 upwards

Training days: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday.

2.B Coach: Steve Knight (supported by Glen Keegan)

Focus of group: Middle and long distance, track, road and cross country (19mins plus for 5km as a guide to level).

Location of group:  Tooting Bec track plus Streatham Common.

Size of group: 40-50

Age groups catered for: Mainly seniors but also caters for younger athletes who are less able to commit to regular sessions. Nominally, entry level ages from 16 year olds would be accepted within this group (because it covers a large range of abilities.) This group also caters for slower veteran categories. Training is usually post work 18:50 hrs onwards.

Training days: Tuesday and Thursday.