Endurance training and racing for young athletes, seniors and veterans.

Who can join this group

In this group, the level of ability is not important but a positive attitude towards training and competition is expected. The group consists mainly of athletes in the under-15 age group and upwards and includes seniors and veterans. The younger athletes will have already had some background training, either via the club’s fundamentals and transition group system, in other athletics clubs, at school or via other suitable sporting disciplines.

Some athletes in the under-13 age group also work with us, often on a part-time basis. These will normally be in school-year 7, will have come through the club’s group system and generally will have already competed regularly for the club in cross country or in suitable distance events on the track. Some specialist endurance sessions might not be suitable for new athletes or younger members of the group, and in such cases, they would do general development and conditioning work instead.

There is a strong group ethos with athletes training together, having fun, providing mutual support and competing with and against each other. The wide range of age and experience is seen as a strength because younger athletes can see and hear at first hand what might await them in future years.

The training programme for this group is not suitable for those with no recent background training. However, Abingdon AC does offer training and courses for beginners throughout the year. 

When and where

The endurance group trains outdoors throughout the year. Sessions are held at Tilsley Park track on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and vary considerably so as to cover the different requirements of competitive distance running (sustained speed, stamina, all-round strength endurance etc). We make use of the track and the surrounding grass areas. In winter some sessions take place out on the nearby cycleway (with safety being of paramount importance), switching to the local countryside in summer.

Athletes are expected to begin their own warm-up with gentle jogging, to be finished by about 6.50 pm. Mobility and drills are then done together and the main session starts shortly after 7 pm. Cool-down is normally over by about 8 pm.

On Tuesdays, a separate session is available involving a sustained pace run of up to 10 miles (16 km) using local roads and, when daylight permits, country footpaths. This session is for the Under-20 age group and above.

During the winter and depending on the competition schedule, cross country training takes place on Saturday mornings, usually at either Ardington woodland, near Wantage or Wittenham Clumps near Didcot. At other times of the year, we may make use of Wittenham Clumps or Grove recreation ground near Wantage, again depending upon the racing programme. Whatever the venue, Saturday sessions start promptly at 9 am and are normally over by 10.10 am. As with all sessions, attendance is not compulsory.

Competition

As the name suggests, once they are ready for it athletes in this group are expected to compete for the club. Distance running is a year-round sport, with cross country in winter and track in summer as well as road and cross country relays in spring and autumn. Depending upon age group, road races of various distances are available year-round. Cross country and track complement each other extremely well and athletes are strongly encouraged to compete in both.

The coaching team

The group contains a wide range of ages, training backgrounds and event preferences. Sessions may involve more than 30 athletes and are carefully planned so that each athlete gets training that is effective for them. We may split into subgroups for all or part of a session.

We manage the programme by having a flexible coaching team, all of whom have extensive experience in competitive distance running. The team is as follows:

  • Bernard Wilkins ( UK Athletics accredited Level 3 performance coach)
  • Jon Bones (Leader in Running Fitness)
  • Sarah Lackman (Assistant Coach)
  • Gina Lodowski (UK Athletics accredited Level 1)
  • Phil Egerton.