Neil Featherby: Training for Run Norwich has already started for this group and they’re embracing it…I think!









Norse Group in week one with a few looks of “what is this guy who is training us all about?” Picture: Neil Featherby

Having spent several years coaching and advising runners of all standards, four weeks ago I took on a new running group which has been put together through the Norse Group who are the main sponsor for this year’s Run Norwich 10k on August 5.


After sifting their way through several requests from potential candidates, the company came to me with their selected dozen asking me to help train them up for this year’s race which already has 7,000 runners entered for what will be the fourth staging of this big city centre event.

My initial meeting with the group was at the company offices before then moving on to Felthorpe Park to do our first session together.

However, it soon became very apparent that this selected collection of individuals were all at differing levels where in truth some could already run 10k, with others also reasonably running fit and a couple who were starting from scratch.

What with already having a regular running group (The FOP Running Group) of all abilities, my initial reaction was that it will all be pretty standard and will just be a case of giving them a bit more direction and consistency. It’s not quite been as easy as I first thought!

Now before I go any further with regards to any details about how the last month has gone, each person involved is absolutely brilliant and there is certainly a great mix of personalities and, dare I say, characters.

However, and what with being used to working with people who consider running to be a huge part of their lives, it is quite clear that for most of my new group, running is very much a hobby which is fitted into a very busy lifestyle with work and other commitments.

They also take part in other activities which are a most enjoyable part of their lives.

Whilst I love most physical sports and have indeed been lucky enough to work with many top sports people, running has always been the number one name of the game for me and getting out and having at least one run a day is an absolute must which at times can make me a little blinkered.

Norse Group at the end of this week's session with satisfied smiles on their faces. Picture: Neil Featherby
Norse Group at the end of this week's session with satisfied smiles on their faces. Picture: Neil Featherby
Anyway, things are now starting to take shape although ringing very firmly in my ears are the words of my good friend Luke Tyce who was responsible for engaging my services when he said at the beginning of this project: “Neil, let’s just say that some of them are going to be taken aback somewhat and won’t know what to make of you what with your ways and sense of humour.”

The many confused looks which I have received at each session certainly confirms his view that is for sure!

The thought of spending the next few weeks working with me in preparation to complete a 10k or indeed run one quicker than before may seem a little daunting to some of them and whilst it is not exactly daunting to me, it is still very much a challenge, albeit one which I can honestly say I enjoy being part of.

Having to adapt and amend is something we should all be prepared to do at times in any walk of life. The group are having to learn to adapt to my ways and training methods and I am also learning to adapt to a variation of mindsets which I have not been used to before.

What is sure is that this is going to be a fun journey with a few detours and change of directions along the way for which sometimes taking a different route can turn out to be more exciting and perhaps even more effective when it comes to getting the very best out of people!

The smiles on all their faces at the end of the session earlier this week confirmed this and before anyone suggests their smiles were probably more out of relief at getting through another session, I am already aware of this!