How can I join the Chew Valley Snails? Once you have set up a RunTogether account, you join by telling one of our Leaders and paying £10 for the year (1st April to 31st March). Couch to 5k participants have their joining fee included in their course cost. Email us for our bank details if you'd prefer to pay direct.
Do I need to join to run with you? No, but non-members can only take part in up to three runs before they must join - that's a condition of our insurance.
What are the benefits of membership? Free, unlimited Social Runs throughout the year; £2 discount off ARC-affiliated races; 10% shoe discount at Up & Running in Henleaze; 3rd party insurance when running, discounts on one-off Snails events.
How old do I need to be? We're open to everyone aged 16 and over. If you're under 18 we may ask for consent from your parent or guardian if you are not already personally known to our Run Leaders.
Can anyone join? Yes, everyone is welcome. Running can be a really fun, social activity where gender and age really doesn't matter. People come in all shapes and sizes and it can be really helpful to run with taller, shorter, athletic, stockier, younger and older people so you can identify what works for your particular body.
Couch to 5k questions
I think I'm too unfit, or too slow... The Couch to 5k course was designed by the NHS to be accessible to adults of all shapes, sizes, abilities and fitness levels. We deliberately work up from a gentle start so you can increase your fitness and get used to jogging in a safe, supportive environment. This isn't competitive and no-one will ever be left behind. Email or call us if you want to talk in confidence before deciding whether to sign up.
Is it ok for anyone? Yes, everyone over the age of 16 is welcome. Running can be a really fun, social activity where gender really doesn't matter. People come in all shapes and sizes and it can be really helpful to run with taller, shorter, athletic or stockier people so you can realise what works for your particular body.
I can't come every week - is it OK to come to only come to some? Yes! You will get most benefit from coming to all the course sessions, but if you work shifts, are away, or otherwise can't make a week then just look for the 'Homework' details for that week in the News section and try to complete that 2-3 times over the week you miss.
Do you follow the NHS Couch to 5k app? No, not exactly. We've extended the length of the course slightly, and tweaked the sessions to allow for the beautiful natural terrain around us. We also think it's really important to build in some very simple, biut effective, strengthening exercises and technique pointers which you won't get from the app or from running alone.
I used to run - is this suitable for me? Yes, it's open to all new and returning runners. We will build every week from a simple run / jog up to being able to jog or run for around 35 minutes (about 5km) over the full 10 week course. This gentle progression should help you avoid injury and build or rebuild your running fitness.
Do I need special kit? No. A pair of good quality trainers* which fit your feet well is all you need. On top just wear comfortable clothing which is suitable for jogging. Layers are good: t-shirt, long-sleeved cotton shirt and thin sweatshirt are good basics in cold weather (along with a beanie hat and gloves if you feel the cold), maybe a thin showerproof top if it's raining. Running tights, yoga tights or tracksuit bottoms - some men prefer shorts, or shorts over running tights. (*We suggest you don't go and buy new trainers for the course until you've spoken to your course leader - they can advise on what to look out for, and reputable local running shops who can help.)
How about a fitness tracker or watch? If you would like to wear your FitBit, Apple Watch, Garmin, TomTom, or just bring your mobile phone with a fitness app on it, you are very welcome. It's best not to have anything carried in your hands, so pop it in a pocket, in a running belt or bumbag, or use a wrist-worn device. It's not essential but you may find it helpful for measuring your progress over time - both in terms of distance and speed of jogging.
What about after graduation? There are lots of opportunities for social running, and Chew Valley Snails also host our own local social runs. parkrun is available all year round, every Saturday, in literally hundreds of locations around the UK and farther afield, so that's a fantastic way to meet new runners and also measure your continuing progress. We also offer Improvers courses as well as one-off workshops (such as an Introduction to Foam Rolling).
Where can I do a parkrun?
We typically graduate at Ashton Court parkrun or Eastville parkrun in Bristol, but once registered for parkrun you can complete it anywhere in the world! Our nearest runs are Ashton Court, Eastville Park, Pomphrey Hill, Somerdale Pavillion, Bath Skyline and Burnham & Highbbridge, but Snails have visited many counties in the UK as well as Danish, Singaporean and Australian parkruns. Have a look at our latest weekly parkrun 'club report' to see where Snails ran the previous Saturday.
May I bring my dog on runs? Sadly we can't allow our canine friends on courses as both our leaders and you need to be able to concentrate just on your running. Dogs may be able to join us on social runs, but please contact the leader for the run in advance as some routes and groups may not be suitable for dogs. If you do bring a dog, please respect our one dog per runner guideline, and have them on a short lead (with a spare poo bag in your pocket!).
Becoming a Leader with us
I think I could lead a Couch to 5k course, Improvers, or Social run? Brilliant! RunTogether really want people like you - you can find out more about being a Group Leader here. Dawn, Karen and Pip all became Run Leaders within 8 months of completing their Couch to 5k courses.
What does it involve? You need to complete a "Leadership in Running Fitness" course, but these are available very regularly through England Athletics. After completing a DBS check you'll then be a qualified, insured LiRF and can start your own courses. It also opens up a host of extra Coaching courses if you would like to take it further. CVS will contribute towards the cost of your LiRF course as We want YOU to help CVS keep going!
How will you support my future learning? CVS has funds set aside for Continuing Professional Development for its LiRFs. This may be First Aid courses, Movement Courses, Running Gait analysis courses... or even stepping up to the next level Coach in Running Fitness.