RunCamp – the first 4 weeks

This is the first of 3 posts about my experience of RunCamp.

RunCamp is a 12-week practical course which aims to improve the running style and efficiency of participants. The courses are run at Southampton Common and Chandlers Ford with new venues being added as demand grows.

The courses are run by fellow LRR member, Ant Gritton. Ant is a runner and triathlete with a very good pedigree of achievements in both.

Each course has about 6 participants and I chose the Friday morning session which runs from 6:30pm until 7:30.

I’m lucky enough to know a few of my fellow students (namely Irene, Jules and Charles) so that helped break the ice.

In the first 4 weeks we’ve focused on one area of running form each week. So far we’ve covered:

  • foot landing under centre of gravity
  • propulsion
  • hip extension and high heel kick
  • arm swing

Each session follows a similar structure:

  • a short warm up
  • a recap of what we learned the previous week
  • a summary of what we’ll be doing
  • some drills focusing on the week’s topic
  • some strength and core exercises (normally quite challenging!!)
  • some intervals where we bring together what we’ve learned
  • cool down and stretches

The course to date has been excellent for many great reasons:

  1. Ant is a great teacher. He is clearly passionate about our sport and wants others to improve
  2. Each week we focus on one element of efficient running form and that ensures it’s not too overwhelmin
  3. The course highlights the importance of a strong core and for post-workout cool down and stretche
  4. The group gel really well. This is probably helped by several of the participants knowing each other already
  5. The sessions are fun, informal and there’s a good degree of banter and encouragemen
  6. Ant never judges anyone. You never are made to feel you’re doing anything wrong. The focus is on improvement for the better rather than dwelling on the bad

I decided to take the course because I felt my running had plateau’d a little. I also tend to run alone quite a lot and the sessions are a great way of socialising.

In my personal opinion, Ant has got RunCamp just right. To date, there’s not been one moment when I’ve felt even slightly negative about something we’ve done, been taught or the manner in which we’ve been taught it. Ant has also cleverly marketed the courses to fellow club runners and, indirectly, to parkrunners via social media and the amazing positive feedback he gets from the ‘students’ each week acts as the main source of his business; word-of-mouth referrals.

I can’t wait to enjoy the next 8 weeks of the course and share that enjoyment with the other students. I’m already finding that my running form is improving and it’ll definitely be interesting to see the improvement in my running performance over the next couple of months.

Ant’s RunCamp is currently focused in the Southampton area but I believe that he also has the business acumen and focus to build a franchise model across a wider geographical region.

If you want to improve your running technique and live in the Southampton area, you really won’t be disappointed if you invest in RunCamp. In fact, there’s no risk as Ant regularly holds trial sessions which are well worth getting up early for!!

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