When and where does the club meet?

The club meets every Tuesday and Thursday evening at 7:00pm in the Gym  Hall at Marr College.

Do I have to join before I can come along?

Absolutely not.  You’re welcome to come along for a few weeks to get the feel of the club and decide if it’s for you.

What do I need to join?

Just a desire to get fitter and possibly faster (although the two usually go hand in hand).  Oh, and some shorts would be good too. If you’re jogging a bit already then you’ll have most of the gear that you need to start  but seriously consider buying some proper running shoes from a running shop (rather than a high street sports goods shop).  Good shoes protect you from injury and although fairly pricey sometimes, are a great investment in your future health and fitness.  Lacing up a pair of proper running shoes is also gives you a great psychological boost and puts you in the mood for running.

What’s it going to cost me?

Compared to a gym?  Just the small change in your pocket. 😉 Okay, if you want a number, I’ll say about £25 for a full year’s membership.

Do I have to be from Troon?

Nope.  We’ve quite a few members from outside Troon.  If you’re prepared to get yourself to Troon, you’re welcome wherever you’re from.

What are the benefits of joining a club?

Many and varied. 😉 Firstly, you get somewhere to warm up, cool down and stretch indoors, showers, toilets and the camaraderie of your fellow club mates.  You’ll learn much from the more experienced runners in the club and and in time, take your turn at providing support and encouragement to other new runners.  You may be inspired to attempt things that you’ve never thought possible and learn new things about yourself.

Do I need to join Scottish Athletics?

No, this is something that you can decide to do at any time.  Being a member of Scottish Athletics gives you a £2 discount at any event with a SA permit (nearly all road races in Scotland) and other benefits.  If you are a member of a running club, the membership fee for Scottish Athletics is halved.  If you think you might be racing more than half a dozen times per year, the membership pays for itself.

I can barely run at all.  How will I fit in?

Remember the club name? Okay, we do have some quick runners, we also have some slow runners and a lot of runners in-between.  You don’t have to be a runner before you come along.  If you’re not running already, you might want to look at some of the many “get you started” training regimes on the net that will help you out of the sofa and onto the road. Runners World have many good articles available on-line here for beginners.

I’d like to run but I keep getting out of breath.  What can I do to prevent this?

The commonest mistake that new runners make is to run too fast.  We all have an idea in our heads of what running is and how it should be done.  Unfortunately, our body’s don’t always agree with our ideas!  If you’re consistently finding yourself out of breath when you’re starting to run, you’re going too fast!  There’s absolutely nothing wrong with starting off with a run/walk plan where you run and walk in turns.  Until you’ve built up some basic fitness, it’s far more important to slowly increase the distance that you’re running each week than the speed.

Sometimes, exercise can trigger asthma (so called “exercise induced asthma”) in people that have never suffered with asthma before.  This doesn’t mean that exercise is bad for you or that you won’t be able to run.  There are many great athletes out there who suffer from this.  This form of asthma is usually easily treated with an inhaler that you use just before running.

Why do I keep getting  side stitches?

Side stitched are thought to be due to the weight of internal organs tugging on the diaphragm (no, not that kind) as you run.  Consequently you’re more likely to get them if your stomach is heavier than normal for any reason.  Eating or drinking at inappropriate times can cause them.  In general, newer runners tend to get them more often that experienced runners but almost any runner can be affected.  The best cure is to avoid getting them in the first place.  If you prone to getting them, avoid eating for at least 2 hours prior to running.  Drinking a large quantity of fluid at one go (or drinking very cold fluids) can also cause it.

If  you have a stitch, many people find that changing the rhythm of your footfalls and respiration helps.  If, for example, you’re always landing on your left foot as you begin to breath out, change that to breathing out when your right foot lands.  A small change like this can synchronise the movement of your diaphragm with the bounce of your stomach and relieve the stitch.  Some people find that breathing out in a forced “grunt” helps.  I.e. holding your breath for a little and then expelling it suddenly.  If nothing else, it lets everyone within earshot know that you’re in pain. 😉

Do you just run on roads?

Nearly all of our club night training session are done on roads but we have many members who run on trails & hills as well.  The club regularly participates in cross country races.  The new River Ayr Way is proving to be a popular long distance training route with several club runners.

Do you have and training schedules?

Just as soon as Alasdair has finished writing them. Until then, I’d recommend the Runners World website for most beginners.

What do you do on your training nights?

Each night starts with a short warm up followed by some gentle stretching. On Tuesdays we have one of four different sessions aimed at developing speed (sprints, hillwork etc.) all of which can be taken at your own pace. The first Tuesday of every month is always set aside for a 5km “time trial” which is a useful way of measuring your progress.  Thursdays are simple runs around various parts of the town, again at your own pace.

Do I need to take part in races?

Many club members never race. Whilst we do have a monthly 5K time trial it’s more for fun and it’s certainly not compulsory.  Having said that, racing can be great fun and if you don’t try it, you’ll miss out on some of the pleasure of running.

Will I make a fool of myself?

Several club members have already claimed that position so we’re sorry, you’ll have to join the queue. 😉

Not so frequently asked questions (and ones you’ve never dared ask).

Which club is best, Troon, Ayr Seaforth, Irvine, Girvan, Kilmarnock, Beith or Ayrodynamic?

We couldn’t possibly comment.;-)  If you’re just starting, a lot will depend on which is nearest and  which does the kind of running that is most compatible with your ambitions.  We all differ a bit in character and no one club is better than another, just different.  The best advice we can offer is to try out the clubs around you (they’ll all let you have a few free sessions) and then come back and join Troon Tortoises.

Should I have a big meal before running?

Only if you want to decorate the streets with the colourful contents of your stomach. If you’re going to eat before running, give your body a couple of hours for digestion before going out.

Are you all elite runners?

A “HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, sorry,….NO!”

Um…, does anyone else suffer with problems in the um, toilet department?

Bowel disturbances when running are very common.  It’s rare to meet a runner who hasn’t got a tale to tell about bowel problems at some time or other.  I myself know a runner who has “claimed” many parts of rural Ayrshire.  It’s a problem that even the elites have to cope with. (Remember Paula when she set the new record during the London marathon?  Whatever the press may have said, it wasn’t a “pee stop”. )  There’s an excellent little article that you can read here that will, at the very least, let you know that you’re in good company.

The best way to deal with it is by trail an error, finding out how much you can eat (and what) before you run.  Anti-diarrhoeal  medicines sometimes help but aren’t completely reliable.  If it only happens on long runs, stick to rural roads, there’s a lot more cover there. Don’t leave the countryside littered with toilet paper.  With practice, you’ll soon learn what plants and leaves work well enough.  You’ll know you’re a real runner when a handful of gravel suffices. You know you’re an elite runner when you don’t even stop.

Urinary problems tend to affect women more than men, particularly after childbirth. Like most post-baby problems, the answer lies in pelvic floor exercises.

What’s the difference between a club runner and a fun runner?

The fun runner tends to run with a specific goal in mind. Usually one of the big publicity, cast of thousands races.
The club runner runs all year round and will race if the notion takes him.

The fun runner tends to follow a semi-rigid training plan that’s based upon beginner running.
The club runner throws plans in the bin because he’s seen it all before.

The fun runner has pasta the night before a big race and diarrhoea a couple of hours before.
The club runner has ten pints of Guinness the night before a big race – oh, and diarrhoea a couple of hours before.

The fun runner sprays himself with Ralgex or Deep Heat just before the race.
The club runner sprays himself with deodorant just before the race – well, after 10 pints of Guinness, what do you expect?

During the race the fun runner paces himself so as to not exhaust himself.
The club runner shoves the fun runner out of the way.

During the race the fun runner always takes on water so as to not become dehydrated.
During the race the club runner always takes on water so as to hold the hang-over at bay.

At the end of the race the fun runner is dead chuffed with himself.
At the end of the race the club runner goes back to the pub.

But the main difference:
The fun runner has a great sense of achievement.
The club runner has fun and fun and fun and fun and fun and fun and fun and fun and fun…….