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RUN Harpenden at the Oval
Tell me about RUN Harpenden at The Oval?
Many of our coached sessions are based at the privately owned Highfield Oval, Harpenden. The entire campus is a designated conservation area and we run and train over 47 acres of grass, paths and ancient woodland as well as on the quiet, tarmac roads.
We might use agility ladders, low hurdles or even a parachute (you’ll find out!) on the playing fields. We often mark out a 200m or 300m running track and we have an accurately measured 5km run on campus. Plus we have easy access to the Nickey Line footpath and local pavements and roads for some of our sessions.
If you’re a beginner, it can help to be tucked away from the main public spaces when you take your first steps. You might feel less self-conscious and ready to give it a go.
There’s free parking, a great cafe with WiFi and you’ll feel like you’ve really got away from it all, when on campus at the Oval.
The Oval is owned by YWAM Harpenden. RUN Harpenden is one of a small number of fitness based organisations that lease access to facilities here, to provide our coached running sessions, groups and courses.
Can we run at the OVAL outside of a RUN Harpenden coached session?
We ask that you please do not meet for GROUP runs at the Oval, outside of RUN Harpenden coached sessions.
RUN Harpenden leases access to the facilities at the Oval for group participation. These are carefully scheduled slots managed by YWAM (owners of the Oval) so as not to clash with their existing calendar of events and activities and also limit any environmental impact of group activities. So turning up as a group at other times, you could easily clash with other activities or organisations who similarly lease access to the Oval or find yourselves in the way of oval residents or a YWAM event on campus.
However YWAM welcomes visitors and the Oval is open to the public most days. So if you’re just out for a run in ones or twos, we’re sure you’ll be very welcome to enjoy the grounds along with other recreational visitors you’ll find on campus.
When visiting please check on opening times, which can vary. The Oval is closed to the public after 8pm, closed on Sundays after 1pm and closed for whole days at certain times of the year. Check the noticeboards at the entrance to the Oval for up to date opening times.
RUN Harpenden Online
How do we use WhatsApp & Facebook?
We use WhatsApp groups to communicate within our 8-week coached groups & courses, workshops and other events. It’s a great way to make arrangements to meet up, run together or to chat about your running or anything else going on in your group.
Also because it only contains the runners in your 8-week group, you’ll soon know everyone well personally and feel comfortable to chat and support and encourage each other.
So, for example, they’ll be a WhatsApp group for a January RESOLUTION Runners course on Mondays, a different WhatsApp group for a March MOMENTUM Runners group on Thursdays.
At your first session with us your coach will check with you that you’d like to be added to the relevant WhatsApp group.
Our RUN Harpenden Facebook group is for Run-chat with the wider RUN Harpenden community, including runners from all our groups, courses and workshops, recent members and also those currently taking a break from coached sessions.
This is a closed group, so it’s private and only for our use, but bear in mind that you probably won’t have personally met all the members.
You’ll be able to share experience, advice, encouragement and support across all groups & courses. You can ask questions or for recommendations and find information about upcoming RUN Harpenden events. And you’ll stay in touch even if you’re taking a break from coached sessions for a while.
But if you want to send a quick message specifically to your group or course, please use your WhatsApp group.
When you first book to run with us, we’ll invite you to join our facebook group.
WhatsApp & Facebook can be fast moving and sometimes leave questions unanswered.
Our website contains the most up to date information about RUN Harpenden as well as your personal Runners Page complete with resources that support your coached sessions.
Or please do contact us by email or phone.
Courses, Groups, Sessions & Runs
Why are courses and groups 8 weeks long?
8 weeks is a sensible amount of coaching & training to be able to see some progressive improvements in running fitness, technique, physical strength & conditioning.
With an 8-week block it’s possible to set and achieve some worthwhile goals.
Before certain holidays like Christmas or summer, we may have shorter blocks like 6 or 7 weeks.
How many runners are there in a course or group?
Courses & groups have between 8 & 16 participants. From our experience we know that, on average, a runner misses two sessions out of every eight. So in a group of 16 they’ll likely be 12 runners at any one session.
At the coaches discretion, we sometimes put on groups & courses with fewer than 8 runners.
What happens at the end of 8 weeks? Can I carry on running with you?
Of course! We’d love you to!
We’ll schedule your follow-on group at the same time, same day, same place – so it’ll be easy for you to keep running with us.
If you are currently running with us on a course or in group sessions, we’ll send you a private priority booking link. Existing runners can use this link to book their next 8 weeks and be guaranteed that they can continue with us in the same group, same, time and day.
You’ll be given a date by which you’ll need to complete your priority booking (this is usually 1 month before the start date of the next course or group sessions).
After this date we open public bookings to new runners. Or if we know in advance that they’ll be spaces in your group, we might advertise them earlier.
I won't be able to attend some of the sessions in the next 8-week slot. Is it still worth me booking?
I won’t be able to attend some of the sessions in the next 8-week slot. Is it still worth me booking?
You’ll need to weigh this up…
From our experience we know that, on average, a runner misses two sessions out of every eight. So if you’ll be away for a couple of weeks, that’s normal. Being part of an ongoing group and the consistency that brings is important in progressing your running fitness. So it’s not just the once a week coached sessions that are important, but also the in between meet-ups with other group members and the encouragement and motivation from the rest of the group. Our courses have weekly Information Packs and suggested homework training sessions and our groups have factsheets and suggested weekly training tasks.
If you decide the next multi-week block just doesn’t fit in with you but you’d like to join us again at a later date, be sure to set a reminder for the date when bookings open. You can find these dates in our CALENDAR
Popular groups can fill up and we offer places first to runners in a current group, then open to public bookings on a first come, first served basis.
What is ‘Priority Booking’?
Popular groups can fill up and so we offer places first to runners in a current group, then open to public bookings on a first come, first served basis.
We open our bookings in the following order:
1. Priority Booking – Current Runners
If you are currently running with us on a course or in group sessions, we’ll send you a private, priority booking link. Existing runners can use this link to book their next 8 weeks, so you are guaranteed you can continue with us in the same group, same time and same day, without interruption.
You’ll be given a date by which you’ll need to complete your priority booking (this is usually 1 month before the start date of the next course or group sessions). After this date we open public bookings to new & returning runners. (If we know in advance that they’ll be spaces in a group, we might open public bookings earlier).
2. Public Booking – New & Returning Runners
1 month before the start of a course or group sessions we’ll open public bookings to new & returning runners on a first come, first served basis.
Our CALENDAR shows at a glance the dates that bookings open, for all our upcoming courses and group sessions.
(If we know in advance that they’ll be spaces in a group, we might open public bookings earlier).
Please Note: if you’ve run with us before but are not currently in a group or course, you won’t be sent a priority booking link. So, if you are taking a break but you’d like to join us again at a later date, be sure to set a reminder for the date when bookings open.
Calendar & Timetable
What about school holidays or half term? Do you ever stop running?
Our groups and courses are not scheduled during school summer & Christmas holidays. But we have drop-in sessions and workshops all year round!
Workshops, drop-in sessions, 1to1 Coaching
- All year round
Groups & Courses
- Jan – July
- Sep – December
We base our group & course timetabling on the term times of Roundwood Park and St George’s schools in Harpenden, as we’re located close to both these schools. We look at their main term times when we plan our schedules, but we ignore Inset days or other school closures that can differ between schools.
Groups and Courses are typically 8-weeks long. They are usually run back-to-back. So if you’re enjoying your current 8-week block, you’ll be offered priority booking for the following 8-week block, so you’ll continue your coached sessions with us at the same time, same day & same place.
Half term? Easter? Queens birthday?
We don’t stop our coached groups & courses during half terms or the Easter school holidays.
It’s really good to maintain consistency in your running. Our runners don’t take their holidays at the same time. We’ve tried it both ways round, but found we quite often get better attendance during half term or Easter holidays than at other time of the year. For our runners, whether they have school age children or not, their holidays are not predictable, consistent or homogeneous.
If you book onto a course on that includes bank holidays (some of our Monday groups), we will coach and run sessions on those bank holidays, unless otherwise stated in the session description.
I can’t come every week!
If you can’t attend a couple of the dates for one of our coached 8-week groups or courses – it could still be worth you booking and attending the sessions you can make.
Different or Longer Holidays?
We have runners from St Albans, Redbourn, Slip End, Luton and other surrounding villages as well as parents with children in private schools. Sorry but we have to pick dates for group sessions to fit with the majority of the group and we do this based on Harpenden term dates. We hope you can still join us!
I don’t want to stop being coached in the summer!
We continue to coach during parts of the school summer and Christmas holidays, but you’ll book your sessions on a drop-basis, rather than booking for a multi-week block.