Every week the most popular option with Pioneers is the coaching session. We have five England-Athletics-qualified coaches and they provide free coaching to members.

Schedule and seasons

In a typical month, the schedule of sessions is as follows:

  • Week 1 – timed 5km run
  • Weeks 2 – 4 interval sessions on Clapham Common
  • Week 5 – hill repeats near to Clapham Junction


We also structure and tailor our coaching sessions around three main running seasons for the club, so that Pioneers are as well prepared for their races as possible:

  • September to December: Base speed and strength
  • January to April: Marathon / Half Marathon
  • May to August: 5km, 10km (and Half Marathon)

Types of session

We do not have a rigid schedule of sessions. Sometimes the weather, attendance and other factors means we need to be flexible as to the type of session we operate; however there are four main types. Below we illustrate each of these:

Speed: improve basic speed, focusing on shorter more intense training Fast 1: 16 x 60 second repeats with 30 seconds restFast 2: 10 x 2 minute repeats with 60 seconds restBattersea Park Lampposts: jog to first lamppost then sprint back, then 2 lamposts and sprint back, then 3 and all the way up to 10. Repeat
Endurance: enhance VO2 max, which is the bodies ability to transport oxygen around the body to convert carbohydrate and fat into energy Classic: 6 or 8 x 3 minute repetitions with 1min 30 second restMile repeats: 3 x 7 minutes with 2 minute recoveryIncreasing pace session: 2 mins, 1 min (10k pace) 30 seconds (5k pace), 1 min 30 seconds recovery: repeat 6 timesReverse pyramid: 6 mins, 5 mins, 4 mins, 3 mins, 2 mins, 1 min (recovery is half the running time)
Pacing: help runners judge their pace, run more even races and focus on a strong finish Large pyramid: (1 min), 2 mins, 3 mins, 4 mins, 5 mins, 4 mins, 3 mins, 2 mins, (1 min) (recovery is half the running time)Out and back pace session: 1 min out, 1 min back; 2 mins out, 2 mins back, 3 mins out, 3 mins back; 2 mins out, 2 mins back; 1 min out, 1 min back (recovery is half the running time)
Hill repeats: build strength and endurance, and ability to run well in undulating or mixed terrain courses Classic Hills: 10 – 12 hill repeatsTempo and Hills:  3 x hill repeats followed by 1km tempo run; 2 min rest; repeat 3 times5/5/5 Hill session: 5 long hills (fast), 5 medium hills (faster), 5 shorter hills (fastest)