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FAQ’s for New Members

FAQs for new members and runners who would like to join our Tuesday evening runs

We are a fell running club, and we are happy to welcome visitors and potential new members. We want everyone to enjoy their run, so here is some key information and some FAQs which will hopefully help you to decide if we, and our Tuesday evening runs, are right for you. Look at the tables for quick reference.

  • Q: What is fell running?

  • “Fell” is just another word for a hill or mountain, and fell running is a type of hill or mountain running. Fell running is an all-terrain sport and often involves routes with no paths and mountain summits: depending on the area you should expect open moorland, rocky grass, bogs, tussocks, heather, boulder fields and some very steep climbs and descents which may not be runnable. It is quite different from trail running, which generally involves running at lower/valley level on good footpaths and bridleways. As such, some new members find that fell running requires a higher level of base fitness than road / trail running, and a certain level of mountain awareness.
  • Q: Which training group should I run with?

  • On Tuesday evenings there are two (sometimes three) groups to choose from:

    The Steady Group:

    In summer, this is usually a run between 1 – 1 ½ hours on the fells (more likely trails/roads in the winter). It is important to say that this is not a guided or led run; it is a group of runners who wish to run together at a steady pace. Although there will usually be somebody who decides on the route and helps on navigation, you will be responsible for yourself in terms of carrying appropriate kit (read below) and your ability to read a map, know where you are and how to get back to where you started. This could be in the dark or in fog/cloud.

    In winter, this group often join in with the faster groups, as many routes are more structured training ‘sessions’ on fixed routes, often on the roads. Alternatively, there are usually a few members heading off on a steadier road/path/trail run too.

    The Faster (and really fast!) Groups

    In summer, this is usually a hard fell run of approx. 2hrs over several summits (for example: Fairfield Horseshoe, Coniston Horseshoe, Langdale summits etc.). This group often sets off as one group and then splits into two smaller groups: elite runners (winners and top places in local and national races) and strong club runners (top half the results). Again, this is not a guided or led run; it is a group of very experienced and faster runners who wish to run hard in the fells. You will be responsible for yourself in terms of carrying appropriate kit (read below) and your ability to read a map and use a compass, know where you are and how to get back to where you started. This could be in the dark or in fog/cloud.

  • Q: How fit do I need to be to run with the Steady group?

  • You’ll already be a reasonably capable trail, fell or road runner who can comfortably run approx 10min mile pace on hilly trails (or 25–30 minute park run), be happy to walk/jog up, and definitely run down, steeper climbs. It’s not a group suitable for those completely new to off-terrain running, or who have never spent time in the mountains. If this is you, then consider building up endurance and fitness at local park runs which provide a wonderful community for new runners, or by spending time picking out hillier trail runs on variable terrain before coming along for your first Tuesday night on the fells. Harder and faster fell walks are also good for gaining the mountain awareness, and all terrain ability, to help make sure you get the most out of this group.

    If you live in Ambleside, a good guide is you would be capable of getting to the summit of Loughrigg from the bottom cattle grid at Pelter Bridge in around 23-30 mins.

    Nobody will ever be left behind in this group, but for everybody’s safety and enjoyment you should ensure these Club runs are right for you. Contact Chris Hodgson at info@chalet365.com if in any doubt.

  • Q: How fit do I need to be to run with the Faster groups?

  • You’ll already be a strong fell or trail runner, who can navigate with a map and compass (GPS is fine as a backup on training runs but is absolutely forbidden in races!), be able to run/jog/fast walk steeper climbs and be comfortable running for 2- 2 ½ hours over rough stuff. There are, of course, some regroup points en route, but these may be the next summit or feature which could be 20 minutes of running away.

    A very approximate guide: If you live in Ambleside, you’ll be capable of running steadily around the Fairfield Horseshoe in 2hrs-to-2hrs 15mins or you would be capable of getting to the summit of Loughrigg from the bottom cattle grid at Pelter Bridge Park in under 23 mins to join this group (under 20 mins for the really fast group).

  • Q: What groups head out training on a Tuesday in Winter?

  • In Winter, choosing which group to run with is a bit less of a tricky issue as we don’t head off up the fells as regularly. There is usually still a steady group run of around 1 – 1 ½ hours on trails and paths and you’ll need the fitness levels outlined above.

    The faster group tend to do the structured speed endurance/hill session together as it’s designed so that everyone can work hard at their level. This does mean that it is perfectly possible for slower runners to join this session and these sessions are a great way to build speed and fitness. A slower runner would need to know the warmup route for that night’s session and either set off 10 minutes earlier to meet the group at the start of the efforts or take a more direct route to the start of the efforts. We will always make sure everyone who’s there by 6.20pm knows where the efforts will start.

  • Q: What kit do I need to run on the fells?

  • Summer runs on the fells (or winter trail runs)

    Regardless of the group, nearly all of our summer runs are higher fell runs and often over mountain summits so you will need to carry appropriate kit. This will mean fell shoes, full waterproofs (with taped seams), hat and gloves, a map of the area, a compass, a whistle and some food. Consider: an emergency “bivvy bag”, extra thermal top, tiny first aid kit, mobile phone. This equipment is for your safety: the weather in the hills can change rapidly, and it is vital that you are properly prepared for a situation in which you become lost, heavily fatigued or incapacitated owing to illness or injury. This suggested kit is the bare minimum, and you should carry additional kit depending upon the conditions.

    Winter runs on the fells

    Add more layers, consider a heavier duty jacket and trousers, waterproof mittens/gloves, more food, a decent head torch with spare batteries or back up head torch.

    Winter speed endurance and hill sessions

    You’ll need your usual preferred winter running kit, a waterproof or windproof jacket depending on what the weather’s doing, road or light trail shoes, hat and gloves if you get cold hands/feet and a small head torch (suitable for Under Loughrigg – Pelter Bridge road in the dark). A watch that can time/be programmed to time efforts is useful but not essential.

  • Q: Where do I get water on fell runs?

  • Many runners choose not to take water on the shorter/medium summer runs. On longer runs you may choose to either carry a little water and/or refill/drink from mountain streams on the route (potentially several times on long routes). However, some routes are almost or completely dry, so check the route and weather forecast and ensure you start with sufficient water. If intending to refill on the route, consider the water quality and whether to use water purification tablets or a filter bottle.
  • Q: Am I insured against injury if I run with the club?

  • No. If you require any form of personal insurance you must organise this yourself.
  • Look at the Spring to Autumn table to see which group is right for you.

  • Look at the Winter table to see which group is right for you.