St Albans Athletics Club is made up of a dedicated team of passionate, volunteer coaches, keen to pass on their enthusiasm and love of the various disciplines and behind the scenes facilitators; parents whose children have been through the ranks of the club and have long since left or those with children still members.
In this latest edition of our newsletter, we bring into the spotlight a lady who encompasses all of the above, who has given her free time to the club and after years of support, coaching and leadership will be stepping down as Chair.
What’s your role within SAAC? – Chairman
How did you get involved with the club?
Thirty plus years ago, St. Albans had just upgraded the track at Westminster Lodge, but there was no club. A group of parents approached Tom McNab and together we approached the Council to see about forming a Club. We spoke to the then Ford dealers, Godfrey Davis (who sponsored us for several years) and St. Albans Godfrey Davis AC was born. Apart from Tom we had no coaches so a dozen or so of us went on coaching courses and officials courses so that we could join a league, provide competition for our athletes and we became part of the athletics community.
What’s your favourite athletics discipline?
All field events!
What made you start athletics?
I had enjoyed athletics in school and represented the County in inter county matches. My son and daughter also enjoyed their athletics in school and it was a natural progression for them to continue at the newly formed club and they both competed at Club and County level.
What is your most memorable sporting memory?
The privilege of watching the Paralympians at the Olympic Stadium comes first. But a close second when the Club first started was having the likes of Olympians Colin Jackson, Sally Gunnell, Tony Jarrett (all hurdles) Daley Thompson (decathlete), John Regis (sprinter) and Fatima Whitbread (javelin) all making appearances down at the track and joining in the training sessions (most of you will have to Google these athletes!)
Who inspires you most within athletics?
There are many, but I admire those who are not only great athletes but who also put back into the athletic community whilst remaining grounded and don’t put themselves on a pedestal.
Your greatest sporting achievement?
Representing North Wales in the High Jump when I was 15.
Without Lynne, we may never have had an athletics club. Her drive when her children were young, led to the formation of the club, and for the last 30 years, she has coached, officiated and stood on the side lines cheering for many hours. More recently, despite moving away from St Albans, she has continued as Chair of the club and overseeing the officiating team, driving across the country to ensure we had as many officials as possible. We would like to say an official ‘Thank you’ for all the hours of support you have given. Enjoy your ‘retirement’!
‘Wooping’ our goal! by Coach Deborah Steer
Do you have goals for the future?
Would you want to save the planet, make it to the start line of the London Marathon, cook a delicious meal for your parents or simply finish a project by the end of term ?
No matter how big or small most of us have goals. We also have reasons that we don’t always achieve them. If I described a tool to help you achieve these goals and dreams, what would you say? “ Fan-tas-tic , yes please”
Gabriele Oettingen in her 2014 book ‘Rethinking positive thinking’ describes a technique all of us could benefit from. I will try to summarize it.
Step 1- Wish
Choose a goal that you’d like to accomplish. It should be challenging, compelling and realistic. The time scale shouldn’t matter, today , tomorrow or next year or it could be a general behaviour with no time horizon . It’s important to make it realistic otherwise Woop will make you less motivated .
I want to exercise more regularly and come to training 3 times a week.
I would like to be able to run negative splits in my 800mts.
I would like to have more elastic strength.
I would like to pass my driving test.
Step 2 – Outcome
What’s the best possible outcome if I achieve my goal. How would I feel?
Visualize this outcome in your mind.
I feel fitter, energized , happy with myself .
I would have more chance to run PB ‘s and feel happy with this achievement of pace judgement.
I would be able to jump higher, longer and run faster.
I could take myself to training.
Step 3 –Obstacles
What’s standing in the way of you and your goal?
Visualise the obstacle in your mind.
I come home from school and feel tired and I start playing on my play station. I eat too late and get a stitch at training.
I always get into a race at training rather than running the pace I should.
Sometimes I set myself an unrealistic target when I don’t train regularly.
Not time at training to do strength or pylometrics and I can’t be bothered to do at home.
Haven’t applied for my test and don’t know how to.
Step 4 – Plan
Plan for overcoming these obstacles. What would help when your obstacle shows its ugly head?
Create an (if) plan and visualise in your head.
Set your training nights in your diary and when I get home from school get my kit on and have a snack. This is controllable by you! Meeting a friend is not and therefore will not always work (they may cancel)
To achieve negative splits I’ll need to train as above, to decide with my coach a realistic time goal then be disciplined to run at this pace, work on my strength endurance eg progression runs .
Arrive at training ready to start the session, discuss with your coach if we could perhaps have some strength and conditioning at a club night , what can you do at home? Add the session to your diary and then get your kit on at home and take the first step.
Apply for my test by a specific date by asking for help if necessary.
The amazing thing is when put to the test scientifically the actual results were striking.
So Woop is a scientifically proven tool that helps us to change our behaviour and achieve our goals .
Lets get Wooping and see what actions we can come up with to help us to be the best athletes we possibly can !
I’m looking forward to hearing about your actions so please share as your strategies may help your teammates at St Albans AC.
How Athletes have been keeping fit:
Despite the fact that the track has been shut and we haven’t been able to train as a group, our coaches have been encouraging us with training plans and suggestions, which have been kept many athletes going. Lots of athletes have been coming up with their own ways of keeping fit:
I’ve been going on daily 5km runs and doing workouts everyday to try build up my strength. I find doing something each day really helps me mentally to stay happier and more focused. I think moving forwards, I would like to go on more speed runs and shorter sprints. – Lokyee
“I have found big outdoor spaces, like fields and hills to run on near to my home. I have got on OK with training but when the weather was bad I found it hard to complete because of the mud and ice. I enjoyed the circuits more as I did them inside and got less muddy. I have to admit though I’ve done a lot less exercise than before lockdown… I’m looking forward to getting back to the track.” – Amelie M
Last lockdown, we were practising sprints towards speed tracker sign…. great fun… James S and Terrence W
Once Highfield football pitches got too muddy, we discovered Puddingstone Green play area made a brilliant 200m pavement track. Charlie P
As well as doing HIT sessions, I have been enjoying exploring the local countryside with my running buddy Annabel. We have run through wind, rain, mud and snow and together we have seen Geese, Alpacas and Deer. Phoebe G
I didn’t overly enjoy training in January as it was dark, cold and gloomy but moving into February it has got a little bit lighter. I have however managed to self-motivate myself to keep fit. I have created a routine using the club training plan and have used a park nearby as my training ground. I have also managed to double my long distance running using the Alban Way while avoiding the puddles, mud and people. In addition to my running during lockdown I have done various other things like school workouts/challenges and land training with my swim club via zoom – Matthew N
I have been doing the sprints training on the days that I would have been at the track. I usually meet up with a training partner from the club to keep each other motivated. We have a few favourite locations where we train and use strava to measure out the distances. Joining Strava has been a positive factor in keeping me motivated. I often run on my own outside of the days I do the sprint training and like to set myself weekly goals. I use Youtube videos to do some strength and conditioning in the evenings using body weight and resistance bands. During the first lockdown I started cycling and recently I’ve been out on some bike rides with my mum and dad and explored some villages I wasn’t aware of like Bendish and Whitwell. – Meeka N
We have a lap that I use that goes from my front door. It is exactly 800 metres. I usually do four laps with a minute rest in between laps. Sometimes I do challenges with my mum like she tries to have a shower in the time I do a lap. My fastest lap was when my mum ran the laps too but the opposite way so we didn’t know for sure who was leading. Of course I couldn’t let her beat me but one lap I noticed she had got a bit further so I sprinted the second half. We both did our fastest lap. I also took photos on my favourite route and sent them to my friend to follow. Sometimes I don’t want to run and my mum bribes me with a visit to Simmons. – Eliza N
During lockdown, it has been fairly hard to keep fit and maintain my fitness levels. However, I have managed to do several circuit sessions every week; knowing that it is not ideal but it is all I can do. Plus recently, I have managed to get out and do some sprinting – though it is all on either rough and rigid grass or a short space in a small car park (obviously in the evening when there’s no car present).
The reason behind my dedicated training during lockdown is because I want to not only keep my fitness levels up, but also begin to make sure I am ready to get back to regular training – helping me prepare to (hopefully) compete in the summer. – Shion E
From over the lockdown I have been doing workouts from YouTube and I have done many runs and sprint sessions in the park nearby. – Mio E
St Albans Athletics Club is wholly dependent on volunteers and due to various work commitments, coaching support leaving for university etc we are looking to fill the following roles:
EYAL manager and team organisers
Female welfare officer
Registering athletes at track sessions
Match day operations manager for home matches
Coaches and parent / young helpers (EA are running courses to train)
Officials (again, EA will provide courses and existing officials can mentor)
Following the recent government announcement, we are waiting for confirmation of how we can restart athletics, but it won’t be before 29th March. Please look out for future updates.