Let's Get Running founder Shaun Dixon on the inclusive power of running
Figures in recent years have shown a growing number in people running in the UK, and according to a 2017 survey by the House of Commons Library on sports participation in England, running was the most common activity among the top 15 sports. And with record breaking numbers also signing up to the London Marathon it is clear that running continues to be a growing trend among Londoners.
The beauty of running is that it requires very little kit, can be done almost anywhere and has a host of health benefits. However, for a lot of us the problem is that we might know all the benefits, but have trouble actually getting around to going for a run. This is something that founder of Let’s Get Running, Shaun Dixon, understands all too well, which is why he came up with an alternative.
As an ex-international runner, who competed at international level, Shaun first started offering personal coaching for clients back in 2011. The desire to help other runners who were struggling to improve their technique and make it a part of their routine came from being “a big believer in the power of running, in terms of the mental benefits, as well as health and physical,” says Shaun.
Colleagues who sweat together, stay together
He adds: “I also thought that although a lot of businesses offer gym membership and that sort of thing, but it isn’t very exciting and enticing… and I thought running is a really easy way to get people out exercising together. It’s really inclusive and is the best way at a lunch time or just after work to get people exercising as a team.”
And so, Shaun set up Work Run Club as part of Let’s Get Running to offer an easier means for people to get involved and enjoy running. “We want to try and encourage everybody to run because we think it’s a great way to release stress. We offer companies a weekly coaching session, so our coach will go to the office,” says Shaun.
He has since started a weekly Let’s Get Running podcast to boot, interviewing UK endurance runners at the top of their game and dealing with a range of subjects from nutrition, over-training and injury prevention to in-race demons.
“THERE ARE SO MANY STUDIES THAT HAVE PROVEN THAT A RUN OR OUTDOOR EXERCISE WILL MAKE HUGE BENEFITS TO YOUR PRODUCTIVITY, CREATIVITY, AND IN LOWERING YOUR STRESS”
As well as the lack of excitement around going to the gym, Shaun says a lot of employees simply don’t make use of their gym membership, which the company is paying for, which means money is going to waste. This is where the running club comes in, Shaun says: “My main goal is to provide an engaging alternative to corporate gym memberships… I want people to exercise together as a group and I think running clubs really do that.”
Reprogramming how we approach running
There are different factors that put people off running, including simply not enjoying the idea, however Shaun believes that the primary reasons are not finding time and the competitive nature of running. Running can be tricky if there are lots of people out on the streets. This is why in the first instance, Shaun tries to encourage participants by explaining that “you’re on a journey so what you are like now, how fit you are now, isn’t what you’ll be like in 10 weeks’ time and the most important thing you need to do is to enjoy that journey and if you do you’ll stick with it”.
To get the most out of a run requires good technique and mobility, which is why Shaun believes it is important to prepare before you go out, using dynamic mobility stretches and strength and conditioning exercises to warm up. He also recommends that runners specifically focus on the legs and around the hips because “things like squats are really great for runners and you can’t ignore core work.”
And while it doesn’t require spending hundreds of pounds on new kit, Shaun does recommend investing in a good pair of shoes, so as to avoid injury, and seeing a physio, or someone that’s experienced in running who can give you advice on your technique.
A happier alternative to corporate gym memberships
Some of the feedback that Shaun has received really highlights the impact that his work run club concept is having on participating companies. According to Shaun, one testimony in particular said that it “allowed employees to become more embedded in their company and happier in their work.” And the fact that Let’s Get Running is working with some well-known clients, such as MasterCard and Moet, suggests the approach is taking off.
However, the main challenge is getting people to become regular runners whether they’re in an office or not, which is why Shaun says his greatest achievements are when he sees clients who “have really enjoyed the running and have actually stuck at it and they are now doing it regularly, so that kind of brings me a lot of satisfaction.”
To find out more about Shaun and his experienced coaching team, take a look at Let’s Get Running. Proviz are also pleased to support his work and are offering Let’s Get Running members a 15% discount on all products.