Workplace wellbeing templates
At a recent workplace wellbeing seminar I was speaking to somebody who was looking at introducing a number of initiatives to her company.
She asked if I had any ‘templates’ to get started with, which I didn’t, but I thought it was a great idea.
So I’m going to produce a number of templates based on my areas of expertise, and make them freely available on the byGA website.
Starting with this one, for beginning a run group aimed at complete beginners.
Launching a beginner running group
There are loads of ideas why this can be a good idea to introduce to your company.
They are low cost to run, get people moving together in the fresh air, and are relatively straight forward to set up.
There are many beginner running programs available, but if you’re here reading this think I may have something to offer, I would be more than happy for you to use my own Beginner’s Luck 10 week program for free if you did decide to go ahead with this.
This is the same program I use in my book Beginner’s Luck Guide for Non-Runners, and is downloadable for free from this page.
7 Steps To Launch
1) Find an internal champion to drive the program!
This is the most important element, because without a leader you won’t be able to get this off the ground.
Somebody needs to be already passionate about running, and keen to help others get into the sport.
As this is a group for beginners, the good news is that they don’t have to be a lightning quick marathon runner – just somebody who has got a bit of experience of getting out there and going for a run.
2) Gauge initial interest
You don’t need dozens of people to make this work, and in fact there are advantages to testing the waters with just a small group.
Ask people who work on site if anybody would be interested in learning how to run through a 5-10 week beginner program.
Posters, intranet, email, word of mouth… at this stage you just want to get an idea of potential interest.
Get people talking about it and if it feels like there’s going to be enough interest move onto step 3…
3) Set a start date and time
My recommendation for the first group would be to limit it to 10 people.
If your run leader is more experienced you may choose to open up to higher numbers, but if they’re new to it the smaller group will make it easier to manage.
Advertise the group at least 3 weeks in advance, and ask people to sign up through whatever system works best for you.
Paper and pen in the canteen, an email opt-in, emailing the run leader directly…
You want to get firm commitment at this stage, as some people inevitably won’t be able to make the logistics work.
4) Be clear on what the program involves
At this stage of communication it’s important that everybody understands how it’s going to work.
My recommendation is to lead a group run once a week, and encourage everybody to complete 2 additional runs in their own time.
This has proven to be a successful model with a good balance of group motivation and leadership, and independent, confidence-building solo sessions.
Make it clear that the program is specifically for complete beginners – those who would struggle to run for a bus, or who ‘aren’t built for running’.
This removes one of the biggest barriers to getting started, which is when somebody doesn’t feel as though they will be able to keep up, or won’t fit in.
5) Run England Run Leaders
Your company insurance policy may require some level of qualification for an individual to run a course like this.
If this is the case, Run England have a number of one day courses available for around £160 that will not only tick all the right boxes but could lead to a more effective program.
6) Session delivery
The most important thing to consider when delivering a session is that the group stays together (another reason why smaller numbers can work well at first!)
You want everybody to come away with a sense of achievement, having got the first session under their belts.
It would be helpful to have a back marker as well as the Run Leader, though not essential.
My Beginner’s Luck program works on time rather than distance. Which means that as group you can gather together again during the walk breaks if things start to spread out in the run intervals.
Running on a simple loop and aiming to keep the pace not much faster than a walk will give everybody the chance to build initial confidence.
7) Solo sessions
At the end of the group run, everybody should be encouraged to do their ‘homework’; i.e. the additional 2 runs they have committed to.
These will build on the group session, and should have at least a day of rest in between them.
There may be other factors you may need to consider when you set up a beginner running program, but hopefully this template gives you a starting point, and outlines some of the key aspects that should be considered.
If you have any questions or plan to set something up in your organisation, I’d be happy to share more of my insights with you.