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GYM SERIES “There’s an


opportunity to improve the instruction provided to


members who currently use treadmills to train”


Research from ukactive, IHRSA and The Leisure Database Company identifi ed that only 5 per cent of gym members make use of personal trainers – yet around 50 per cent of members use treadmills. Through the provision of education, operators are presented with opportunities to grow their revenue by improving the indoor running experience. Hewitt explains: “Maintaining motivation through entertainment is just a part of the story. In order to fully enjoy a running experience both indoors and out, and ensure that people remain injury-free, education is an important factor. Correct technique makes running more effi cient and halves injury rates. There’s an opportunity to improve the instruction provided to members who currently use treadmills to train.” Indeed, research from Harvard


University found that 80 per cent of amateur runners are injured annually, and this is driven by incorrect technique. A growing number of companies within the sector therefore offer coaching for both novice and experienced runners who want to improve their technique and remain injury-free. For example, Running Unlimited has


partnered with Lee Saxby – one of the world’s top running experts – with the long-term intent of developing a national running curriculum. Its fi rst step towards this is to provide expert guidance on running technique and training plans to fi tness clubs’ PTs and fi tness instructors, delivered by Saxby’s training clinic team. These two-day Running Specialist courses are REPs-accredited, delivering all- important CPD points. Alternatively gyms could offer specialist


classes, with the option of charging extra. Rob Beale, head of sports, health & fi tness at David Lloyd Leisure, says: “We have certainly seen an interest in members


Operators could offer outdoor running clubs supported by gym-based training


wanting to be involved in running clubs. In response, we’ve been able to offer more specifi c training programmes. These range from trekking classes – which take place indoors on treadmills – through to outdoor running clubs and triathlon clubs.”


TEACHING PEOPLE TO RUN Operators might also learn from external running specialist companies such as Full Potential, which coaches and educates runners on technique. According to director Richard Coates, the company has seen a signifi cant growth in fi rst-time charity runners over the last 12 months: “Since re-launching our website, we’re taking a much higher number of bookings each day. We offer free training days for events such as the London Marathon and plan to increase these while expanding our reach around the country. “We also provide private coaching and


tailored training packages. For under £50, runners can receive a 14-week training plan, expert advice, support and regular updates for their target race at the end of the training programme.” And for those members who can’t afford personal running coaching, step


66 Read Health Club Management online at healthclubmanagement.co.uk/digital forward Star Trac Coach™ – virtual


running coaching, accessed via the treadmill’s integrated screen, led by professional coach Kimberley Shah. Shah explains: “The treadmill has increasingly become a piece of equipment that members are using not just for a warm- up but as a key focus of their workouts. The main objectives of Star Trac Coach were to make it easy to use, and to provide motivation and education.” To address the common practice of indoor runners simply hitting the ‘quick start’ button, the programme engages with users, focusing on technique and form and also allowing them to formulate a proper, personalised cardio workout. Shah continues: “While going at one pace for an entire workout can be benefi cial, the body will adapt over time. Star Trac Coach offers variety in a motivating manner.” Suppliers are certainly leading the way,


offering equipment and entertainment options that enhance the indoor running experience. Operators now need to maximise this opportunity, engaging members and personal trainers alike to ensure the treadmill remains at the heart of people’s running habits. ●


February 2013 © Cybertrek 2013


© DOTSHOCK/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM


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