Sam's Journey with RunVerity
WHAT MADE YOU JOIN RUN VERITY?
I first fell in love with running about 10 years ago but stopped when I met my husband and we started a family. I’d tried several times to get back into it, tagging along with friends who ran regularly but I could never keep up so just gave up again each time.
Early last year one of my closest friends signed up to RunVerity Beginners course and I saw my opportunity to tag along and get back into running again. We completed the beginners course together and graduated at the end of April 2017.
WHAT DIFFERENCE HAS JOINING RV MADE TO YOUR RUNNING?
During the beginners course my confidence grew as we gradually increased our distance and length of time running each week. When I had tried previously to run with my friends, I would beat myself up for not being as quick or as fit as them and if I’m honest I was too embarrassed to go out again. During the course with Verity I never felt like that and if I did have a wobble or a doubt, Verity already had the answers and could assure me that all these feelings were normal and lots of the others in the group were probably feeling the same. Quite often Verity would answer my questions or squash by doubts before I had even started to voice them myself - she just seemed to know at what stage I was at and what I needed to know or hear.
We had homework each week to do outside of the beginners session and I was really motivated to complete these runs, even when it was cold and dark or wet. I could feel the difference each week in my fitness and my confidence so I just wanted to do more and more! When I signed up to beginners I thought I had a pretty good running style - surely you just put one foot in front of the other, right? How wrong I was! Verity has taught me the correct running techniques to run efficiently and safely, avoiding injury. I still use the same drills we learnt in beginners every week before my runs. They have become second nature now.
During beginners we ran every Tuesday evening regardless of weather and we really bonded as a group. I wasn’t looking to make friends when I signed up, I just wanted help with motivation and confidence. 1 year on and I’ve met so many amazing people through RV sessions who I can genuinely call friends. What a bonus that was!
HOW HAS A COACHED GROUP IMPROVED YOUR RUNNING?
Once I had finished my beginners course i knew I wanted to continue with RunVerity, so I started running with one of the evening groups. I was a little nervous on the first night but I needn't have been - everyone was so friendly and welcoming and with the looping system we had been introduced too, I wasn’t worried about being left behind or not being able to run at my pace. Its coming up to 1 year since my beginners graduations and I haven’t looked back. I love the community aspect of RunVerity, I feel running with others is so much more fun and its definitely good for your soul. I work hard in my career and bringing up two little ladies isn’t easy so I really value my running time to clear my head. Its my ‘Me’ time and I LOVE it.
Not long after completing beginners I saw other members from group taking part in local races and I was inspired by their stories (and medals!) to enter a race myself. I entered a local 10k in July and used Veritys knowledge and training plans to get myself ready. Lots of other members from RV were doing it too and were very supportive of my training leading up to the big day. The support on race day was exceptional - We made sure that every member of RV were supported over the line and even looped back to run other member of our group over the finish line in the summer heat. I enjoyed the event so much with RV that I started asking everyone what else they had entered so I could enter too! Before I knew it I was building up to the Great South Run and my first half marathon in November. My dream of completing a marathon one day was starting to feel achievable...
I achieved that Marathon dream on Sunday - I ran an actual Marathon! in Paris! With 4 other members of RV. I have no doubt that I’ve achieved that because of Verity and the fantastic supportive community that she has created and continues to nurture. Marathon training was the toughest thing I have ever attempted but I was supported throughout by Verity and the group. I didn’t run a single training mile on my own and thats saying something out of 341 miles! I literally had someone from group with me every step of the way. During the Marathon on Sunday when I was finding it tough I used my phone to Facebook Live back to our RV group as I knew they would be supporting us and would help me find strength for those last few miles in the heat. I can’t thank Verity and everyone in RV enough for helping me achieve my Marathon dream. Hopefully in return I've inspired a few others to think about their next running challenge, no matter what the distance or the pace. I can’t wait for my next run with RunVerity.
Thank you so much Verity for all your help and virtual training, I could not of done it without you! When I spoke to you last year I was aiming for a sub 2 hour half marathon and 16 weeks later I’ve managed 1.46 at Brighton Half marathon!!!! Sooo chuffed...there is no limits!
What I love about our RV is that we run at our own personal, individual capability. We celebrate that! No one is left behind. Verity's coaching means we all get individual workouts to suit our stage of running. We don't feel dejected because we're trying to keep up with the fast ones but can't. One year ago, coming back from having a baby, I joined the Monday evening session. I was terrified that I would be last again. That those bullying, talented, faster runners that still haunt me from my school days would be trying to get me out of the way. It obviously wasn't like that at all! I felt so comfortable and supported by everyone and that hasn't changed. Because I enjoyed coming I came to a second group and gradually my speed, strength and confidence improved. I'm running my second half marathon next month and in October I ran my first marathon, I loved it so much I'm running my second marathon next May.
My 10 year old self would be amazed!
I started running 5 months ago. My first Park run, pre RV, I ran/walked in 36 minutes and felt like I was going to be sick when I crossed the finish line! 3 months since graduating from RV beginners and I have now run (all the way) a 10K and 8 mile race and knocked 7 minutes off my Park run time and now when I cross the finish line I feel Ok! If you would have told me 5 months ago that I would have achieved all of that in that amount of time, I wouldn't have believed you! It isn't ever easy but with the help from RV I now feel I can do it. Since joining I feel fitter, more confident and happier and have also met some lovely people.
I have always envied people who can run, never understanding why my attempts ended either in injury or motivation failure! So when I read about Verity's approach to teaching I was intrigued. Joining this group has become one of the best things I have ever done. In the beginning I could only manage to run a few paces and minutes but with Verity's instruction and the groups encouragement I slowly got stronger and fitter. Five months ago I couldn't run for a bus, now I just run - who needs a bus!
Before joining RunVerity, I always thought I knew how to run, well its just natural isn't it? But with Verity's expert advice and support, my running has improved more in a few weeks than in the previous 30 years! The format is relaxed and friendly, and we can run at our own improving pace, whilst still running together. I completed London marathon in 3 hours 27 minutes, something that I am very proud of.
I joined RunVerity as I had suffered a recent bereavement and was suffering with anxiety. I had always wanted to run and knew I needed a focus to help with my loss and anxiety. I chose to run through RunVerity rather then do it on my own as I know I needed an organised plan to start me running so I would keep running and I decided on RunVerity as it felt safe and supportive. The difference it has made is the motivation to run twice a week is there as I want to go with the group. It has helped build my confidence with running but also to encourage me to put myself in situations such as going to parkrun on my own which I know does bring on my anxiety, once I have run parkrun on my own I feel amazing. Having the sessions coached makes a difference as Verity supports all the runners but also helps people improve as runners. I have been attending the speed sessions and I can feel and see the improvement going to these sessions have made. I would recommend anyone to go to RunVerity as it is a friendly, supportive group that encourages people to want to be part of a team, in the different races I have taken part since joking RunVerity it is the only running group where everyone waits and cheers the last RunVerity runner over the finish line, also physically help you over the line if you have hurt yourself. I couldn't recommend it more.
If anyone had told me in January that I would be running the GSR and raising over £3000 I wouldn’t have believed them !!! I couldn’t run for a minute let alone a mile on the first night of my RV beginners course on that dark cold January evening.
Last year I plucked up the courage to join Run Verity with the hope of being able to just complete a Park Run. I laughed when people started saying "you'll be signing up for 5k & 10k runs soon". Well, I was well and truly bitten by the running bug & I did start signing up for the bigger runs just to see if I could do it. It has been hard work increasing the distance, but achievable with the support of my running buddy & our running group. We have now signed up for a half marathon & the training is going well. For us, long training runs are best done early morning & as the distance has increased we have introduced sweets for energy & are learning to carry a drink. My friend is great at planning lots of different routes to make it interesting.
I've never felt proud of myself, until I started crossing finish lines. It's hard work, but the sense of achievement, happiness & more importantly the great friends that I've made has been worth every footstep"
I was unhealthy well over weight and not interested in running but still to support my wife in her endeavor to get fit I went to my first run. I remember asking on the way to the session how far the run was. When Nicola replied 3 miles I started to panic looking for excuses to return home.
I made it round but something else happened on the route of that first session. For the first time since mum’s passing my brain paused. It paused because I was concentrating on breathing. The stillness which the run brought me inspired me to come back again. I trained not just to exercise my body but to relax my mind. I pushed myself and began to enjoy the sessions. Thinking I was a runner at this early stage I suffered the “terrible toos” (too much, too soon, too quickly) and I remember the frustration of not being able to run, as much because of the mental relief it gave me.
Running became meditation, a change to stop all the noise which life was throwing at me. 5k became 10k at my first race in Eastleigh in March 2017. Something I know my mum would have chuckled at me doing. One 10k turned into two, then three and suddenly The Great South Run!! Training got more serious but still proved the mental pause from life.
In March 2017 I ran my first Parkrun after finishing the RV Beginners course, and I experienced my first taste of the magic of running in a club. Since joining RV Beginners I had started running Parkruns whenever I could, and I had been gradually pushing out the distance I could run without dropping back to a walk. On the “graduation” Parkrun I was determined to use the extra boost of the sense of occasion and run the whole 5k, and I did. It took me about 40 minutes to do the run, but it was an awesome feeling.
It’s now the 2nd September 2017; roughly nine months since I pitched up at RV Beginners unable to run more than 2 minutes reliably without getting sore legs and feeling out of breath. I have disscovered that, actually, the reason that I go running is because I enjoy it, and I enjoy the company of my fellow runners – particularly my fellow Run Verity pals. Only occasionally do I think about the health benefits, and when this comes to mind it hits me in the stomach like a swarm of supercharged butterflies; I’m doing something that I enjoy, and its bloody good for me! Almost without exception, all of my previous hobbies, the things I’ve done to treat myself, have been harmful in one way or another. Running is now primarily for fun, the health benefits both incredible and incidental, and that’s beyond awesome for someone who was taught as a youngster that running was simply pain in the rain.