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Welcome to Week  6

Lack of sleep or just life getting in the way can make it hard to lace up your trainers; even with all my years of running experience I still sometimes battle with myself as doubt can creep into my head when I wake up on the morning of a run/race.  But as my husband reminded me recently  “You have to run as running gives you your superstrength of never giving up, running gives you your tenacity and your determination that enables you to keep going.  He is right, for me running is so much more than keeping fit, it's a time to process thoughts, spend some time on my own (was brilliant therapy when my girls were teenagers), meet new people and get out in the fresh air.  

Here's the start of my running journery :)

At what age do we stop enjoying running? We are built to run and as children we run everywhere, around the playground, down to the shops, running just because we could and it was fun.  When did that fun stop? 

 I clearly remember the day that I stopped enjoying running and became self-consciences, it had been our school sports day, I can’t remember what I had taken part in but I remember walking with my mum down the street and some other children were laughing at me and pointing out my beetroot face, I hadn’t been aware of this, I’d just run and enjoyed it, now I felt stupid with my sweaty big beetroot face.  I’m not sure girls in the 1970’s were meant to get hot and sweaty, in fact how long has that stigma lasted? How many times are female athletes scrutinized over their appearance when they are in the deep throws of a race/jump/football match/swim, Rebecca Adlington was famously affected by the negative press attention that she received about her appearance and not about the Gold medal that she won!

After my initiation into the awareness of what sport made me look and feel like I was a reluctant athlete in secondary school, I’d attempt to try out for the Netball trails, I never got into the team, it seemed that only the girls who were chosen for the teams where the girls in the top form, the thirteen-year-old awkward girl who never felt good enough and who got a big shiny beetroot face soon gave up.  What other teachers who taught the school curriculum discouraged students to excel in their topic, in Math if you weren’t good enough you were encouraged, supported until you achieved, why didn’t that happen in PE? In fact I was actively encouraged to not attend PE lessons, the fake sick notes were never questioned excusing me from lessons, hiding in the bushes on the cross country run until the group came back round was never noticed and I certainly can’t remember attending a parent’s evening where my parent’s questioned my sporting ability, they certainly questioned other subjects but never PE.  You guessed it I just gave up and took up smoking instead, I was quite good at that as it turned out.

Fast forward twenty years with 2 small children in tow and the smoking habit kicked, my Dad was now a seasoned runner having himself kicked his smoking habit and he had returned to his beloved sport now in his 40’s.  He ran most weekends and with 2 small children and a naval husband who was away a lot of the time, I spent many hours supporting Dad at his various races.  I enjoyed the atmosphere and the time away from the children and was mildly curious about these events.

We were away one Christmas in France and as Dad was getting ready for his run, I asked if I could join him, of course he said yes and off I went.  I couldn’t breathe, I thought I was dying, my chest was so tight and my legs were on fire. But Dad said to me “Slow down, take a walk break, then go again.  Run and walk in between lamp posts” and do you know what, I did and I was hooked, I could breathe, I was given permission to walk and recover.  The weather was perfect, cold and crisp but I was doing it, I was actually doing it.  I felt strong and invincible, was I a runner, could I be a runner, would this be a possibility?  On returning to our cottage my mum asked if I was ok (remember my bright red beetroot face?) I think she thought I was going to pass out but from that moment on I couldn’t wait to get out and do it again.  Running gave me a super strength that I’d never had before, it made me feel good about myself. And that’s how I started, run/walk in-between lamp posts, slowly slowly building up to running 2 lamp posts, then 3 until I was running 3 miles without stopping.

Running has changed my life, I wish I had been encouraged as a teenager but like so many others, boys and girls, it was always about competition, beating people or other schools, it was about winning and not so much about just taking part and enjoying it.  Some running clubs are still like that and I will share my experiences of this with you at a later date but the reason I set up RunVerity was because I believe in inclusivity, regardless of ability, as I know how much running can change people’s lives.

It is hard to lace your trainers up and head out of the door and sometimes we can let doubt creep in and whisper words of discouragement, but at RunVerity, my belief is that anyone can learn how to run. I hopefully have given you the tools that should have been given to you at school, your chronological age may be older but your training age is still young.  We have learnt the basics of Agility, Balance and Co-ordination, all the fundamentals and building blocks that you need to form a good solid foundation base for you to build upon.

How to deal with rude comments when out running

So not only is it hard getting out and running with the battle in our heads but what about when we do put our trainers on and then someone feels it necessary to shout rude comments to runners. I get so cross when I hear about RV runner’s encounters with rude people who felt it was appropriate to shout insults and over the last couple of weeks I’ve heard quite a few stories that have really upset some people. It is very easy to be caught off guard by these comments, I've had rotten fruit thrown at me so I’ve been doing a bit of research  and have come with a few top tips on how to deal with rude people and I hope it will help.

  • Try not to take it personally, and this is hard, as it seems to be directed at you, but you don’t know how many times they have rolled own their car window and shouted at people or what they have said to other people in that day, so let if roll off your back and don’t dignify them with a response. Don't let it in.

  • Avoid getting angry and this will be tough, but stiffle your anger and ignore them, if it is impossible you could ask them if they feel better, this could confuse them as they may not have expected this and arguing will not accomplish anything but ruining your day and your run. You could ask them to repeat the comment again but more slowly, this usually shuts them up.

  • Try not to get into an argument with the rude person, nothing good ever comes from arguing with rude people, turn your attention to someone or something else, let it drop and run on and away from them or the situation. Is this really worth losing my cool over this?

  • Dealing with rude people is an unfortunate part of life sometimes and as runners we get our fair share but the key is not letting them get the best of you, so shoulders back, head tall, if you let them know you’re upset, they are more likely to continue the comments in the future :)

My aim is to help you learn how to run, help you improve, to give you advice and show you where you may be going wrong. Running correctly enables you to run more efficiently and therefore the idea is that it becomes easier and less of a chore.

Homework Week 6

Build on the base of the last 6 weeks, slow down, focus on your posture and breathing and go out for a total of 40 mins.  Run and walk whenever you want to and focus on how you feel, if you feel uncomfortable, slow it down, if you feel your posture going, check where your shoulders and arms are. And remember to enjoy it x