What prompted you to join the RunVerity beginner's course?
After years of trying to find an exercise I could fit in with two small boys and a demanding job I started ‘jogging’ with a friend after work. We had no idea what pace to run at or even knew there was a technique. There was no warm up or cool down going on, we just went slow so that we could chat the whole way round and be back in time for kids bath time. In fact it wasn’t even jogging, it was an up tempo walk!
A few months later (after I’d given up the ‘jogging’ as it wasn’t really doing anything - no surprise there then!), I saw a friend running through the park near me and she said she’d just signed up for a beginners running course at Whiteley and suggested I give it a go.
It was November, I had 10 months of ineffective exercise and poor eating habits behind me and Christmas was looming, something had to change there and then. I came straight home and googled Run Verity, the website sounded too good to be true - these were normal people doing fantastic things and reaping the benefits of doing it together. I signed my twin Brother up at the same time, so that he had a reason to leave work on time and to get to know new people. We started in January 2017 and cannot believe the improvement we’ve made, but better still we’ve made some fab friends who genuinely support each other every step of the way.
What difference has joining this course made to you and your running?
My Tuesday evenings are now sacrosanct, no matter how tired I am after work I make sure I’m there because I know how great (and even a little bit smug in the office the next day!) I feel afterwards. The group sessions accommodate everyone’s stage in their running journey, there are nights when I’m happy to go faster and do more miles and other nights when I’m happy running along chatting to all the new people, encouraging them as others did with me in those early days. Since I joined RV I’ve regularly run at the Fareham Park Run - my Husband and oldest Son have got the bug too and come along, a number of 10k runs, the Great South Run and in October my Brother and I will be doing our first half marathon in Cardiff. I used to look at the more experienced runners in the group and think a half marathon was just what ‘real runners’ could do, but now I’m about to. Its daunting but the training runs and fantastic advice and encouragement from Verity has helped us to work towards this bucket list goal. I am amazed by how much you can retrain your body to really push yourself, to have the stamina to do speed and hill training (its a work in progress for me) and see yourself getting stronger and faster, its a real feel good factor that is an added bonus of this running lark.
In addition to all of this I’ve lost some weight, toned up and have more energy which is always a bonus. I constantly tell people at work that its the running that’s done it and I hope I can inspire some of them to just get out there, fight the fear and do it anyway. What is there to lose, apart from a couple of quid on some decent trainers?
How has being coached improved your running?
None of us are born knowing how to run, well not how to run properly anyway. Like many things in life we need a guide, someone who knows what they’re talking about, someone who has been there and done it, failed sometimes and got back up again. Verity is someone who clearly takes their role as Coach seriously, she talks as though she’s privileged to have all of us but really its the other way round. A good coach genuinely wants to see others achieve things even if that means stepping out of a comfort zone and doing things they never thought possible. They get to know how far you’re prepared to go in your journey, what obstacles you might be challenged by and work with you to find a way through.
Luckily I’ve not had any injuries so far, that might be sheer luck but I honestly believe its because I’ve been trained effectively to avoid it. To this very day I always remember Verity’s words for an effective running technique - use your arms, breath and don't go out too fast, and above all have fun with it. It’s certainly that!
What would you say to anyone who was thinking of joining the RunVerity Beginner's running course?
Get on and sign up! Don’t take our word for it come and give it a go! You only have to see the ever increasing numbers of slightly apprehensive people arriving for their first beginner’s session to realise there’s a real buzz about RV. Look at them again at the end of their 8wk course and they are estatic about what they’ve achieved. There’s a session to suit even the busiest of people, with classes during the day and evening, so if even if you’re just a little bit intrigued come along and see what an hour can do for you. You’ll be very welcome.