Its nearly time for the first #icanrunclub_Ipswich session and I thought I ought to tell you a little bit about myself and why I believe in what the club has to offer.
I think that perhaps some of you might be a little nervous about joining and may have a few pre-conceived ideas as to what “Emma the fitness instructor’ might be like.
First of all, I’m a mother and a wife. My husband and I have been together longer than I dare remember and our son is 15 going on 27. I love them both very much and they’ve both been incredibly supportive.
I’m also the wrong side of 40 and have been overweight all my life. I like prosecco - and crisps. I’m quite possibly the most unlikely woman to set up a running and fitness group ever – I think that makes me even more determined though!
I trained to be an Occupational Therapist when my son was small and I now work in an NHS trust in Dementia Research. I think OT has given me the grounding to understand how important it is for people to be engaged in meaningful activity – and if that activity fails – how devastating it can be.
This was me for the umpteenth time last year. The second time trying Couch to 5k and the millionth time trying an exercise I wanted to stick at.
I started the NHS Couch to 5K programme in the spring of 2013 and graduated that summer with a hot and sweaty 5k. The first couple of weeks of the programme I just went round and round my small local park - the dog walkers must have wondered what I was I doing!
I ran 5k again two or three times after then but I just wasn’t feeling it. It was really hard to do without walking and when I walked I felt like I’d failed. My legs also really hurt afterwards, they would take maybe two days to recover. I began to dread that feeling and would put off going for my runs again and again and again. After a while I figured I’d failed again and stopped completely.
In the autumn of 2013 I tried to get out again, doing shorter runs - just trying to do SOMETHING. Getting out of the front door is single handedly the most difficult thing for me to do. Feeling confident in myself, my body and what I was choosing to do became more of a challenge than the actual running.
I’d joined some running groups on facebook and someone mentioned ‘Jeffing’- It was a revelation.
‘Jeffing’ is a running method that's huge in America. It was started by Jeff Galloway, Olympian and marathoner and the founder of the run-walk-run method (www.jeffgalloway.com). It promotes planned walk breaks during running to prevent injury. At first I found it hard to get my head around. Walking during a run? It’s ok? What?
I looked into it in a bit more detail..
By walking during your running you’re using different muscles which, in turn prevents injury. The beauty of the run-walk-run method is that beginners, older people, heavier people, anyone can achieve great things while experiencing those special hormones that result in the legendary ‘runners high’.
It just results in masses of happy achievements and no injuries – what’s not to love?
I thought I’d try it.
Well, this was an altogether different experience. I felt in control. I felt fast. I felt amazing! It was so strange – actually ALLOWING myself to walk FORGIVING myself for walking and to top it off – it was the realisation that no-one else cares if you run or walk – you are your biggest critic.
Once I had psychologically got over the fact I was walking during my run and if I did it was no-one else’s business and that – in Jeffs words ‘I was the captain of my ship’ - it was like a lightbulb had gone on.
I began to fall in love with running again and have run most weeks since then as well as entered a few 10k's too.
I won’t lie – it’s still hard to get out the front door sometimes - but Jeffing makes it achievable. I feel so passionately about this method of running I want to shout it from the roof tops. I helped set up a facebook group – there’s almost 2000 of us Jeffers across the world – you can’t tell me they all think walking is cheating can you?
I’ve roped a few people this year into Jeffing and they’ve loved it too. Two of my very close friends - are converts.
It was with them on a random running weekend in the Peak District that I started dreaming about a running club where everyone Jeffed , people had fun and made friends while achieved things they never felt possible… just by starting out doing a little bit. I also wanted to create a space where people who already run and have got some fitness but perhaps life has been busy or they feel out of practice can come along and get started again. Don’t worry about the run/walk if you’re used to running non stop – you can go at the front! I’m staying at the back to make sure no-one gets left behind.
And here we are. I’ve completed a Leadership in Running Fitness course, got approval from the council and bought everything that I need. There’s only one thing missing….
I can’t wait to meet you all.