This month Runner’s WorldÂ UKÂ are running an article featuring none other than my Wednesday night running club, Elvet Striders! Pretty exciting stuff for us Purplies.
On Wednesday I made it back to my running club for the first time since before Christmas. It feltÂ so good to run with them again, and then when I saw the article celebrating running clubs, I wanted to
copyÂ join in the party and share my own running group propaganda.
I was very nervous about joining the club: what if they were too fast? What if it wasn’t for me? How do I run without my headphones? On my first night I introduced myself to a woman who made sure I was put into a suitable group, and we set off. I kept one earphone in because I had actually never run without music, and before I knew it, we had just run 11k on a Wednesday night.
On a Wednesday! Usually my mid-week runs were 6-8k, and I did a 10k at the weekend. But if I could do 11k on a Wednesday, why shouldn’t I aim for 13 or 14 on a weekend? And thus began my development as a runner.
Running with a running group made doing races much more accessible – Â I chatted to people about different events, and started proudly wearing purple when racing. Every Strider who raced on the weekend was celebrated in a weekly roundup email, and every regular Wednesday run was something new: off-road, hill runs, track work, and road running.
With the support of the group, I have set and achieved lots of goals: my first half marathon, my half marathon PB, trained for my first marathon and fared better that I had hoped! There is nothing more inspiring than chatting with runners who are some 30 years older than me about the marathon they ran on the weekend. Plus my sappy little heart loves celebrating the success of everyone in the group:Â here is our 2014Â yearbookâ€¦..
All clubs are different. Ours is about having a good time and doing your best on the day, and another local club focuses a lot more on times and league points. Some clubs have a coach who really work with everyone on their goals and technique, where as others are about like-minded people coming together. Gilly has achieved someÂ amazingÂ goals with her running club, and mine has gently encouraged me to identify my goals and work to smash them.
On Wednesday, we did a 4k warm up, hill repeats, and then a 3k cool down. Apparently my secret is not-so-secret anymore, and I was told that Â I was ‘carrying a bit of extra weight, so we did wonder’. And this is the other best bit about running clubs: everyone was soooooooo nice during the run, and even though I only ran up half the hill Â (it’s a bloody steep hill), everyone called out ‘well done!’, even though they ran up the whole thing. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you do your best in the moment!
So, if you’re a bit intimidated about joining a club, or you’re wanting to make running more established in your routine, or you’re looking for a way to push yourself to the next step, I cannot recommend joining a club enough. You can usually try it out for a couple of weeks before you commit to joining, so what is there to lose?
And on a completely un-related topic, last night I found my dream car. Forget Lamborghinis, this one had disco lights, a karaoke machine, copious champagne, and a pole. Ladies and gentlemen, it turns out that my dream car is the Birmingham Fun Bus, which we rode on the way to a restaurant for a friend’s birthday. It was a huge shame that I couldn’t join in either the champagne or the pole. But I have bookmarked it for later. I think it’s appropriate transportation for a christening, right?