Joining a Running Club?

I have been running now for almost 2 years, I have always run alone for various reasons:

If i run with other people would I keep up?

If I joined a club would they be nice and would I fit in?

I run early in the morning and don’t particularly like running on an evening.

Is it going to cost a fortune?

Can I commit to a once/twice weekly meet?

Over the last few weeks/months I have gone backwards as forwards in my mind whether to join a club or remain running on my own. One thing primarily has stopped me: FEAR!  I tried running with a club on a Sunday a few weeks back, wonderful bunch of people, great run through Sutton Park, really beautiful surroundings, and amazingly no cost involved.  My problem is that Sundays are my long run day on the lead up to the marathon my training will require me running much further than the 10k for the group run, so sadly I have had to look at other options.

I had heard a lot of really positive talk about Aldridge Running Club via members and through the grapevine, so I took the plunge last night, overcame my fears and reservations and went for it.

Right from my first contact with them via Facebook the response was wonderful, I was given information and made to feel welcome.  I got to their venue at the Stick and Wicket in Aldridge a little early (I am always early! lateness is a pet hate) and mustered up the courage to enter an already very busy Social Club.  My terror overtaking me i was so close to turning around and running for the hills (or car park at least) but I didn’t, I have to face my fears ‘I can and I will’.  I was approached by the lady who had chatted with my via Facebook and instantly I felt at ease, she explained everything to me and to my joy there were 2 other girls starting too, plus a gentleman who had only been the week previously and looked like he had been there a lifetime.

I fully intended to do the Melish 6 route (6 miles) but when my two newby partners annouced they were doing the Industrial 4 route (4 miles) I backed out of the 6 and felt safer staying as a threesome.  The room filled to almost capacity and the Vice Chair announced a reel of PB’d from Park Runs, the results from those who ran the London Marathon and a few other snippits of info, then off we went.

The club provide a front runner, back runner and an in betweener too.  Plus as newbies we were assigned a buddy which was taken on by one of long standing male runners, bless him he really made me feel at ease chatting as we ran.  As the run progressed everyone slips into their own pace and the group gradually breaks up, I chatted with a couple of runners and then ended up on my own, which was fine and thankfully I managed to keep the person in front of me in my sights as I was not a 100% sure where I needed to go. 4 miles down the run was completed and it felt great.

I got chatting to another couple of members and even got semi talked into possibly joining the Cross Country Team in the winter. Something i never thought I would even consider but you know what I may just join that team!

Club running was ace, I loved it, I loved the company, I loved the support, I loved hearing everyone’s banter and most of all I loved feeling part of something. Why I have wasted so long thinking about it I will never know!


80 Minute Long Run

Today’s training run was 80 minutes, pace Easy.

I set up my watch but stupidly set two alerts on it, one for heart rate min and max, the other for pace min and max. I was so determined to stay within the easy zone, but after 10 minutes massively regretted the two alerts they drove me potty. What went through my head when I thought both would be useful??? 

Staying within the easy heart rate zone is so difficult I feel at times that I would be walking if I slowed down enough to keep my heart rate as low as it should be within this zone.  There apparently is method behind the madness and I am learning the whys from. Dr Phillip Maffetone’s book as we speak.  His philosophy and teaching is to slow right back, from what I have read each person he has trained also struggles and cannot understand the reasoning behind it but go on to say it really works.  I will keep trying though I am sure I will get there. 

Today was also my first try with energy gels, with it being an 80 Minute run I thought I would give one a go. In honesty I am really not sure I like them, sickly sweet and of course ever so slightly warm from being in my pocket! Thankfully I had been warned not to down the whole lot in one go, in actual fact I only managed half anyway. Perhaps they are an acquired taste and will grow on me, perhaps I will find other ways to fuel my body for the marathon!!?? 

With my long runs increasing I think I may need something to keep me going during them and when I think in October I have to run the distance between home and Droitwich nothing short of a small miracle with suffice. 

TomTom Multi-Sport Cardio

I bought my Multi-Sport Cardio over a year ago now and it has become one of my most valued pieces of equipment, even more so now I am using it properly to assist with my training.

I needed something that what going to record more than one sport my main two are running and cycling.  I started out with a Samsung Gear to go with my phone but found its accuracy a little suspect.  I could run for 13 miles and it would record 8??!! So after deliberating and driving myself nuts researching and confusing myself and also not wanting to spend an absolute fortune (at the stage of buying it I was still only a beginner and whether i sustained the running/cycling was debatable!) I went to TomTom a brand i trust as i have used their SatNavs for years.

My TomTom spent its first year purely recording, time, pace and heart rate as I didn’t even consider it main purpose, to help you train! (yes i am blonde!!)  So now that I am on a training plan for my Half Marathon in April, followed by my Full Marathon in October I am tackling all these weird and wonderfully named training sessions like threshold, fartlek, continuous hills & progression.

Enter my Multi-Sport’s new and truly incredible use…..

It has a built in heart rate monitor, an absolute must if you want to avoid chest straps

It pairs via bluetooth with my Samsung S6 making it so easy to download my run/cycle info to the TomTom app

It can be set for training in several different areas:

Race which i have not used yet! Goals which can be set on your time, distance or calories, I use this now regularly for my long run timing.

Zone which can be set to measure and keep you in a certain pace zone or heart rate zone.

Laps I use when doing progress training, I set the lap time i.e 10 minutes and the amount of laps, the Multi-Sport vibrates at the end of each 10 minute section so you know to move onto the next stage.

Intervals the most used training section on this watch for me, I use this for the threshold training and hill training and do not know why i have never used it before it is awesome.  I set a warm up time, a work time, a recovery time, the amount of sets and then a cool down time. The Multi-Sport vibrates at the end of each section so you don’t even need to look at it which in winter when piled up with layers its a total blessing

There is one more element to the watch that I haven’t covered, swimming.  Mainly because I don’t at the moment go swimming and if I do it is not for training purposes, but the bonus to the swimming means the Multi-Sport is totally waterproof.


I even manged to get myself a girly pink strap for it.

I love my TomTom Multi-Sport so much and would recommend to anyone who wants a really good, accurate, easy to use training watch.

My Why

Why do I run?

Why do I love running?

Why did I start running?

Here is my Why! 

On my 40th Birthday I did my best to look great for my party.  I tried to look confident and happy as I was so grateful that so many people made such an effort to be there.

In honesty I wasn’t!  I hated myself. I hated the way I looked. Every step, move, word was painful because all I felt was a mess.

I was overweight, unfit, un-confident and very  unhappy.  

When I looked back at the photos I felt even worse. God forbid someone had also video’d me dancing and did no more than plaster it all over Facebook. To this day all I feel is shame and embarrassment.  
The only person who could change it was me. Moan all I like no one could help me unless I helped myself. 

I joined Slimming World and started cycling. The weight dropped off with alot of hard work and commitment. 

2 stone 4lbs lighter I was at a weight I had dreamt about but I was still unhappy with how I looked. 

I am also a total stress head, I worry about worrying about worrying!

My work colleague told me running was a great way to let go. He told me when you run everything goes, everything disappears. All you have is you and the run.

‘I can’t run’ I told him. ‘It hurts too much’ I said. Then I got to thinking how can I say these things when  I have never tried? So I donned my trainers and got out there.

I hated every second. I was right, I couldn’t run and it did hurt…. way too much.  NEVER again I told myself. But when I got home I realised that I actually felt a great sense of achievement. 

So that’s where it started. 

Little by little….. bit by bit….. I built up my run time and slowly my speed.  I will never be a time trial hero but I can see my speed improving. I don’t do it for speed I do it because I love it.

Now when I run I get the time I am out there clearing my head. It is like a mental filing session. Everything slots itself into place without me having to work at it. I can run, get home and then realise that I have no idea what I have thought about for the hour I have been out.  Sometimes I even struggle to remember my route!

I love running  because it has changed my life.

It has given me a calm I have never experienced, I has given me more confidence, it is helping to make me look better and feel better, it is giving me back to me.

Running is hard work, every run brings a new challenge, a new experience a new pain! 

But every run I conquer and defeat my demons bit by bit.

 That is why I love running.

That is why I run.

That is why i keep running.