So, last week three brave things happened…
- I joined a running club
- I joined a book club
- I actually went to them both.
‘How to run? Just put one foot in front of the other!’
This is every ‘comedians’ quick response when I mention that I want to learn to run. To be fair, I was a little puzzled when I first heard there were classes; I mean, how hard can it be?
Then I tried running.
Turns out – pretty damn hard! If you haven’t been shown how to pace yourself, how to warm up properly, how to cool down and how to not be sick afterwards *raises hand* then a ‘beginners running club’ is the ideal way to get started.
The team at Regency Runners kindly took me, and about thirty others, under their wing last Thursday for week one of their ‘learn to run’ ten week program:
In just 10 weeks you will be able to run 5km, guided along the way by a team of five leaders using their knowledge and own experience of running. As well as group running sessions each week, the course focuses on learning about all aspects of running to build confidence and prevent injury. It covers technique, safety and recommendations on what kit to wear with a fun group warm up and post run stretch with every session. RR.
The first thing we did was a warm up exercise that combined jogging on the spot with listening to how the 10 week program works, no standing still here. Intros were followed by the
real intermediate-level runners going off to do star jumps in a round (apparently possible) and us beginners being asked to lunge across the park.
This was the point I remembered why I signed up in Winter, when it’s pitch black and no one can see the fact I can’t lunge without falling over.
Next, on to the running! This is where it got serious. We had successfully lunged/stumbled/rolled to the traffic lights and I had turned back happily secure in the fact that the park had low-lighting and whatever we did next would be covered by a cloak of darkness… Not so. The actual running part takes place *whispers* out..there..where the other people live. Once over the traffic lights the words ‘let’s run’ rang out, and suddenly off we went!
Beginners are told to pace themselves using the lamppost method – now I see why the park isn’t included – using the gaps between each post as a pacing exercise. We would walk the gap, then jog (never flat-out run) the next gap, then walk the next and so on. Of course this only works on nicely light streets (hello again bystanders). Never before have I appreciated town planning so much; light and lampposts were no longer this joggers enemy, they were my friends, my saviours! Within minutes I was in the perfect routine of desperately seeking each time-to-stop-running lamppost and dreading the time-to-start-again ones…
The good thing about running in a large group is that you will find somebody your pace, so you won’t be
dying running alone. Also, the kind leaders spread themselves out among the groups to check everyone was coping okay, no matter how far behind we they were. Despite communicating mainly in grunts me and my running neighbour Louise kept each other going, mainly because we felt equally embarrassed at our lack of fitness, and somehow we didn’t skip too many of the start-running-now lampposts.
On returning to the park gasping for breath, heaving and with a brilliant red face, I was told we’d just ran a mile. A MILE. Not bad for someone who won’t even run for the bus.
Click to find out more about Regency Runners where you can learn to run for just £25. I’m off to session two, where we will be ‘using relays to demonstrate and learn efficient running techniques’
– hopefully in the dark?!