January is always a very testing time when you’re a runner. The combined impact of a lack of daylight hours, maybe a bit of running downtime over Christmas and then this year some seriously cold days and nights all makes it extremely challenging to get out the door and get running. Which is why it’s been really inspiring for us Run Leaders to see the enthusiastic faces of our runners when we meet up.
The 38 new beginners have been amazing. One of the Petersfield groups were scheduled to run for the first time last Thursday evening, when the snow was forecast to hit. We had numerous discussions amongst the Run Leaders about whether we’d still go ahead and we decided that it was better to not cancel and if unable to run, at least meet up at the pub and chat about the course. As it happened, some beginners did show, did the run and have now got the idea that “if I can do that, I can do anything”. Sometimes adversity is your friend!
One lovely email, which made us smile:
Just wanted to say thank you so much for tonight. It was great to do something for myself. I was really out of my comfort zone, I find it hard to come to things where I don't know anybody but I'm pleased I did. See you next week.
At the other end of the running scale, it is of course Marathon training season for those taking on a Spring 26.2. We have four runners training for their first marathon this year, another 4 are taking on Ultras and there is a mad enthusiasm in just about every group to enter 10ks or Half Marathons. This is just great to see. Clare and Peggy have buddied up and put together a great plan for 2017 : “a medal a month”. The first medals were achieved last week in a 10k at Bushy Park and now they’re training for the next!
We’re all concerned when facing a new challenge, whether it’s the beginners wondering whether they can run for 6 x 3 minutes next week, or the marathon runner wondering how they’ll do once they’re above 10 miles on a training run. This is when a big part of a Run Leader’s job becomes helping the runner to manage her head! Many of our runners could do with a t-shirt emblazoned with “I’m a much better runner than I think I am”. So we advise and encourage and remind them of how they’ve improved and little by little, watch their confidence increase.
Not every honey is interested in entering races of course. Or at least they think they’re not! We have a Parkrun Challenge about to kick off, which is a great way for a runner to get used to the idea of trying to better their own time over a course. We’re setting a challenge of “the most improved runner on a Parkrun over the months of February and March”. That’s enough to get lots of us out of bed early on a Saturday!
It’s satisfying to see yourself improve as a runner but it’s just incredibly rewarding to be involved with over 100 runners whose performance and fitness is on the up!
A couple more testimonials from those who’ve come through previous beginners courses:
I started in Sept on the beginners course. Have never run before. Now i'm running 5k, 3 times a week and have done two park runs. Bloody amazing! I'm also losing weight (but not on a diet), feel fitter and happier and have made new friends.
A year down the line and I'm still running! Never thought I would enjoy it so much. Lovely, supportive people to run with and great run leaders who inspire and motivate and keep the sessions fun and interesting. If don't think you're a runner but have an urge to give it a go, RunnyHoneys is definitely the club for you!
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