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So yes it is the final day of 2017, the day we all reflect on the 12 months gone past and get excited by the 12 months ahead of us.

Well at least thats how I feel today.

Last night I looked through my photos from this year to select one which summed up 2017, the picture at the top of this post…me doing my first ever Ultramarathon. What struck me while looking back at the year is how much running I actually did….now I know this might sound strange as I am a runner, but this year my business has grown in so many other directions I have done so many other incredible things as well as running.

So this post will outline the highlights of my year and hopefully inspire you to get involved with some of the programmes and events which I do year in year out as part of the Too Fat to Run movement

January

16832401_10155024770965477_4616946921006062829_nI started of 2018 with the intention of improving my speed. Over the winter I had slowed right down, but I took some of my own medicine and took part in Scream if You Want to Run Faster with 30 other women. I had knocked off almost 10 minutes the first time I did this programme while writing a book about improving your speed…I just had to follow my advice again. I really hit it hard with my CrossFit training too, loosing 3kg in their January weight loss challenge, which helped with the speed situation too.

January marked the first time my daughter Rose took part in running in an official way, she has grown up with me running so often tags along to events with me and accompanies me to certain things, but she had been bugging me to do junior parkrun for a while, so a few weeks after her 4th birthday I took her along. A few minutes into the run she announced “I don’t like running I like skipping” so that was that.

February

16939710_1179628225488126_6098244248182207809_nAll that speed work paid off as I tested my pace at the Winter Race…knocking 6 minutes off my PB for that route. It was a brilliant event with 30 or so women from the Too Fat to Run community. I loved spotting women in my kit around the course and can’t wait to do it all over again in February 2018. In February I launched a new online programme called “For the Love of Running” which hoped to turn women who “hated” running into lovers of the sport…we had more than 1000 women take part. it was EPIC!!!

I took part in the Roding Valley Half Marathon for the 4th time…I love this race which is known locally as the 13 hills in 13 miles race, and will be doing this as part of my marathon training this year. Join us if you can its super cheap, super friendly and on the tube line in Essex so easy enough to get to.

I also lead a half marathon Training Day in Hyde Park, which I will be doing again this year

March 

eeeI headed off the Israel to review the Jerusalem Half Marathon…what a treat, I still pinch myself that I get to do things like this. We also stopped off at the Dead Sea and spent a few days in TelAviv. March is of course International Women’s Day and I gave a talk at an event in Barking & Dagenham about facing your fear and going for the things you want in life…this would mark the start of my relationship with the borough as a few months later I would secure (with the help of a local organisation headed up by one of our Clubhouse members) funding from Sport England to deliver Too Fat to Run pilot in the borough.

April

Travel would to feature a lot in my year it would seem, as just 9 days later I would fly to South Africa to give my first international talk. I also got to do a parkrun in Cape Town and visit a female empowerment programme in one of the nearby townships, it was a truly humbling trip. Now I can’t talk about the month of April without making reference to the LONDON MARATHON, I was not running it this year but 12 women I had been supporting in the Clubhouse were, and many more women from my community. We hosted a cheering station at mile 10 and had an absolute blast. I can’t wait to get to the start line in 2018…it will be my 3rd time running it.

May

18527964_10155303156255477_467006452658666126_nThis month I spoke about being Fit and Fat at a national fitness convention, before heading off on a plane again, this time to lead my annual Health & Happiness Retreat in Rhodes Greece. It was sold out with 22 awesome warriors joining me and my team. The week was challenging for sure, but the breakthroughs that were made and the friendships that were created were incredible. We are still signing women up for next years retreat if you fancy it.

May was the month I decided to give up eating meat after trialling some vegetarian food as part of a review, and then deciding this was the way I wanted to eat. I haven’t been completely meat free since, but my consumption is down considerably to what it was…I am doing a year of no Alcohol for 2018…this will be a bigger challenge I am sure, starting with a party tonight (Ive got a supply of Alcohol Free wine to take with me)

June

My birthday month and lots to celebrate. We launched a new summer programme called “Core Blimey” which saw over 100 women work over the summer to improve their strength and keep up with their running around the kids holidays. I managed a cheeky non work related weekend away to Stiges in Spain with my assistant Sharon…we had an absolute blast, not realising our trip coincided with Gay Pride weekend.

We brought out a new design of technical running shirt with the slogan “This is what a runner looks like” which were very popular, and two new colours of our popular headbuffs.

Running was a little thin on the ground this month if truth be told, which was a little silly as I had my biggest challenge coming up. I did manage a couple of long runs, but nothing like what my training plan had suggested.

I did however write my funniest blog post of the year, all about how to protect your sensitive parts while running 

July

IMG_5454I started the month of with one of my most favourite events the Newham 10K which is my local race, a 5 minute walk from my home. It was a hot day…like it is most years, but I was happy with my time and chuffed to see so many of my followers out on the route. Chatting with Jo Pavey when I arrived in the morning was kind of cool too.

A couple of days later I flew to Orlando to attend the National Speakers Association Convention held in Disneyland Florida. Speaking has become a major part of what I do these days and I was keen to see how they do things in the states. Talk about thinking BIG. I loved every moment of the 3 day event.

I did a bit of running while I was there, but mainly on the treadmill due to the heat.

Because just 3 days after returning from the states I was to embark on my biggest running challenge EVER!!! My first ultra marathon. Now this really was the highlight of my year. I was taking part in the Spitfire Scramble a 24 hour race around Hornchurch in Essex. I had two teams of ladies from The Clubhouse who were doing it as a relay…but I was going solo. Doing as many of the 6 mile laps as possible over a 24 hour period.

I knew I was undertrained so I just went in with the attitude of lets see what I can do…I ended up covering around 40 miles…the whole experience was brilliant.

We got confirmation of the Sport England funding in July…although I didn’t tell anyone until August because I still couldn’t believe it. I also gave my biggest talk yet, to the British Universities & Colleges of Sport annual convention…a talk around Excellence and how to engage inactive women in sport.

August

Technically speaking I wasn’t really working during August, but you know how it is. I made more of an effort with YouTube over the summer making a video series about training with kids in tow, and creating videos answering the questions that beginners to the sport might have. I am launching a weekly video show next year, so subscribe to my YouTube Channel to make sure you don’t miss an episode of Too Fat to Run TV in 2018.

Training over the summer was tough…I broke down a few times at CrossFit and wrote a blog post called “What it feels like to be shit at sport” I think the affects of running 40 miles was still hanging around in my legs. I had signed up to a Tough Mudder for September so I couldn’t let my fitness disappear all together.

I also launched a brand new life coaching programme in August…I had realised that a lot of the work I had been doing supporting and inspiring women through my blog, coaching programmes and speaking was nothing to do with running and more to do with broader health, wealth and happiness and helping women to set and achieve their blog fat stupid goals….so my new programme was born.

I took a lovely break with the family to the Essex coast for a few days….much needed break I might add.

September

The biggest thing to happen this month was my 4 year old Rose started BIG SCHOOL….where had the last 4 years gone? I also noticed that September marked 7 years of the Fat Girls Guide to Running this month…so lots of big milestones.

From a running point of view this was the month that I run 3 half marathons in 3 weeks in 3 different countries…so OK two of them might have been in the UK but still.

I did Tough Mudder…even though my body was still crying out for rest.

IMG_8293I took 20 women to EuroDisney to take part in a series of races. My Rose took part in one of the children’s races too and won her first medal. My race dressed as “Mrs Incredible from The Incredibles” was absolutely amazing…the best half marathon I have ever done…like seriously. We hope to be taking another team this year…so get on my mailing list or join The Clubhouse to get first dibs.

I ran the Cardiff Half just a week later…and then I took a break, well not a complete break from work, but a break from running for a bit.

We launched Too Fat to Run Barking & Dagenham in September, and 30 women turned up to our launch night all willing to be ambassadors and get other women active in the borough….so exciting.

Oh also in September I was listed in Running World Magazine as one of 70 top influencers in Running…what an honour, and what an indication of how far I have come as someone who once came last in a race and decided to write about it.

October

I recruited 21 women into my Living a Bigger Life Mastermind and got to work helping them work out what they want from life and and find the tools to actually achieve them. I also recruited 32 women into my Marathon Training Programme…which was ironic because I had just pulled out of my first ever autumn marathon. The Beachy Head marathon was just not meant to be. My body was screaming out for me to stop. So I did. I decided I just couldn’t make it happen logistically or physically…it was bitter pill to swallow, but I learned a lot about myself.

Vertical_3D_cover_version (2)In October I got the idea for a book, and then proceeded to write and publish it in less than 3 weeks. The Fat Girls Guide to Marathon Running would become my most comprehensive running guide, and sell more than 500 copies in its first week of sales, taking it into the Number 1 spot on Amazon in the running category.

The Barking & Dagenham sessions got underway and women kept showing up, no matter how bad the weather was.

November 

November was a quiet month really, not a lot to report…just lots of planning for 2018, oh and the news that I had a media place for the London Marathon and just 20 weeks to train for it. A bit of a shock….but a good shock.

My running had been a bit sporadic so I had to go back to basics and get some non stop 5ks and solid 10ks under my belt…which I did.

I launched our annual Countdown to Xmas challenge and got 150 women to sign up, plus 31 of my Clubhouse ladies to volunteer to be Elfs posting a video a day in December.

December

The Christmas challenge has kept me busy this month. It has been a wonderful group of women. We have had so many funny videos posted. women doing arm exercises in the middle of Tescos, standing squats holding small children…and lots of xmas cheer. I even hosted a virtual xmas party where we played games, revealed embarrassing stories and collectively drunk a little too much…and all via the power of technology.

I headed off to BlueStone Wales for the week before Xmas…I needed a bit of a break, plus a chance to get some miles in. It was beautiful, despite the rain…I managed around 20 miles of either running, hiking or biking…and came back ready for whatever Xmas could throw at me.

And now I am preparing for 2018 and everything that has in store.

26047128_10155982204755477_5829109471132677039_nI am currently recruiting for my February cohort of Living A Bigger Life which has an early bird price which expires at midnight tonight check it out here…it is all rather exciting. Oh and I am running a FREE Instagram challenge starting tomorrow you can sign up here

Do you like my new photos? In December I had a brilliant photoshoot (in the rain) with a lovely photographer called Vanessa Valentine…you will be seeing a lot more of these from me.

Phew it has been a busy year.

And I am sure 2018 will be just as exciting.

Each year I choose a word for the year, last year was abundance and it very much was a year of abundance, even if I’m not yet a millionaire, there were times this year where I felt like I living like one…this year I am cheating and going for two words…EXPONENTIAL GROWTH…as I really want to expand my programmes to reach even more women around the world…and grow as a person too.

What is your word for the year?

What are your goals?

What are your dreams?

I have a lot going on, lots of programmes, lots of initiatives, loads of ideas for how to grow Too Fat to Run….but if I was to choose just one thing I’d like to see? I’d love to get the Clubhouse up to 1000 members. The Clubhouse is our online running club…but it is so much more than just that, it’s like a family, with women of all shapes and sizes of all abilities, power walkers right through to ultramarathon runners.

We currently have around 400 and it makes me really sad that more women don’t join as it is the most supportive online space.

To help women make the decision to sign up, I have brought in a pay what you can afford system with memberships starting from as little as £5 per month….come on, thats like a cup of tea and a cake once a month.

We have so much going on, and it is the best way to take advantage of all of our race meet ups, overseas trips and of course you get coaching and access to heaps and heaps of resources, templates, training plans in our membership area.

New things happening in 2018

  • Recruitment of a Community Manager
  • Regional Coordinators
  • Monthly Q&A live coaching session
  • Themed Prompts
  • Virtual & Real Training Buddies
  • LIRF qualified TFTR coach training
  • EuroDisney Half Marathon Trip
  • And so much more!!!

Please, please, please, please join….you won’t regret it.

Right I’m off to meet my sister for Lunch, its her birthday and of course its New Years Eve so will be seeing 2018 in with my daughter and some friends. I hope 2018 is an epic year for you, and all of your running and life goals come true

Much love

Julie

julie_4053

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