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In 2018 one of my major goals for the Too Fat to Run movement was to showcase more of our wonderful community of runners….because for as much as I front up this brand, it so isn’t about me anymore.

Of course, we have our runner of the month feature but I didn’t think this went far enough to highlight what incredible things are happening amongst our ranks, and I know as our on the ground programmes grow you will want to hear about what is going on in your local area.

Plus you all know so much about me and my views on the running world, surely it would be more interesting to get the view from the field from others instead….don’t worry though, I am not going anywhere, you will still get the occasional rant from me but moving forward I want to start handing over much of the content to our users to give them a chance to tell their stories, celebrate their wins, share their learning with you all.

We will be trialing this throughout March with 20 fantastic women from The Clubhouse and then if all goes well from April when the new and improved Too Fat to Run website and YouTube Channel is launched expect to see far less of me and more of them…a lot more of them, and maybe even you too.

Got something you want to share with the world on the topic of plus size running?

So let’s kick of today with a guest blog post from Victoria Alison, a relatively new Clubhouse member who I was lucky enough to meet at the recent National Running Show, the Winter Run and at last weekends Hyde Park Training Day…she takes a mean photo and is a brilliant advocate for the sport…so I figured she would make the perfect person to go up first.

 

Hyde Park Training Run 17/2/18 – By Victoria Alison WP_20180217_12_25_44_Pro

OK so after a nervous day Friday ahead of a planned training session in Hyde Park coached by Julie Creffield. I woke up looking forward to meeting some more of the Clubhouse (Our online running club) ladies #toofattorun, however there was a certain amount of anxiety too, would I run too slowly, what if I couldn’t keep a continuous pace, what if my injury played up etc. You see the problem of running on your own, or with your dogs like me is that it really doesn’t matter you get to choose to cut a run short, walk when you need too or add on an extra half mile if the running is good, and I know my dogs don’t care they are just thrilled to be out running.hyde park 1

It was an early start on Saturday morning a 5am wakeup call so that I could be at the station on time for our 6:59am train into Waterloo. Arriving in London at Waterloo I set off across the Thames having decided to walk to warm up my legs ahead of the run, it was quiet something to stroll through an empty Trafalgar square at 8:30am and them wonder past Buck Palace with only the really enthusiastic tourists around, plus I added an extra 7000 steps to my tally for the day☺. The group met at Hyde Park Corner, 12 of us in total, I must admit I certainly had butterflies upon spotting the group, but they were quickly put to bed upon a friendly hello from Julie and the other ladies that had arrived. After initial introductions a quick discrete check on our most recent 5km times so that Julie had a rough idea as to how much of a time spread we had as a group, and a chat we headed off into the rose garden to warm up and stretch.

Julie explained the plan for the morning a 5 mile lap together, no one left behind with the faster runners looping to the back of the group, we would be stopping to carry out challenges at intervals on the way, then after a refuel a second lap 5 miles continuous effort, but with opportunities to run a shorter lap if needed. I knew it was going to be a challenge, my longest run since last summer had been the Winter 10k at the beginning of Feb and that had been tough. But the sun was shining and I felt good!

All my fears were quickly put to bed, it was lovely to be running in a group of likeminded ladies several of which will be running London marathon this year, and it was even nicer that I managed to regulate my pace so that I could hold a conversation on the way round. Lots of giggles throughout and a sprint finish to one of the challenges I’m not going to spoil it and tell you everything Julie had us doing, if you want to know you will need to sign up yourself! I will say there one tree in Hyde Park has now…. in our minds at least been permanently renamed 😂.

The second lap after an opportunity to refuel, I decided to run a slightly shorter route, so after heading off with a group of 3 ladies I took a left turn across the park to cut out a bit, I found the giant heart balloon that we had spotted earlier in the day so had to stop for a quick selfie.

I hoped to run up to about 8 miles in total but as unsure as I’ve been about my injured foot anything over 6 was a success. I actually ran 8.5 miles and covered a total of 15.5 miles during my day in London. Add on another 10 miles and a whole heap more running and I’ll be somewhat near feeling ready for my 2019 London marathon… maybe.WP_20180217_010

As someone who has never before attended a group training session would I do it again … defiantly! As a girl who let’s face it, is a long way from resembling twiggy or my running heroines of Paula Radcliffe or Jessica Ennis-Hill, having the opportunity to run with likeminded ladies with similar running goals was wonderful, and receive support and advice from the fantastic Julie Creffield was certainly worth the early start. I know that there are many ladies like myself who find turning up to an organised training session or event overwhelming, even intimidating, but the benefits of running in a group for me out weighed these. It gave me accountability and motivation not only to turn up and overcome my anxiety but to keep going, hit my target and not take the walk breaks that I might of otherwise. I also believe I pushed myself a little harder because I was running as part of a group.

It’s not just me though Caroline who is currently marathon training posted

Saturday gave me the courage to get to the 10 mile milestone this morning. I think the double digit mile thing for a first timer is a bigger thing than you think. The training session on Saturday gave me was the true inclusive feeling – being short and slow I was at the back but I never felt I was a burden or “shamed for being the slow one” and the support Kath gave me in such an the lake challenge made me quite emotional on reflection on the train home.

Dorinda who is also currently marathon training also posted

Ladies, I had an absolute blast today thank you so much. Special thanks to Julie for making it fun, I even found the shouting out at speaker’s corner quite liberating. Also to Audrey for being a fabulous running buddy. The weather was on our side today and it was worth the 5.00am start and 4 hours on a coach. Was just the boost I needed for my London training.

I know I will be booking onto another training session, and I feel more excited about my Marathon journey and running than I have before.

Look out for information about our Too Fat to Run 2018 Roadshow, we are currently looking at dates for London, Bristol, Nottingham, and Glasgow. If you would like to join our awesome community, get involved in our meetups and training days, and even become a Too Fat to Run coach or guest blogger why not consider joining The Clubhouse today. Memberships start at just £5 per month. Find out more here

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