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This months featured runner Hannah Taylor from Ranskill near Doncaster was a breath of fresh air in our recent 5 weeks to 5k programme and has gone on to join The Clubhouse where she is fitting in very well and helping inspire us all with her updates, as she embarks on her first ever marathon for next year as she approached THE BIG 3-0.

When did you start running and why? I began running in January 2015 after another boy caused me heartbreak. After losing my son in a late miscarriage in April 2010 my whole life changed. I began comfort eating and drinking alcohol, and began a major love affair with the two. I joined the gym shortly after my miscarriage but gave it up after a short while as my depression took over. I was putting weight on but I never really accepted the fact I was unhealthy, I could only acknowledge that I was unhappy, but trying hard to carry on with my life.IMG_2983

The turning point came in the New Year of 2015, I went into the kitchen and told my parents how I was desperate to get fit. I work as a Physiotherapy Assistant and working with a group of people who kept fit on a regular basis, and me struggling to keep up with exercises, I knew I needed to change something. I thought of running, as I had heard it was good exercise. So one cold January night, I went out after work in a pair of joggers and a baggy t-shirt, attempted to power walk round the main road, and then as I got to the lane which I know is quiet, I attempted to run round there. I arrived back home red as a beetroot and sweating, but actually discovered how much better I felt. I was determined to continue with this, so a couple of nights later; I did the same thing again. After a couple of weeks I realised that a walking / running plan was the way forward for me, so I downloaded the Couch to 5K app and began following that. It was the best thing I could have ever downloaded, and I continued over the weeks to follow this. After downloading the app I realised the time was right to get to Sports Direct and invest in some proper trainers, running gear, and most importantly, a sports bra!

In April 2015 my boss encouraged me to sign up for the Rother Valley 5K Race for Life in July, my aim was to run this in 2016, but after much perseverance, she encouraged me to sign up and just go for it. The same day I felt brave enough to sign up for the race, I went straight to Bannatynes Gym in Worksop after work and re-signed up after 5 years. I was feeling extremely anxious, brave, and thinking have I bitten off more than I can chew! I began the gym at the weekend and went for my first hour, I loved being back on the treadmill and the cross trainer but took it slow. My first 5K race day approached and I was so nervous, in previous training sessions I had experienced the dreaded “runners trots”. Two Diacalm tablets later to calm my nerves and all set with my Pink T-shirt, I completed the 5K Race for Life in 42 minutes running and walking. The feeling I felt afterwards was immense!IMG_2989

I felt so good about myself for the first time in a long time. I felt quite deflated a couple of days after as I had no other race to work or train for. I searched online for more 5K Races, and came across a local race in Sheffield. This time it was the Great Yorkshire Run, and it was 10K. I could run for a charity of my choice. After a training session, I was feeling very brave, so I thought why not. The next thing I knew, I had signed up and paid, and I was officially running a 10K in September 2015! After a few weeks my training started decreasing and I questioned whether I could really do this. After a pep talk with a work colleague, she encouraged me to go for it and raise money for a charity of my choice. I chose The Miscarriage Association, and I realised I would be running this 10K not only for an amazing charity, but for my son who was much wanted and who I miss every single day. This made me so determined. Training was tough leading up to the 10K, but the thoughts of James kept me going. Race day came, and I completed the Great Yorkshire Run in 1 hour and 20 Minutes.

Again, I felt amazing after this but deflated that I had nothing more to train for. I continued with the gym in the months leading up to Christmas, as I knew like everyone, I would over-indulge with a mince pie or two! New Year is always tough, I make resolutions to be a better, healthier person. This never seems to happen, and my training decreased as the months went by. I have always followed and admired The Too Fat to Run? Club, and in May 2016 signed up for the 5weeks to 5K. In this group, I made some amazing friends, and the support I received was totally overwhelming. These inspirational ladies made me realise it was fine to have “off” days, and that tomorrow is a new day to try again. I completed the course feeling super, and the virtual 5K was awesome, and my 5K was turned into 5 miles! The longest I had run since my 10K last September. Following this, I decided to bite the bullet and join the official TFTR clubhouse (Our online running club), this has been the best decision I ever made. I feel that since joining my training is going from strength to strength with the support of some amazing people.

Did you run a lot when you were younger? No, I hated P.E. in school and hated the fact I was made to get changed in cold winters and made to run around a field! There was nothing worse in my eyes, and I detested P.E. days!

What do you love and hate about the sport of running? I love the way running makes me feel after I’ve managed to get out of the house and run the distance. When I walk back through the door tired out after a run, I know it has definitely been worth it! I hate the way my legs ache sometimes, and I feel like I can’t go on any further, and I want to cry sometimes! I also hate having to cut runs short due to “runners trots”!!

How often do you run? Realistically 2 – 3 times per week but I do aim for 3 – 4 times per week.

What kind of distances do you run in training? Anything between 2 – 4 miles at present, trying to increase this distance.

Do you parkrun? No, I have signed up for Clumber Park parkrun, I have a barcode, I have just not been brave enough to get to one yet.

How are you feeling about your impending marathon? I am currently in training for the Virgin London Marathon 2017. I was accepted through a pledge place in June 2016 and I am running again for The Miscarriage Association. This idea came after a successful run whilst completing the 5 weeks to 5K programme, I think I was feeling very bold! I never imagined I would stand a chance let alone get a place! Shock and excitement kicked in all at once!

This last week I have had doubts whether I can get here and do this, negative comments from certain people not believing I will get there and do it have really put me off, but with the support of The Clubhouse Ladies I know I can do this! Training at the moment has been quite intense, and I have been trying to exercise 5 times per week with 2 rest days. I have been mixing running with cross training such as bike riding and swimming and getting back into the gym yet again! I have been trying to follow a 26.2 app, which involves increasing distance with running and walking, but I am just getting back into the habit of running again so have decreased my running distances during the week after work and on my days off try a longer run.

I am trying to clean up my eating but my rewards after a run are food, and however hard I try, I can’t give up the beer fully! Unfortunately, my motivation decreased after a night out in July with the work girls, I felt so exhausted for a week after (heavy nights out have never been my thing) and after acquiring alcohol related injuries it put me out of training for 2 – 3 weeks which in turn meant I lost my motivation. After a pep talk with the TFTR ladies in the clubhouse, my motivation is now back on the up and I have just purchased my first TFTR training reward book! I write down every training session I take part in, and reward myself with a sticker if it went well! I gave myself my first star the other day!

Have you had any negative experiences whilst out running? Yes. When running along the main road path in my village, I have had a number of cars driving by beep their horns and mock me. I have also had a passenger in a white transit van spit at me out of the window whilst out on one of my jaunts. Another negative experience was getting “caught short” around Daneshill Lake mid-run, I had to use the woods as a toilet, and with no toilet paper, this counted for another very angry run!

What are your biggest fears/concerns/hangups about being a plus sized runner? People mocking me, and asking why I would even consider myself a runner. I feel that because I find a run / walk programme easier at present, I am not considered as an “athlete” or “runner”.

What is your ultimate running goal and whats stopping you from getting there? To be able to run a full 5K or 10K without having to walk part of the way. I feel myself getting too hot, too breathless, and my legs tell me to walk for a while. I feel that my nerves get the better of me. I need more confidence in myself and to not give up on training, and continue to follow couch to 5K programmes, and not give up too soon on them.

What’s more important to you and why? Frequency, running or distance of running? The distance of running is most important to me. I like to feel I have achieved something with the distances I complete, and when I manage to run a longer distance in training, I feel awesome afterwards.

What could the government, local authorities, sports clubs etc do to encourage more people to take up running and sport, especially overweight and inactive women? To encourage more people to take up running and sport, especially overweight and inactive women, I would like to see local areas set up running clubs and different sports groups for overweight and inactive women, and help them achieve their potential and realise that they are capable of taking part. I feel this would be a great confidence boost. From my own experience, I do not like the thought of joining what we call “normal” running or sports clubs, as I find I am comparing myself to others, and become very upset and frustrated that I am not as thin, not as fast and not as fit and healthy as the other people there. Groups that could be set up for the curvier and inactive women would mean that they would maybe not feel so afraid to get out there, and realise that they can play a sport or run, something they may think isn’t possible, like myself in the early days. Everyone has different abilities and strengths and groups like this would encourage an inactive woman to make her feel great about herself and achieve something she never thought she would be able to do.

What are the biggest barriers for plus sized women? The clothes. Running tights make me feel very conscious at times. I love wearing dresses and skirts but always feel conscious about my tummy and legs. I have not worn jeans for years as they make me feel uncomfortable. I hate the tightness of them and would prefer to wear my joggers in the house, or leggings or stretchy trousers when going out.

What would you say to other runners just starting out? Keep going and never give up! There may be days when you feel like you have failed at a run, but there is always another day to get yourself out there and try again. Keep at it, you are an athlete when you step out of that door, and no matter what the distance, you are lapping everyone else on the couch! You are awesome!

What have you learned about yourself through running? That I can actually be fit and healthy no matter what size I am. Running has made me realise I don’t need to be the thinnest person. I’m running to be fit and healthy. It has pushed me to some limits, and made me do things I never believed I could ever do. It has helped me overcome some very bad depression, and allowed me to become a stronger person physically and mentally. It has helped me regain some control back over my own life, which 6 years ago I never thought I would ever get back. It has made me realise that the future can be brighter, and my achievements are great no matter how big or small the distance.

How has being a member of the Clubhouse helped you in any way, if so how? I have made some amazing new friends in the virtual world, and the support and love of all the members is fantastic, and my training has never been better! Thank you all for your continued support, kind words, and general awesomeness, you are all my inspirations and you make me want to keep going to achieve my dreams, and this goes further than running too! The ladies in the clubhouse make me want to get off the couch and go and do something, no matter the distance, no matter how big or small, they believe in me and having people cheering you on every step of the way is the best feeling in the world. I officially love the clubhouse! Best place ever!Attachment-1-2

Well you heard it here first. During September we will be focussing on Marathon Training as our theme in The Clubhouse, so whether you have a place, are considering signing up to run one, or are just curious about how it all works why not join us? the Clubhouse costs just £59 for the year and is suitable for all levels of runners…including walkers. Click here to find out what you get for your membership fee and to join

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