My review for 2021...the year that not a lot (but still LOADS) happened lol

Earlier in the year back in September, I walked onto the most prestigious live event stage for the running world…the Inspiration Stage at the National Running Show…and I was about to reveal a bit of a secret… Based on my own experiences of starting over a number of times and the feedback from our ladies over in the Too Fat to Run community here are the 7 Things I wish I had known when I first started running.

“Hey everyone, my name is Julie and I am a recovering marathon runner, it has been 96 days since my last run”

The line got a wave of laughter from the audience, and I knew I could relax a bit, but later in my talk, I would have people in the audience crying too.

A week before the event, one of the producers phoned me to check I was OK with all of the logistics etc, and I admitted to her that I was nervous as I hadn’t yet written my talk…mainly because I was at a loss for what to say. My dream gig…yet I hadn’t been running much at all in 2021…nor 2020 to be fair.

For many people, COVID and the various lockdowns were a great opportunity to focus on their fitness, to take full advantage of the once a day opportunities to go for a run.

As the single mum of an 7 year old…my options were rather limited.

Walks…became a bit of a battleground quite soon, bike rides, similar…and so in the end I kind of gave up. I bought a Peloton instead and started out really well with that, before the novelty wore off.

I realise I need a BIG FAT STUPID GOAL for me to stay motivated to run, and with no parkrun and no races for the longest time I just couldn’t be bothered…and my fitness had near on disappeared by the time those things were back on.

My business, Too Fat to Run had taken a bit of a nosedive too over the past 20 months, a business which once was my sole income, now represented less than 1% of my income, even though I still felt incredibly responsible for keeping people engaged.

Gosh, this is sounding like a right miserable review ain’t it.

Bare with me…it gets better lol.

Logistics and mojo meant I couldn’t or didn’t want to run, but I still wanted to move my body…and in true Julie style, I gathered a group of women around me to hold me accountable and explore what this new life of movement that wasn’t running looked like.

The Big Fat Wellbeing Experiment was born…and 100 women took part. This would later turn into The Wobbly Bits Club which is now my VIP mindset and wellbeing club for women.

I went back to Crossfit…mainly doing conditioning classes.

I started swimming in the pool a few times a week.

And I generally started to look after myself a bit more…but the running didn’t seem to find it’s way home.

I wondered if I would ever run again.

In May I headed to Scotland for a week with my Mum Aunt and Sister…and we were pretty active, we climbed the Berwick Law, did lots of walking, and I even went for a dip in the sea…since the pandemic, and my escape last year to Greece, my love affair with the sea has been pretty hard to give up.

In the summer I did a wild swimming holiday in Dorset which was EPIC, and I signed up for the Dock2Dock 1500 meter race in nearlyby Docklands…so it wasn’t like I wasn’t motivated to work out, and I loved having something to train for.

I just knew I had to get back to running in my own time.

Sharing my experiences at the National Running Show made me realise that my story is not unique, lots of people haven’t fully returned to the sport, I mean our lives haven’t all returned to normal.

I for one still struggle socially with anxiety, and so the thought of running with others, or even bumping into friends somedays feels like a lot.

I also realised at that event, I missed running people…like the brands, the race organisers, the other influencers.

I knew I’d find my way back though, I knew it.

I just didn’t know how it would happen.

2021 was a tough year on so many levels.

I struggled with burn out in the spring and COVID in the Autumn, which hit me hard.

It has been a year where I have had no choice but to look after myself. A year where I have had to find alignment across my two business.

I launched a podcast…The Bigger Than You Podcast, which interviews ordinary people doing extraordinary things…we have some fab guests coming up….including Elle Linton from Keeping it Simpelle…one of the first bloggers from the fitness world I ever met in real life…probably 8 or 9 years ago now.

I have BIG plans for 2022.

I have a BIG race to train for…and I mean its a big one, a summer marathon in West Africa…Sierra Leone to be exact, I will also be training 10 women to join me…and involving the rest of my running community in a virtual run challenge helping to raise £100,000 for the charity StreetChild.

Training has started….with Crossfit Conditioning, and even a 3 mile run last week.

My body is different…older, wobblier, but wiser.

I have also developed a toolkit, to help me and to help the millions of women around the world who are also trying to get back to a habit if running.

It’s called The Kickstart Your Running Toolkit, and it includes.

  • The START Method – A short video series and worksheet for getting your mindset in the right place to start a new habit
  • The Kickstart Process – A full training plan and printable PDF to help you plot out your first 8 weeks of running
  • The Running Hub Trello Board – A wonderful resource for storing all of your running data, and tools from this toolkit (accessible directly from your phone)
  • The Session Store –  30 Run session ideas so you never get bored when heading out of the door
  • The Kit That Fits List – A Full breakdown of what kit you need and the best places to get it
  • The Tech Review – An overview of the tech support you might want to invest in and what to consider first
  • The Race Directory – Not sure how to find races in your area? Or how to work out if they are beginner-friendly? We’ve got you covered
  • The Injury Bench Guide – Support for when you can’t run
  • The Proper Runner Promo Guide – A resource to help you celebrate and showcase your achievements

PLUS…join before 17th Jan and take part in a LIVE supported Kickstart Sprint with support from Julie.

And all for just £17.99

55 women have registered so far, and I can’t wait to get started.

Thats the thing…although I prefer to physically run alone…I love to know I am not alone, and have other women supporting and willing me to succeed.

I also decided to turn the principles of this toolkit into a book, Kickstart Your Running and that is currently doing really well in the Amazon run charts…number 1 in the Hot New Releases for Running & Jogging.

I just know that 2022 is going to be a better running year for me.

It starts with deciding it will be so, and then comes the planning, and then most importantly the action…for me it is framed with public accountability (which has always worked for me…hence 11 years blogging) and having a purpose that is bigger than me…the charity work for next year.

So what do you say?

Want to join me in some of this exciting work?

On Sunday 2nd at 10am I am running a FREE Dare to Dream vision workshop, make sure you are in the TFTR Facebook Community to get the Zoom link or the call recordings if you can’t join us live.

And finally a massive thank you to everyone who has been part of TFTR the last 2 years.

We have some exciting new things on the horizon for next year including a much needed new website, a new community manager and hopefully some brand partnerships (wink wink)

Right 2022…we are coming to get ya

Happy New Year People

Love Always


Join our Kickstart Your Running Challenge which starts on January 17th, and also includes a fabulous digital toolkit giving you everything you need to start, maintain and sustain your running habit. Or preorder Kickstart Your Running, Julie’s new book which is due out in early February. Check out the Top 100 running books…the new one is in there somewhere making its way up the charts.


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