Penny Does… Running Club

Author: Penny Wilby

In January, I made a pledge to get out more, improve my fitness and start running again. 5 months later, my fitness has definitely improved and I can now run 5k (sometimes further if the wind is in the right direction) without collapsing. I’m not fast, but I’m consistent.

Until now, my training has consisted running with friends locally or by myself. I’d never considered training with a running club, because I don’t think of myself as ‘proper’ runner. I plod. I stop to take photos. I take a rest if I want to. Paula Radcliffe I ain’t!

One day while at Peake Fitness, Leisure Manager, Toff, suggested I give the running club a try.

‘They do know I’m a plodder and I’ve not been doing this very long?’ I asked.

Well, that’s not a problem, I was told. They cater for all levels of runners.

Excellent, because the last thing I wanted was for me puffing and panting 3 laps behind Suffolk’s finest athletes.

Paula Radcliffe I ain’t!

The club is superbly run by Trudy Avis and we have the added benefit of running in the beautiful surroundings of Stoke by Nayland – the heart of Constable Country.  There is something very special about running in the countryside. I’d usually run on the side of the road, or down pavement. It was great to take in the view around the hotel.

Each weeks’ running club has a different focus. This week, we were doing endurance training. But before we started, we did a thorough warm up, consisting of skipping, lunges, and sideways running to warm up our muscles.

The Endurance/Strength Development consisted 2 x 10 Minute of hill running. And to me, it was a really big hill, running down the side of the golf course. We ran a loop for 10 minutes. Trudy told me posture is of the upmost importance. Your head needs to be held up, chest up and open and whilst driving forwards and backwards with your arms. We ran downhill with the arms in a lower position and out at the side to help with balance. After a full recovery, the exercise is repeated.

The benefits of a session like this is that it helps develop power and muscle flexibility. It improves your coordination, strength and of course your fitness. Training on hills, in particular, improves leg-muscle strength, quickens your stride and develops your cardiovascular system. This will then have a knock-on effect when you run your 5k loop with you producing faster times.

Trudy’s top 5 tips for those people looking to start running for the first time:

  1. 1. Kit – wear trainers and light weight clothing, layers and a light jacket in colder weather
  2. 2. Have a running buddy or join a club – more motivating and safer than running by yourself
  3. 3. Start slow – don’t be put off by running too fast too far too soon, build up gradually
  4. 4. Cross train – participating in other activities so that you do not get bored and to prevent injury
  5. 5. Warm up and cool down – warm up by performing dynamic exercises to prepare your mind and increase blood flow to muscles, cool down with static stretches which help the body recover.

Running is a great form of exercise. The Running Club at Peake Fitness takes place every Thursday from 9.30am – 10:30am. Need I say more?

About Penny…

With an ever-growing passion for fitness, Penny is our resident guest blogger. When she’s not juggling her busy lifestyle you’ll find her with her selfie stick!

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