Happiest Running Club in London?

This week I had the chance to join what was probably the happiest running club in London – the Bella Kinesis (the fab women’s Sportswear brand who use their profits to fund business educational projects for women in rural India) Run Like A Girl group led by Carly (aka Project Hot Bitch).

This free running group met in Borough before heading for a 5k run along the River to Westminster and back. From the outset this was unlike any other running group I have joined – Carly was stood out on the street spotting runners and welcoming them as they arrived with a big hug and a grin. As we all prepared to head off it became clear that there was a real mix of runners – from those who hadn’t run for weeks/months to those training for marathons. There wasn’t an air of competition or pretending – we all grumbled at the cold and expressed how much we were looking forward to the post run hot chocolate!

The route was simple – I have never run alongside the Thames at night and it was such a great feeling to do it as part of a group of fab women! The lights across London were beautiful and even dodging crowds on the Southbank was fun as Carly invited people to join us or warned people of the stampede of lycra clad ladies heading their way.

Run Like A Girl
Photo credit to Project Hot Bitch

 

The pace was relaxed – you could go as fast or as steady as you wanted – there was chatting and laughing and some had headphones in. Carly was great at keeping everyone motivated and smiling.

After a cool down together and the obligatory group shot there were goody bags from the Bella Kinesis ladies and, for those who could stick around, a group hot chocolate.

The Run Like A Girl group was one that I would highly recommend to anyone who is starting out running, looking to meet more fab ladies who run or even someone looking to make more friends in London. The run was a definite highlight of my week and I am already looking forward to next month’s. To find out when the next one is keep an eye on Bella Kinesis’ Events page here.

Do you know of any great free exercise/running groups in London? Comment below – I would love to try them out!

Happiest Running Club in London?

Running with H(e)art

“We all came out this morning to do the same thing and that’s be great together” – Kevin Hart

This morning I had the chance to run alongside 1000 runners led by Kevin Hart as part of Nike Run Club’s #MoveWithHart. Kevin Hart is leading 5k runs in partnership with Nike internationally following his tour encouraging runners, first timers and old hats, to come together and, well… move!

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The event was great – Nike always know how to do a runners’ festival area… to be honest once I heard there was free Pip and Nut on toast I was happy! What struck me more than anything though was the sentiment behind Kevin Hart’s opening words – he spoke about the unifying nature of a group run such as this one and the importance of looking after your body as part of your quest to live life to the fullest.

It wasn’t anything too profound, it was a rallying cry to the 1000 odd runners to get them hyped for the run but it also felt 100% genuine. It echoed so clearly the reasons I have become so passionate about running and talk about its benefits beyond the physical. For me running has introduced me to lots of great people, people I wouldn’t have met otherwise. It has helped me see parts of London or be a part of so many events I would never have experienced otherwise… such as today.

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I so nearly didn’t go to the run today – I had a headache, I ran 12miles yesterday and the 6am start on a Sunday was unpleasant – however, I am so pleased that I pulled up my big girl pants and showed up. Kevin’s words were extremely timely and will keep me going during the tougher parts of Marathon Training.

 

Running with H(e)art

The truth hurts…

After a week and a half of bed rest and facing a ban on running for the next few weeks I have finally admitted to myself that I won’t be running the London Marathon in 2015…

This hasn’t been an easy thing to come to terms with – I have asked every doctor that changed my bandages whether I can run, I have travelled to the deepest recesses of the internet to find someway that I can speed my recovery process up but it finally hit home yesterday that the best thing I could do would be to defer my place until 2016.

Ain't that the truth!
Ain’t that the truth!

I was sat looking at my training plan, trying to work out when the latest point was that I could get back into my training and I realised that I could probably leave it quite late. I could probably turn up at the marathon ill prepared and still finish. But when I found out I had a place in the London Marathon I knew that I wanted to tackle my training with the same ferocity and enthusiasm that I approached my first marathon with last year. To do any less, to limp through it, to hate every second of it would ruin the whole point of wanting to do the marathon.

I would rather have to feel hurt and upset now but optimistic about running in 2016 than be sat here agonising over how quickly I was healing, forcing myself too far ahead in my training plan and standing on that start line injured, scared and unhappy.

I have some thoughts about my fitness goals for the coming months now that the marathon has left a void… but I will save that for another day!

Have you had to make a tough decision about pulling out of a race? How did you come to terms with it?

The truth hurts…

#ThisGirlCan

I know that I am late to the game with this one and that everyone has written about Sport England’s This Girl Can campaign to get more women into sport but it doesn’t seem right to let it go without putting my 10pence in!

When I first heard about the campaign I must admit I was dubious… I expected a campaign that would be full of pink and cheesy slogans. I also heard a lot of discussion with some women finding it patronising whilst others found it empowering. Having watched it, expecting to be sat there rolling my eyes, I 100% LOVE IT. I love the choice of song, I love the diversity in shapes and sizes of women, I love the variety of sport covered, I love that both solitary sports and team sports are shown and that everyone in it looks like they are working hard and having a fab time. Most of all I love the fact that it looks real.

I have spoken to a lot of people about this and perhaps most interestingly was talking to my 14year old sister. With a lot of girls stopping exercise in their teens due to worries about looks, sweat and showering it seems important to me that this speaks to these girls and inspires them. My sister doesn’t particularly enjoy sport, she says she “can’t” run and is looking forward to yr10 when her PE lessons drop from twice a week to just once. I remember a time when she did enjoy sport and she considered herself to be good at Netball and Hockey. I showed her the video and when it finished I asked her what she thought of it, her answer; “It’s fun. I can see that it would make people try sport”. When I asked her if it makes her want to do sport, she answered with a shrug and a “not really”. I asked her why and in essence her answer was that the girls in the advert weren’t girls but were women. That she couldn’t identify with them or the sports they were doing – for example her school doesn’t do a fun Zumba class and all of the ones around my parent’s house are for “grown ups”.

As someone who only discovered the joys of exercise and running in my twenties, I regret not trying new things in school PE lessons and it saddens me that the ad hasn’t managed to capture her imagination. Perhaps what I find even more concerning is how right she is about the lack of “teen” girl’s exercise classes – a safe space for fun sport without it being mandatory like a school PE lesson or the threat of the boy you fancy watching you get sweaty and your fringe go frizzy!

It isn’t anything revolutionary to suggest that getting teens into sport will prevent a number of health complaints in later life, I know that if I had taken up running in my teens I would have been more confident pulling on my trainers later on in life. Perhaps we need a similar campaign featuring younger girls and more opportunities for them to get involved.

What do you think of the This Girl Can campaign? Love it or loathe it?

#ThisGirlCan

You don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone…

This is probably a bit unorthodox but I am beginning my, mostly, running blog at a point when I have been told I am unable to run for the next few weeks.

Whilst my leg was being bandaged up following a nasty accident with some boiling water the first question out of my mouth was “When can I run again? I have the London Marathon coming up!”. The Doctor laughed and dismissed my question with “I don’t think you will be running in the near future”.

My heart dropped… It has only been a couple of days but I feel like I am going through a break up. I am listless, emotional and 100% eating my feelings.

I thought it would be best to focus on what I love about running instead of moping about;

Freedom

This is my most favourite thing about running – getting outside, getting away from everyone else, exploring new places, finding new routes, being rained on or feeling the sun on your face, finding a new podcast or indulging in self reflection.

Exhaustion

Nothing beats that heavy legged exhaustion you get after a long Sunday run or the lung bursting feeling you get after pushing yourself to your limit. And the best thing that follows these is the deep uninterrupted sleep.

Training Plans

I love having a structure, something to give me a goal. Something to work towards and I hate straying from this. I am a list person and love ticking each training run off. It’s the control freak in me.

Food

I love the way running changes the way I view food – food isn’t calories to be counted or avoided, it is fuel, it is something which powers my body to do things I never thought it could. Without running I am back to worrying about what I eat, how much I eat and how I am going to burn it off.

These are just some of the things I love about running – sometimes the things I love about running are the things I hate about it but without it I feel lost. This is the first enforced period of time out from running I have had to do since starting over 2yrs ago… I am not sure I like it!

What do you love about running? Have you been forced to take a break? How did you deal with it?

 

You don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone…