If you’re thinking about joining a running club, this edition of Captains’ Corner is just for you. Neil tells us what to expect when you attend your first ever session; the improvements you can expect to make from running with like-minded people; and how you’ll benefit from the encouragement of your team mates, every step of the way. Thanks Neil!
They say you always remember the first time. For me it was the 28th August 2012. The first time I plucked up the courage and ran as part of a running club that is.
I’d always run on my own before when I previously lived in Southsea, typically up & down the seafront, and was happy with this as I really enjoyed the ever changing scenery.
I’d recently moved to Fareham & didn’t know anyone but more importantly didn’t know where was best to run! My brother suggested joining a local club to get to know some people and find local routes so, on his advice, I took the plunge. The rest, as they say, is history.
Despite having run before at a fairly reasonable speed, I was still incredibly nervous when it came to going along initially. Something which I’m sure you can all relate to. I didn’t know anyone, they’d all be quicker than me, no one will talk to me, I’d embarrass myself – I assume are the commonly shared default negative thoughts in such a situation.
My first session was an all inclusive mixed ability group session on the field behind the leisure centre. A varied assortment of short drills, sprints and team relays. I loved it!
I’d never really done interval training before but it was great to all be able to all do this together whatever your pace, shape or size. I quickly began to see the benefits of speed work and I incorporated these drills into my own personal runs in a more structured way.
Another benefit that I found very quickly – Fareham had hills! something which Southsea didn’t have in abundance. A great addition to my training to help improve strength and stamina. I also soon found out lots of new routes right on my doorstep.
After a few weeks, I was completely hooked and it made me question why I had never joined a club before as it is so beneficial in lots of ways. I really value the group support & encouragement, being with people who understand my love of running, the way we push each other to reach goals as well as hearing about races, challenges and all the other crazy and inspirational things people take on.
It’s no coincidence, that within a year of joining, I’d broken 2 of my longest standing running aims – sub 40 minutes for 10k & sub 90 minutes for a half marathon. I know I would never have achieved these without FCRC.
Well, that’s my running story. As I was writing this it made me wonder what other peoples’ motivations to join FCRC were? What were their memories of their first time? What makes them come back week after week & what are their thoughts on joining in hindsight?
I asked a few people and some themes quickly emerged – passion, motivation, welcoming nature, friendship, community, running family… the list went on. There were some lovely & moving stories.
I really love the fact there is such a variety of people at FCRC from all walks of life, with different background stories, all now joined firmly together by the shared love and bond of our amazing club. People who would not even know each other are able to share so many happy stories and memories together, all of which wouldn’t be possible if they too hadn’t taken that first step.
If you’re a club member I’m sure some of these sentiments will resonate with you. If you’re reading this and are thinking about joining us, hopefully we’ll be seeing you on a Tuesday at 7pm at Fareham Leisure Centre very soon… The time and place where it all started for each and every one of us.
P.S. – Watch this space for a new ‘My Running Story’ feature coming to the website soon!