I've always liked the idea of being fit; it's just the getting fit part that has been a bit of a stumbling block. I've tried the gym, swimming, kick boxing, cycling...I've even tried pole dancing. Swimming bored me and cycling ended rather abruptly after an incident with a lorry, a cracked helmet and first aid from the local vet. I was terrible at everything else and was very conscious that I either held the class back or people judged me. Nothing lasted very long
I fully expected that the beginners jogging course would be six weeks of excruciating guilt for holding back the rest of the class, again. I imagined being told through gritted teeth that it was ok that I couldn't keep up. I thought the entire group would hate my thee legged donkey-ness for being so slow. But actually, the reality couldn't be further away from my imaginings. There is no judgement. There are a few speedy people, there are some more middle of the road and there are some who are a little slower, and three weeks in, we're all very clear that we all continuously move through those groups. While last week I created my own little group of 'can't do this and just need a sofa, cup of tea and a hobnob', this week I did one interval with the faster people, then found my own pace in the middle group. And rather than any group having to wait for another, the coach ensured we all did slightly longer or slightly shorter diversions depending on our ability at that moment. Each group is challenged, but nobody holds anyone back and nobody feels bad. Today we also did a short exercise to establish how we felt as we run - did we work best if we were out in front or following people? It was different for each of us, and is a brilliant way to get the most out of sessions going forward.
After last weeks class I did feel like I had lost some confidence, so I joined the Wednesday for my homework run. It was hard, but my confidence came back when we were told we had run for a full 6.5 minutes! I didn't get a stitch either, so I wasn't running round the park with my arms in the air, which helped both my running and my embarrassment levels... The coaches have also shown me something I can do to help the stitch going forward - another bit of expertise I would never have got if I was trying to do this on my own.
So this week, the three legged donkey had a good week. I hope that continues, but at least I know that should it all go a bit wrong next week, the group are all there behind me and the coach will make sure I am ok. It's really different to all my other attempts at getting fit. Maybe this one will actually work…!