Way back in 2004 I got an email from a woman named Julia, an American in Italy. She was a running coach and said that I sounded like I was in need of a challenge. How would I like her to virtually train me for a 5K?
I told her the idea was bloody ridiculous. Running was for skinny girls with long legs and bouncy ponytails. Not for chunky lassies who got puffed running for the bus!
But Julia had already coached thousands of women who thought they couldn't run, so she'd heard all the excuses before. She urged me give it a go.
So for eight weeks I followed her programme. It was hard. I whined a lot. But it was fun! As each week went by I discovered I was capable of far more than I’d ever thought. I found new endorphin highs, new muscles in my legs and new faith in myself. Even though kickboxing and Zumba are my exercises of choice these days, running was the thing that made me ditch my fears about exercise and the "I could never do that" limiting beliefs.
I'll never forget blubbing my eyes out as I crossed the finish line at my 5K race. I wrote en blog:
"There is no better feeling in the world than to take your mind and body to some place you thought it couldn’t go; a place you thought it didn’t belong. You should all try it some time."
Now six years later, you can try it, if you fancy!
I'm chuffed to bits to let you know that today Julia and I have launched Up & Running: kickass running e-courses for women.
We've taken Julia's tried and true running training programmes online, so no matter where you are in the world you can get running too. Julia is your expert running coach, while I'm the boss of the website!
We're starting with our eight-week 5K Beginners Course, with plans for 10K, half marathon and marathon courses later down the line.
The 5K Course, which kicks off on 21 March, is not the usual boring "walk 5 mins, run 5 minutes" training malarkey. This is a mind and body approach. We'll not only get you running safely, we help you set goals and understand your motivations. We help you get in tune with your body and how to look after it when you run so you stay strong and healthy. We've got video tutorials, inspiring interviews with runners.
And we don't just give you a set of instructions then abandon you – you get unlimited support via our community forums – all your questions answered.
I'm really rambling on now – can you tell I'm excited!? I'm just so passionate about this because Julia is a brilliant coach and I so strongly believe in the power of exercise to change the way we see ourselves. Well. How about I shut up now so you can go check it out?*
(* If you want to. If you do, I will love you for life. Woohoo! 🙂