Our new course for complete beginners, or those who are returning to running after a long break, is starting on Monday 12th September.   The course is for 10 weeks and will use the ‘Walk to run’ method: each session will start with a gentle warm up and then alternate between walking and short intervals of running.  As the weeks progress, the amount of running increases at a safe and comfortable rate of progression until you suddenly realise you can keep going for 20+ minutes and you’re now a runner!

We always get lots of questions at the start of a new beginners’ course, here are the answers to a few of the most common ones…

When do you meet?  Mondays and Thursdays, 6.30pm.  To get the most from the course, you should try to attend both sessions each week.

Where do you meet?  Near the entrance to Tesco, Terra Nova Way, Penarth, CF64 1SA

How much does it cost?   The course is for club members and the annual membership is £25.00

Who will lead the course?  Your main leader is Erika Fitzgibbon.   Erika is a Welsh Athletics qualified running coach and has many years of experience as a runner and a run leader. She will be assisted by different leaders also Welsh Athletics trained.

Do I need to pre-register?  Yes, members get a password to register on Eventbrite

What should I wear?  The 2 most important pieces of kit for any (female) runner are a pair of running shoes and a well-fitting, supportive sports bra. For your first few sessions, any pair of trainers that you have should be OK but, as you progress, you will need to consider buying a pair of properly fitted running shoes. Erika will be able to give you advice about this. Other than that, wear comfortable sports clothing, e.g. leggings or jogging bottoms and a t-shirt.  As we get further in to Autumn is it may get a bit chilly and wet so you’ll want to layer up with a long sleeve top and/or a lightweight jacket. You may finish the session with it tied around your waist but it’s better to have a warmer layer with you, just in case.

Do I need to carry water?  This depends on the individual. Some people feel they need to re-hydrate during exercise, others wait until they’ve finished. During cooler months, most people find that they don’t need to carry water if running for an hour or less. This may be different in very hot weather. If you feel that you’ll need it, bring water with you for the first few sessions; you’ll soon figure out what works for you.

What if I can’t keep up?   You really don’t need to worry about this. The course is designed to take in to account everyone’s different levels of fitness. During sessions, if faster runners get ahead of others, they will periodically loop back to re-join the slower ones coming behind; the onus is on the faster runners to not get too far ahead, rather than making slower runners keep up! This way, no-one is ever left behind. We do this in our main club runs too; speedier runners sometimes cover more distance because they have retraced their steps but everyone finishes the run together.

When I get to Tesco, how will I know who the other runners are?  You can’t miss us! Just look out for all of the other ladies in running gear congregating near the entrance. Our regular groups meet at the same time so there will be plenty of people around.

What if I’m a bit nervous about coming on my own?  Please don’t be. We understand that approaching a group of strangers or trying something new can be nerve wracking but we’ve all been there! We can guarantee that you’ll be given a warm welcome and will have made some new friends within just a few sessions.

Still a little unsure?  Here’s what recent course graduates had to say…

“For me it was the same old story, I had an amazing time in uni, then prioritised my career and I always hated going to the gym, so I weight gained without even realising. I was at a loss, so started ‘Googling’ local fitness groups and found Women Running Penarth who were starting up a beginners group! My mum (a complete non runner who had never bought a pair of trainers before) agreed to give it a go with me.

On our first session we turned up (feeling very self conscious in our lycra) and were made to feel instantly at ease by Erika and the group. Everyone was so welcoming and friendly.  We were taught the very basics of running and probably only ran a couple of hundred meters in the first session (that was hard enough)!

I know my mum’s main concern was about being made to feel silly and being left behind but there was no need to worry at all, Erika was so supportive and encouraging and the more confident runners always looped back anyway!  The sessions slowly and comfortably built up and now, 6 months on, we are able to run 10km! On top of that me and my mum have made some awesome friends and (combined with a healthy diet) we have lost 6 stone between us!

Our confidence, positive attitude and over all happiness has gone up 10 fold and it really is all thanks to Women Running Penarth! The club is suited to women of all ages and abilities so come and give it a try!”    Nia & Ceri

Come on ladies, give it a go.  What have you got to lose?