In last weeks post I didn't mention all the support that the runners and walkers are giving each other.
It's been amazing, we have our regular posters and our first timers, we have those who have been on FB for ever, and those for whom it's all very new.
What we all have in common is our desire to keep exercising, keep motivating each other, sharing our triumphs but also our down days. We don't expect everyone to feel chipper every day, it's ok not to be ok too.
Sharing how we feel is so important, we have never experienced anything like this before, restrictions on our movements, being cooped up with family all day, like a very long Christmas but without the cheer! Maybe we are still working and have the fear of getting too close to our colleagues.
This isn't normal but we are trying our best to normalise it, some of us will find it easier than others, we might be able to draw on previous experiences, but nothing has ever been quite like this for any of us.
We are having to make up the "rules" as we go along, making daily adaptations as new news or restrictions come in to play. We can only see those members of our family that we live with, what about the others? Parents. grandparents, children, grandchildren, siblings, cousins, friends, the list goes on and on. it's hard, but we need to do this to keep us safe.
We have several front line key workers amongst our number and we applaud them, going out every day to keep the country moving, taking care of the sick, stocking our shelves, removing our rubbish, cleaning our hospitals and other places where we have no choice but to go.
In an effort to get everyone up and active, even if some of us weren't feeling it, we launched Challenge Tuesday this week. The challenge was to get as many Km's done on Tuesday as we could, this wasn't meant to be a few runners doing huge distances, although we did have some who achieved that, it was to get as many of us out there as possible, doing what we could.
We could run, walk or cycle, this allowed everyone an opportunity to add to the total. We had k's from family walks, we had k's from injured runners walking or cycling, we had k's from "lapsed" runners starting back on couch to 5k. It was a team effort, there was no pressure, every metre counted, so nothing was too small to be counted.
As you can see from the picture below, we managed a fantastic 276.18 k (171.61 miles) and 47 people took part! We hope that even more will take part this week, and we will see what the total is, will we smash it? You'll have to come back next week to see.....
As I am typing this I have just heard that Matt Hancock has said that if people don't take the exercise recommendations seriously they will have to stop people leaving their houses for exercise. www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-52172035 so please, please, follow the guidelines so that we don't have to stay in to exercise!
Until next week.........STAY SAFE
Well, it's been a bit of a week hasn't it?
We stopped our running and walking groups around 2 weeks ago. It wasn't possible to keep the recommended 2 metres apart, so with a very heavy heart we decided to postpone our groups until this is all over to keep everyone safe.
Happy Feet Fitness is our beloved business, we really do live and breathe it. What would we do? What would our clients do? Every one of them feels like a part of our family!
Our Facebook group has always been strong with a great sense of community, now was the time to take it up a gear, this was our way of staying in touch, motivating the members and most of all supporting them through this as best we could.
So we have started online classes, these are done live because we want to see what's going on. Rhiannon, who is also a Personal trainer, has a lot of experience teaching classes and knows how quickly things can go wrong, she watches us and can correct our technique if she needs to. It's ace!
The other benefit is that although she can see us, we can only see her, so when we are going in the wrong direction, or using the wrong leg, no one else knows we are going wrong. At the start and end of each session, we all get a chance to have a natter too, it's fab!
We are using the "live" facility on Facebook too, I have never used it before, Rhiannon always does it normally. Well, what do you know, I did my fist one and now I'm hooked! The feed-back from the group when we go live is that it's good to hear our voices, its strange what you miss isn't it, they don't usually like to hear our voices when we are saying "it's only a small uphill....."
I'll leave you with a few photos, and will be back next week.
Stay safe everyone x
Reasons to keep active From a BBC article
A short video for International Women's Day 2020 on Sunday 8th March.
Our women are strong, determined, motivated, kind, supportive, I could go on and on...
They are also great role models for women of all ages, both those they run and walk past in the street, and their own families and friends.
On Saturday 21st December, Happy Feet Fitness runners and walkers gathered together to raise funds for Teenage Cancer Trust
Many of us dressed up, there were Elves, Christmas trees and even Mrs Christmas, as well as jingling bells, antlers, flashing lights and tinsel!
There was a choice of either a 5k walk or run or a 10k run, the turnout was amazing and our generous runners raised £300
Afterwards we enjoyed cakes and mince pies, some of them home made, one of our volunteers made their legendary lemon drizzle cake, which was delicious. As usual there was much laughter and merriment!
Why Teenage Cancer Trust?
Earlier this year the son of one of our runners was diagnosed with cancer, it was a huge shock and he had to undergo hard months of treatment. Thankfully he is now on the mend and is starting to get to grips with life after treatment, the charity have supported him and his family through and beyond this tough time. Now the family want to give something back, and to support them we have held two events, adding nearly £500 in total to their fundraising pot.
We'd like to say a huge "THANK YOU" to all our runners and walkers for their generosity!
On Saturday 5th October we helped Worcestershire Breast Unit Haven turn Worcester Woods ParkRun PINK!
October is Breast cancer Awareness month and we wanted to help get the month off to a flying start.
Several of our members including our leader Marie have had breast cancer, so it's a cause close to our hearts.
Statistics show that 1 in 8 women and 1 in 883 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer, the earlier cancer is spotted and treated, the better the prognosis is.
Pink is a funny colour for a cancer, it implies softness and breast cancer definitely isn't soft! Treatment often includes radical surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, none of these are a walk in the park, but they are manageable and have a high success rate. These days, for the vast majority of those diagnosed with primary breast cancer, treatment will be 100% successful and the cancer will not return.
Sadly, for some the treatment doesn't completely get rid of the cancer, it may come back quickly, or it may sleep for years and pop up in another part of the body no one knows who this will happen to, and that's scary. This type of cancer is called secondary breast cancer and there is currently no cure, although treatment now is very good at holding it at bay.
Early detection definitely gives you the best chance of survival, so we do all we can to help raise awareness. Please, if you are offered screening for any type of cancer, go! and if you find anything out of the ordinary, go to your GP and get checked, it really could save your life!
What a great day we had at the Worcester City half marathon and 10k race.
For many of our runners this was their half marathon debut. They had trained for this for over 2 months, meeting early on Sunday mornings, increasing their distance and their stamina with our experienced leader Rhiannon, who has run many half marathons and marathons herself. All the runners did themselves proud, their training really paid dividends.
We had a mix of newbies and old hands completing the 10k race, all giving each other huge support. Many of the runners had just completed our 5-10k course, gaining in confidence and developing their running skills. The route was brilliant as always, with plenty of local support around the course.
All in all a fantastic day, we are so proud of all our runners. Everyone went away with a smile on their face, and many with a personal best time in the bag too!
On a lovely Sunny afternoon at the end of August, we held a fundraiser for Teenage Cancer Trust
It's a cause close to our hearts as one of our lovely runners son's has been undergoing cancer treatment and TCT have been there every step of the way.
We picnicked, played softball cricket and ate cake, lots of cake! It was a great afternoon, with runners, walkers and their families all meeting up, chilling and making memories.
We accepted donations for the cakes and our generous members raised over £180
It seems funny to be sitting down to write this blog while the rain is pouring down and the wind is howling, but this is British summertime!
Over the last few weeks the temperatures have soared, to the extent that we even cancelled two of our runs as we felt it was just too hot to run.
The topic of conversation on many runs has been along these lines
"What's wrong with me? I can't run any more"
"Why am I so slow!"
"I can't get enough air"
"My legs are SO heavy"
Any of these sound familiar? Well, running in the heat is harder, we just aren't used to the temperature fluctuations in the UK, by the time we have realised it's hot, got the sun cream out, found our caps and remembered we need to drink more, it's winter again!
There are some real reasons why running in the heat is more challenging though.
Have a look at these two extracts from Runners World articles, the first mentions heart rate, you don't need to have a heart-rate monitor to know when it's raised, the feel of your run will tell you!
The second talks about how your body uses your blood in the heat.
I have included the links so that you can read the full articles.
So, for those of you who feel like you want to give up summer running, please don't. Respect the heat, make sure you are well prepared with the correct clothing and hydration and as long as the temperature isn't too intense, get out there and enjoy it....we will be moaning about the cold before long!
"....Heat and/or humidity increase the physical stress on the body and therefore, increase the intensity or effort of the run, which results in higher heart rates.....Hot, humid weather can easily add 20 beats or more to a runner’s average heart rate.....The higher heart rate makes..(your normal).. run pace uncomfortable; hence, we are forced to slow down. The "slow down factor" varies from runner to runner, but in general, slowing down 30 to 90 seconds per mile is common in hot/humid weather.
Runners hate slowing down because they fear losing their conditioning and/or not being able to achieve their goal race pace on race day. Put your fears to rest because you can turn running in the heat to your advantage. A large part of training is related to the heart rates achieved during training. Even though your training pace has slowed down, your heart rate will still remain in the.... (same)...range and possibly be even higher because of the adverse weather. Your body becomes conditioned to that heart rate range regardless of the actual run pace. When the weather cools down, and you run at that heart rate, you will find you are able to run your...(normal pace).... and probably even a bit faster after slogging through tough conditions! Come cooler temperatures, you'll feel like you lost 10 or 20 lbs. overnight and have to be careful not to go out too fast on race day!.....By focusing on your heart rate instead of run pace, you can learn to use hot weather to your advantage.
".....Physiologically, running in heat produces a cascade of reactions that begin with the fact that our muscles aren’t all that efficient.
In fact, says Yannick Molgat-Seon, who spent more than two years at the University of Ottawa’s Thermal Ergonomics Laboratory, 80 percent of the energy generated by our muscles winds up as heat.
In cold weather, that inefficiency is what keeps us warm. But during exercise, the body has to get rid of it. One way is by sweating. “Less obvious,” Molgat-Seon says, “is promoting blood flow to the skin.” That’s important because it’s what carries excess heat from your muscles to the skin, where it can be lost to the environment.
But the body only has so much blood. “You have a competition between blood going to the skin and blood going to the active musculature,” Molgat-Seon says. “In that battle, the muscles always lose.” Even when you’re barely sweating, your muscles are getting less oxygen and therefore are less efficient."
On Saturday 14th July, over 35 Happy Feet runners gathered on Worcester Race Course, along with many others, to join Cancer Research UK's Race for Life 2019.
This year both women and men took part and it was brilliant to be part of such a great event.
Earlier in the year we started our Couch to 5k, we timed it so that people would be ready to take part in R4L if they wanted to. We were pleased that we had a great turn out of both new and experienced runners in the 5k event.
We also started a 5-10k development course at around the same time, so that runners who wanted to, could move up from 5k to 10k to take part in the longer run, again we had a great turn out.
On the day there were a lot of nervous runners, but the atmosphere at R4L is amazing and everyone soon settled, we did our normal Happy Feet warm-up and also joined in with the great event warm-up led by Megz.
The course was across the racecourse and round the paths, there were many marshalls encouraging us on the way round. The 10k was twice round and had an extra loop around the beautiful Gheluvelt Park for good measure.
At the end of the run there was a bell to ring, no time clock this year, that bell was rung many, many times by proud runners completing the course.
Race for Life is always a great event, there is lots to think about as Cancer is an unwelcome visitor in so many peoples lives.
Making sure you attend your screening and pay attention to any changes in your body is so important, although it's no guarantee, early detection does save lives!
I just wanted to pop on and write a quick blog about mustering, why we do it and why we love it.
Mustering is our way of running and something that we will always do, its fantastic. No one gets left behind and the faster runners are able to get their distance up during the run.
The main principles of mustering is that the 'slowest' member of the group runs in the middle of everyone else. The faster runners go on ahead (but not too far), turn back and run past the last runner until they turn back and repeat.
I love mustering, I always think of it as a challenge, I set myself little targets, some runs for distance and some for speed and if I am having a bad day (they do happen) I take it nice and steady and it really doesn't matter because I know I won't be left behind
For lots of our runners we know mustering can feel a little daunting especially if you aren't used to doing it, it can take a little while for you to become fast enough to muster and it takes a lot of confidence to take that first turn back towards the back of the pack.
Mustering isn't just about the faster and slower runners, the middle pack play a massive part in keeping the group together. Only you know how tired you are feeling during a run, although you might not be able to go on as far a the fast runners we do ask that you turn back at a point you are comfortable with and tuck back in when you feel ready (As long as this is always past the slowest runner).
In my opinion mustering is what makes Happy Feet so unique and special, regardless of your pace we all get to be together and support each other, to me there is no better feeling than that.