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.
Our local Sports Partnership recently asked local clubs and organisations like ours to sign up to the CALM pledge.
It involved us demonstrating that we had been to Safeguarding training, and had a policy in place, Emergency First Aid training and Mental Health Awareness training. We were very pleased to provide the relevant documentation for the first two, but needed to undertake the Mental Health Awareness training, which is an online learning course.
Marie took the course and gained a 100% pass. The Partnership then required her to complete their own questionnaire to be sure that the learning was being, or would be, applied.
As you all know, our sessions are friendly, relaxed and inclusive and both Marie and Rhiannon are open about their own mental health and are happy to chat with members.
This is the CALM Pledge and we are proud to say -
We at Happy Feet Fitness are committed to promoting equality, inclusiveness and anti-stigma around mental health by ensuring our club is:
Caring - we encourage an environment which displays kindness and concern for others
Aware - we have club members and staff who are well informed around mental health conditions and will promote ways to support this
Listening - we will give attention and respond to participants who reach out for support
Mindful - we are aware of mental health conditions and its impact on Everyone
On Saturday 20th April we held a fundraiser for The Grace Kelly Childhood Cancer Trust
One of our runners Marion, applied to run the Virgin London Marathon, she applies every year, usually not getting a place, but much to her surprise she got a ballot place this year!
She decided she'd like to raise some money for a local charity, as she'd been lucky enough to get in. That week the local paper ran an article on the Grace Kelly Childhood Cancer Trust and Marion was deeply moved by it. She immediately contacted the Trust and pledged to raise as much as she could.
Now would probably be a good time to say that Marion is 71 years young! She didn't start running until she was in her mid 50's and has done 10 marathons, many half marathons and numerous 10k and 5k races.
MARATHONS FOR MARION was what we called our fundraiser, for a donation, we asked our members to run or walk a 5k or 10k route. We added up all the distances to see how many marathons we covered between us and we did 261k on that morning which is around 6.2 marathons!
For a bit of extra fun we had a competition to guess how many marathons we would achieve too, nearest guess won!
When everyone had finished we enjoyed a well earned cup of tea and some delicious cake to celebrate!
It was a brilliant morning, and the generosity of the Happy Feet members meant we raised over £300 towards Marion's goal. We also raised £200 from a raffle we held at our Awards Evening in January, so all in all over £500 for a brilliant local charity.
To be continued........Marion ran the marathon, we will share her story in a future blog.
We are excited to be starting new Couch to 5k courses this week.
In Worcester we have a busy summer of fund raising running events, and we are pleased to be supporting a few of them.
The first one is on 9th June and is being organised by Worcester Community Trust
and is at RGS The Grange
The second one is Christopher Whitehead Language College's Worcester Colour Run on 13th July.
The third one is CRUK Race for Life (men welcome this year too) on 14th July
Our courses will get you ready for these events and more, so come rain or shine, why not come along!
It's a course designed for beginners or those returning to running after a while, it starts off gently with a mix of jogging and walking and develops over the weeks until you can run continuously for 5k.
It's good fun, relaxed and really friendly, everyone is welcome and no one ever gets left behind.
Why not come and join us? No booking required, turn up tonight or Sunday morning and give it a go!
We are very excited to be using our new website!
We will be re-loading all our old blogs over the next few weeks and adding new ones. So please call back to see our progress and all our new news!
Oh Wow! What an amazing morning! RunTogether were so impressed by the amount of Happy Feet runners that ran with us in February that they decided to give our runners a surprise treat.
They contacted the Happy Feet team a few days ago to tell us that fitness celeb and RunTogether Ambassador Jessie Pavelka would love to come along and present our runners with their well deserved Runtogether medals! We were really excited and feel very proud that they picked us for this special recognition...but we were sworn to secrecy and we only had a few days notice to come up with a cover story that would encourage our runners to turn up at Lyppard Hub, on a Saturday morning when they would normally be having a rest day.
However our runners came out in force for "a picture in the local paper", some of them popping along after Parkrun and others fitting us in around their other plans, and what a treat they were in for with the lovely Jessie. We did a quick photo shoot and a short run before finally being able to reveal that we had a special Ambassador coming later in the morning, but we still couldn't say who it was!
When Jessie arrived there was some swooning and a real buzz of excitement that such a famous fitness expert was here to present OUR medals! He was fantastic, congratulating all the runners, having photos taken and signing autographs.
The RunTogether team also had a chat with a members and heard some of your inspirational stories.
Well Done Happy Feet Runners!