October 13, 2015 at 4:53
Posted by Rachael Woolston
You might deliberately go out of your way to avoid hills when you go out running. But face them head on and you will not only improve your running but may even learn to love them too…
Hopefully, you haven’t read the end of that sentence and turned off. ‘Learn to love hills? Are you crazy?!’
But really, hills are a great running workout because you can usually see how far you have to run to reach the top, meaning that you can psychologically prepare, grit your teeth and keep pushing until you have summited. Result? A great sense of achievement. Even if you are doing hill repeats and have to do it again. And again.
But those results are just the psychological ones, the real impact is how much hills supercharge and improve your running. Here’s how…
* Running up hill forces the muscles in you hips, legs, ankles and feet to contract more powerfully than usual because they have to overcome gravity to move you up the hill. And more power means faster strides.
* Better running efficiency. While it is, of course, possible to slouch and shuffle you way up a hill, bent over at the waist, if you choose a hill of a length suited to your fitness, it means your posture and running technique tend to improve compared to on the flat. This is because you HAVE to push off your mid foot if you are exerting more effort and you naturally swing your arms, all techniques that should be used by everyone all the time, on the flat too.
* You learn to take shorter strides and pick up your knees. Because if you don’t, you’ll fall over as you scuff and trip over you feet as you go up the hill.
* Your leg muscles and ligaments and tendons get stronger. This is because your feet have to come into contact with the floor more often to push your body forward because of the incline. Result? Exertion of more force, resulting in a greater impact on muscle tone.
If you want to learn to run hills, and do it in a group to help motivate you, join our Run for the Hills six week course which begins on Thursday October 29th. Suitable for anyone as long as you can run 5km. For more details and prices click here.
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August 5, 2015 at 11:32
Posted by Rachael Woolston
I’ve gained fitness, self confidence and friends who are like a second family
I’m Anna, and I’m a runner. That’s not a phrase you would have heard cross my lips until a couple of years ago.
I’ve always loved sport, and tried my hand at loads of different ones, but being “a runner”? Nah.
That was until I started running with Fitbitch. I’ve learned techniques that have changed my running posture (you try holding Pringles whilst sprinting and not crushing them…), developed core strength and stability (squats and burpees are your friend, honest!), cultivated mental fortitude and confidence to keep pushing (when really I wanted to cry), smashed my ParkRun personal best, and made a group of friends that feel like my second family.
Running gives me headspace, fitness, confidence and friendship. But sometimes it’s just about the running.
Anna Stavrianakis (second from left ), 37, university lecturer
I could run 5km in 40 minutes, now I’m sub 25
I joined Fitbitch because I wanted to get fitter and reach my first 10km, as well as gain coaching advice on my running technique and to meet new people.
I’d never done anything remotely sporty before, and the only running I’d done was via the Couch to 5km IPhone app.
The first run we did was a five mile trail run through Stanmer Park which was gorgeous. It was challenging but everyone was so encouraging and supportive, it kept me going. I was absolutely hooked from that moment.
Running with Fitbitch is awesome, you learn loads and you push yourself much more than you’d ever do alone. When I joined Fitbitch, I could just about run 5km in around 40 minutes. Now, I’ve got that down to a below 25 minutes and have not only run 10km races, but half marathons too – plus I’ve lost so much weight.
I’d never have achieved this without the support of the Fitbitch coaches and community.
I’ve met and made friends and met some of the kindest, funniest, most inspirational women I’ve ever met.
Alice Reeves, 29, digital content strategist
It’s fantastic being able to train with my daughter
Running with my daughter, Romy has given a new dimension to our relationship. It allows me an insight into her character I’m not sure I would have witnessed if we hadn’t done the course together.
I see how determined she is, how much she can push herself, how much she likes to be challenged and how strong she is, physically & mentally.
I want her to know that anything is achievable in life, and running is a great metaphor for her to understand this!
She’s become much more interested in fitness since taking up running, even using her Christmas money to buy new kit. Best of all, she is now confident enough to volunteer to run 800m at school sports day.
It’s made her more confident and I love the fact that I get to share the experience of running with her. It allows her to see me in a new light too; I’m not just a mum!
I’ve really enjoyed the course which has made me realise how much I love running. Rachael challenges me to do my best and it makes me feel really proud of myself.
She never doubts that I will be able to do anything and doesn’t treat me differently just because I’m a child.
It’s also nice to be involved with such a different mixture of women who are all really nice. And I love doing it with my mum, even though I’ve discovered we’re quite competitive on the sprint finish!
Tanya Taylor, 41 and Romy, 12, mother of four
I’ve achieved so much in one running course
Every session of the course, Run for the Hills, was different and while each was challenging, it left me with such a great sense of achievement each time.
Before this course, I didn’t feel strong or capable enough to do hill repeats but now, I feel confident and a better runner.
The group support was amazing and it never felt like we were competing, but helping each other to be the best we could be.
Rachael is great at inspiring and motivating the group, and believing in each of us and what we can achieve. I also loved the yoga at the end of the session, the perfect complement to a challenging session.
Sarah Crosier, 39, IT project manager
I went from 500metres to 10km in ten weeks
Alicia, far right
When I joined I couldn’t run 500m and on my last session, ten weeks later, I ran 10km off road! Rachael is an amazing coach who believed in me, which gave me the confidence to keep on running.
Whilst, I thought I was built to eat cake, she proved to me that I was also built to run and eat cake!
Alicia Ryan-Gywnn, far right
Fitbitch trail running courses are incredible
For introducing you to the sheer feelgood bliss of running in beautiful countryside, the weekend and Learn to Run 10km trails course can’t be beaten.
I’ve always been nervous of running on trails, preferring to stick to parks and roads, but Fitbitch running has introduced me to local trails that I didn’t even know existed, giving me the confidence to explore on my own.
Our coach, Rachael gave every one of us personalised advice, to help us improve our technique which helped me to run better and further.
We were all different speeds but Rachael adapted each session so that no one got left behind and we all achieved our goals.
I’ve done Fitbitch boot camps, as well as HiiT and the running club, and the camaraderie and support from everyone involved in incredible.
All of us on our running course enjoyed it so much that we’re planning to meet every week to continue our trail running.
Andrea Childs (far right), journalist, 46
I’ve conquered my fear of running up hills
I really loved the Run for the Hills course with Rachael. I’ve never enjoyed running up hills, but this course really helped me overcome my fear and actually enjoy them.
I felt a real sense of accomplishment after each session and feel fitter and no longer will fear the hill. I particularly loved ending the class with a yoga for runners session on the beach at sunset.
Rosie Beale, 35, massage therapist
I’ve improved so much and gained my run mojo
Run for the Hills was the first running course I’ve ever taken, and it’s transformed my running. It was great to join such a positive group and rather than fearing the training, I looked forward to each one.
I’ve learned so much alongside a brilliant group of runners, who have all been so supportive. And most importantly, it’s helped motivate me to get off the sofa and train.
I loved the challenge of doing things I’d not normally think of doing myself, and surprised myself with how much difference it’s made to my technique, endurance and enjoyment of running overall.
Each session finished with yoga and Rachael’s knowledge on the correct form for running and yoga has been a huge benefit in helping to prevent soreness and improve recovery times.
Now, I feel I can go out for a run and push myself to achieve more.
I loved the course so much, I’ve signed up for another one. Being part of such a friendly, supportive group with the added benefit of great coaching is an unbeatable combination.
Cassie McManus (top row, third right), 37, engineering consultant
Fitbitch running courses are the best
I had lost my motivation for running after endless runs along Hove seafront, and so I signed up for a 10 mile trail running course to try something new.
There is nothing comparative to the Fitbitch running group to help motivate you, and this course did not disappoint. It was fun, friendly and informative with great tips from the coaches on how to approach hill running and even when you felt the top of the hill wasn’t in sight, the Fitbitch community got you to the top.
Sally Crundwell, 31, human resources manager
I couldn’t have run a marathon without Fitbitch
I’d progressed from my first 5k to a half marathon training with Fitbitch, so there was no question of training with anyone else after signing up for my first marathon in 2012.
I knew that lots of people don’t make it to the actual race due to injury and poor training, and I wanted the support and expertise from the Fitbitch running coaches, as well as the encouragement and friendship of training with a group of women working towards the same goal.
The combination of strength/pace training and long runs on Sunday helped me increase my distance and confidence. And the support of Kate, and the other coaches really helped me get back to training when I came down with an illness in February. Their expertise helped me to adapt my training plan and still accomplish the race.
Fitbitch puts the personal into their group training, which makes all the difference.
Jenny Holmes, 43, human resources executive
From 10km to the ice challenges, Fitbitch has given me the confidence to pursue my dreams
I ran my first half marathon five months after I signed up for my first training run with Fitbitch as a complete beginner.
Amazing to consider that I had avoided exercise for over 20 years, I didn’t even run for a bus and I only stopped smoking three years ago.
I started running around the park on my own, and just about managed to get to 5km, some of it walking. And so after signing up for the Brooks 10k, I decided I needed help from the Fitbitch.
My first Sunday training run along the seafront was hard but the support I got was incredible. The coaches understand how you’re feeling, provide useful tips and generally just keep you going.
Not only have I changed as a runner but my body is so different, I’m slimmer, my clothes fit and it doesn’t matter even if I have the occasional food splurge.
I’ve now run half marathons, hilly trail runs, and am undergoing personal running training to complete the Polar Ice Marathon and Half Marathon in October 2015.
Training with Fitbitch has given me the confidence and the skills to take on any kind of running and challenge.
Clare Lusted, 38, pensions executive
Run for the Hills taught me so much and has made me a better runner
After years of just running on my own, I’ve learned so much about technique and finally I understand the importance of cadence. On my course, Run for the Hills, we were all very different levels. I was one of the slower ones but I was never made to feel like that because the course was cleverly designed so that all the runners were staggered.
This helped motivate me a lot because it meant that at times, I’d be chasing someone down in front of me, or I’d be pushing harder when I could hear someone behind me.
This course challenged me and ensured I pushed myself far more than I ever would on my own. Which has made all the difference to my running.
After 42 years, I finally can think of myself as a fast runner
Rachael was an extremely motivating coach! I only managed to make four of the six run for the Hills sessions but even within that space of my time, my speed has increased significantly due to Rachael’s instructions on technique, and her refusal to let me walk or give up any point. My perception of myself as being somebody with stamina but no speed has changed after 42 years!
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