Posts Tagged ‘London’

The Diary of a Running Mum

June 9, 2016 at 12:11
Posted by Rachael Woolston

Juggling four kids and a workaholic husband, Tanya Taylor, 43, also decided to take on the challenge of running every day of 2016. Here’s the first of her despatches about life on the run…


Tanya at the London Marathon

Tanya at the London Marathon

I’ve just completed my 156th run in 156 days. Sometimes they are long and ploddingly slow and other times they are fast and challenging, leaving me bright red and dripping with sweat. I’ve run in the sun, rain, wind and even in snow when forecasters were warning people not to go outdoors. From New York to Paris, Berlin to London and all over East Sussex, my feet have taken me a long way this year. And I have got another 210 days to go in my bid to run every day of 2016.

Runnual, is part of the Fitbitch challenge community, a list of challenges throughout the year which anyone can follow to help you have goals and keep you motivated.  Some are easy, a park run, others are about adventure, such as a the 24 hour Endure Relay Race and then there are those about consistency, such as swimming every day in July. But other than the Fitbitch founder, Rachael, I am the only one who committed to  RUNNUAL, running every day throughout 2016.

So, why am I doing it, everyone asks? I liked the idea of having a focus and commitment to my training that was simple to follow. Not that I didn’t have my doubts about doing it; what if I got injured, could I fit it in every day? But most of all, I was worried about failing. What if I started and couldn’t actually do it?

I knew the only way I was going to be able to commit and make this work was to make some rules.

Tanya’s Five Run Commandments

  1. No matter what the weather, I have to run outside. I wanted to get the benefit of fresh air and observe the changing seasons not a gym changing room.
  2. I have to wear proper running kit and trainers. No dash to the car with my handbag allowed to be classed as a run.
  3. I have to be kind to myself. If I had a crappy run, I was determined not to beat myself up about it but to just let it go.
  4. I had to run at least one mile, no less, for it count.
  5. I had to record it on Strava. For me, this was a way to keep track of my runs like a virtual diary.

Run number 1 of 366 on New Year’s Day didn’t feel so unusual. For the last 4 years I have run on New Years with my friend E. We run along Brighton & Hove seafront, past the all-night revellers, and discuss our hopes for the forthcoming year. There is something cleansing and empowering about our ritual and it’s always one of my favourite runs of the year.

Fast forward to now and I’m almost six months through my runnual year. It has been both amazing and at times very hard. There have been runs where I’ve seen the sun rise above the sea or set over the Sussex hills. Some have been in pouring rain, into 70mph winds or under baking hot sun. I’ve enjoyed runs where I’ve laughed listening to stories from some of my fellow runners, and others where I have run alone, tears pouring down my face as I’ve worked things through in my head. Running is cathartic, eventually everything comes to the surface as surely as putting one foot in front of the other.

But have there been times when I’ve felt like giving up? Yes, on those runs were my legs felt like lead and my mind is telling me I’m useless. But just as frequently, I’ve been rewarded with runs where I have felt invincible.

Stand out runs have to be running at sunrise alone through Paris, or in Central Park, New York in a -22 degree windchill, clapping my hands above my head in an attempt to keep warm, then returning to the hotel with cheers (and relief that I survived, I suspect) from the hotel doormen. I have run on the track in Berlin’s Olympic stadium having a panic attack following a particularly gruelling 15 mile race, and had my lovely running buddy J grab my hand and tell me I was going to be okay.

Recent runs have included running at night in the woods with some of the Fitbitch running club, with just head torches and giggling for guidance through the dark while training for a 24 hour team endurance race. But the best run of the year (and maybe my life so far) was the London Marathon in April 2016.  It was my first marathon and I’d trained hard, but had spent months feeling anxious, self doubt gnawing away at me. But it was amazing, a total high from beginning to end; the crowds, the atmosphere, the views, it was brilliant. I made new friends en-route (shout out to N and L from Sheffield) who I chatted to for almost 20 miles. Both my mind and body felt strong that day, and I managed to keep a consistent pace throughout. At mile 21, there was a moment when a young woman locked eyes with me and shouted in a thick East End cockney accent; “Go on Tanya, you’ve got this, you’ve got this girl”, and that was when I knew, I had.

If you had told me eight months ago that I’d run every day, I would have said no way. I would have said, ‘I don’t have the time, I’m not fit or strong enough.’ It’s not like running comes naturally to me; my body is not a classic ‘runners body’…I’m more Fatima Whitbread than Paula Radcliffe. But if there is one thing this challenge has taught me, it is that you an achieve anything with the right focus.

Tanya’s top tips on how to incorporate regular running into you life

  • Use your run as part of your social life. It is more fun to run with company, and you can always have a cup of tea at the end.
  • Fit it into your daily tasks/routine: I run from the supermarket carpark after I’ve done my shopping or I leave half an hour earlier to pick the kids up from their friends house/clubs and do a quick run before they finish.
  • Utilise your local running group. At Fitbitch, we have a community run on Tuesday’s, a pace session on a weekday evening and usually a long run on a Sunday. That means I only have 4 runs left to plan myself.
  • Think outside of the box. I recently had a boxing lesson, then washed in the sea, applied my moisturiser and make-up on the beach and headed straight to Charleston literary festival (You can roll your eyes here…) When the talk had finished, I changed in the carpark (there was a boob flash, but hey!) and did a quick run through the countryside stumbling across an amazing teahouse in the middle of the country as I did.
  • Download the free App Strava onto your phone. It’s ridiculously addictive. Strava allows you to monitor your speed and distance, and keeps you posted on any improvements. You can also follow your friends’ training and allow them to follow yours. I recently got approached by a (friendly) guy in a carpark who follows me on Strava and congratulated me on my achievements to date. I’d never met him before.
  • S-T-R-E-T-C-H and have massages. It may seem indulgent, but it literally is the oil to your wheels.
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously. There is nothing worse than someone having a meltdown because they’ve missed getting a PB at a local Parkrun when there are people fighting much bigger personal battles.
  • If I’m having a bad run, I shift my focus. I think about my form, keeping my torso upright, my feet light, making sure my arms are not crossing in front of my body…and if things are really bad, I imagine I’m Rocky running through Philadelphia.

With any luck, I hope this post and my monthly updates will encourage a few of you to try running regularly. The beauty of running everyday is that it removes the pressure about running to mileage and shorter, consistent runs have been as equally beneficial to my fitness levels and endurance. But the main thing I’ve learnt is no matter how tired/ill/sad I feel, I always feel better after running. Always.

I look forward to keeping you posted over the year with my progress, and will also introduce music for your running playlist, let you know of any new kit I’ve sampled and new races I’ve loved. In the meantime, happy running!

Training for Endure 24 Relay

Training for Endure 24 Relay

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Ultimate Summer Body Transform Hove

June 6, 2016 at 6:00
Posted by Rachael Woolston

Course dates: June 6th – 30th

Choose between 6-7am course or 7-8am course

(Mon-Thurs one hour & Weds 30 minutes from 6:30am)

Early bird price £155 thereafter £180 – discount ends on 26th May 2016


Reset your fitness and weight goals and achieve them with our four week healthy eating and exercise course that will help you build your fitness and strength progressively, even as a complete beginner.

Small groups, personalised attention and the Fitbitch eating plan, this four week course will leave you feeling and looking fantastic. Ditch your fear and in four weeks we will help you transform your body and how you feel about yourself. Includes one to one appointments with our fantastic female coaches before and after the course to help you evaluate and focus on your goals. (Please note that at Hove, Weds are a HiiT session of 30 minutes).


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Running for women – become a TrackStar!

June 3, 2016 at 1:23
Posted by Rachael Woolston

Running is one of the simplest and easiest ways of getting fit but learning new techniques and ways of running will help you to improve and keep boredom at bay. Here’s how…


When you first start running on one of our Learn to Run 5km courses or perhaps the Couch to 5km that you follow on your phone, it can seem like reaching that 5km is the only goal that you will ever achieve with running and you’ll be happy with it. Yet, little by little, that voice inside your head starts to say, ‘Ooh, it would be nice to run a little bit faster or further.’ Or, alternatively, ‘Why does this STILL feel difficult?’ or ‘If I run this route one more time, I’m going to go insane.’

Small wonder as while we like habits and routines to make us feel comfortable, as humans, we also need stimulus to keep us interested and most importantly to ensure we progress which is vital. Because whether you are competitive or you just run for fun, seeing yourself get faster or run further or simply run the same distance but for it to feel easier is the thing that inspires us to keep running.

So, if you are looking for something that will help you to improve your running, meet others not to mention get your pins looking tip-top for summer, why not try one of our NEW courses launching NEXT WEEK Monday June 6th.


Always wanted to see what it was like to run on an athletics track but been too intimidated to try? Well, now you can with our brand new, fun track sessions at Withdean Stadium.

The sessions are suitable for EVERY level from beginner to the advanced, the sessions will be a mixture of pace and interval work but in the usual Fitbitch style so they’ll have a little twist in the tale to make these sessions fun, innovative and super effective.

When: Mondays, 10am. Pay for the full course or single session drop in. On week one, please meet Tara in reception. Book here choosing courses or drop in as appropriate

Run for the Hills

Nothing gets you fitter or develops your running more than hill repeats. It builds strength in the legs and gluteal muscles and also mental fortitude, one of the most important elements for any runner. This course focuses on helping you to develop the correct technique for running up and down hills. And doing it in a group means it gets done!

This current summer course will also include yoga for runners after every session, weather dependent. This course in particular will get you ready for TrailBlazer 8km (July 30th) the Phoenix 10km, as well as laying the groundwork for any trail half marathons in September.

When: Weds, 7pm, Alternate weeks Hove Park and Preston Park, full course no drop ins


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Running for Weightloss

May 11, 2016 at 7:15
Posted by Rachael Woolston

10 weeks, Monday Weds 11th – Weds July 13th

Early bird deal: 10% off if booked by 24th April

Become a run member and get a third off

Want to lose weight and burn fat through running? Then join us on our ten week course to help you get moving. This is for total beginners and/or lapsed exercisers and you don’t need to have any experience of running in the past, nor will we expect you to be able to run at the moment. 

So, how does it work? We will provide you an eating plan as well as a one-to-one optional assessment to help set your goals and take your body statistics.

You will then come every week for a fun run workout, where you will learn techniques to help make running easier and gradually learn to build your distance and confidence. 

In addition, you will be given homework to do to help you achieve your goals. This will be optional but if completed you are more likely to reach your target.

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Members Run Preston Park

April 12, 2016 at 7:00
Posted by Rachael Woolston

Join our running membership*for our FREE Tuesday night runs.

Tonight’s regular Preston Park (meeting at the top end of the Velodrome and park entrance on Preston Drove). Please be on time as we will warm up by running to the cafe to complete the Preston Parkrun route.

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Learn to Run 5km

Posted by Rachael Woolston

Learn to Run Course Dates: April 12th – May 10th

Our Learn to Run 5km is a fun, friendly, 5 or 10 week course that will help you to get fit and progress you running endurance and fitness. It is accompanied by a training plan which you can download from our website free at

Sessions last for 45 minutes and if you miss one, you can use up your sessions in our

Girls 12-17 can come free with an accompanying paying adult.

This course is for complete beginners and will build you up from zero to 5km . It is also perfect for lapsed runners or those looking to build their confidence.

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Spring’Spiration Hove

April 11, 2016 at 6:00
Posted by Rachael Woolston


Dates: April 11th – 6th May

Choose between 6-7am course or 7-8am.

(Mon-Thurs one hour & Weds 30 minutes from 6.30am)

Please note that the final week falls on a Bank Holiday and will run Tues-Friday.

Find your fitness mojo, not to mention your tummy and bum muscles with our four week healthy eating and fitness course.

This course will draw exercise inspiration from many different fitness forms from ballet to boxing to childhood games and calisthenics.  Our camps will ALWAYS get you fit and in shape, but this course will also re-invigorate your workout routine or maybe introduce you to an entire new way of thinking about exercising and eating healthily.

All full courses include complimentary 1:1 pre and post course assessment and the Fitbitch eating plan.

Early bird price for one camp, £155 ends midnight, Friday April 1st. Thereafter, £180. To book visit our booking page and choose Hove.

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GRW: Full Moon Trail Run

April 5, 2016 at 7:00
Posted by Rachael Woolston


Watch the sun set and the moon rise on this beautiful trail run on the South Downs open FREE to all those who are joining us on the Girls Run the World trip to Berlin in May.

This is all about getting to know each other, not about who is fastest or who can run the longest. We will run at a conversational pace on an out and back route so those who wish to run less can do so.

Run club members, £3

Non members: £6

You must be able to run 5km to join us.

Location: Meet the first car park past the fork on Devil’s Dyke Road


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Members Run @ Hove Seafront

March 22, 2016 at 7:00
Posted by Rachael Woolston

Brighton Phoneix 10km

Brighton Phoneix 10km

Join our annual membership for £50 and enjoy our weekly Tuesday evening runs (except school holidays) plus lots of discounts off our running courses, workshops and benefits with local shops. Read more here

It doesn’t matter how fast or slow you run 5km, as long as you can do so without stopping you can join us on our membership runs. We have pace angels, who are all beginners who started running with us, there to help on every run.

Tonight’s run is meeting at Hove Seafront . Be ready to run  at 7pm.

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Feel good fitness – for life

March 19, 2016 at 1:51
Posted by Rachael Woolston

At the end of our four week fitness courses, we graduate with a Parkrun, which for many of our women is the first time they have ever run 5km (oh, and we always organise a lovely breakfast somewhere after too!)

So, congratulations to Zoe, who today run the Hove Promenade 5km in 35 minutes. She was joined by several of our other boot campers who once were in a similar position and who can now run 5km without thinking about it – in fact, I think Justine even surprised herself with a PB today.

Our courses also include a completely optional healthy eating diet. Justine admitted today that after many months of only doing the exercise, she started following the tenets of our eating plan (hurrah, finally!). And guess what? She’s lost 10lbs.

We always meet everyone who signs up to a full four week course before the camp to help talk through and set goals. After all, how can you achieve a target when you haven’t outlined what it is? Vicky is aiming to lose 14lbs by her 50th. Her aim is to make small, easy changes to her diet and her target last camp was to stop eating muffins. She managed to only have two this month and the outcome of that is that she’s four pounds lighter which makes her bang on target for her goal.

Fitbitch is  not an exercise class or an army style boot camp, it is small group, supportive environment where you receive exactly the  kind of coaching you need. Whether you are a total beginner or someone who likes to be pushed to your max, we cater for EVERYONE.

If you would like an introduction to our courses, we are now launching one week beginners’ courses. Our first is a four session course starting Tuesday 29th March. You can read about it more here.

So if you really want to enjoy exercising, have fun and become part of an incredibly supportive women’s fitness movement that will motivate and inspire you even when you’re not doing one of our courses, come and try us.

Live in Worthing or Shoreham and want to join Fitbitch there? Sign up for our May launch

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Join the Fitbitch Challenge Community 2016

March 10, 2016 at 6:35
Posted by Rachael Woolston

Why not join our Fitbitch Challenge community, where we will help inspire and motivate you to take on exercise challenges every month and you could win reward points? From beginners’ challenges to those for regular exercisers our challenges will help you bin the bulge and motivate you to move – magnificently – every month

Exercising and participating is always better with others

Exercising and participating is always better with others


All you have to do is become a member of our FREE Fitbitch online community and complete our ONE of our selected challenges EACH MONTH from the list below throughout 2016. You can join ANYTIME in the year but from the month you join, you must continue thereafter to do one challenge per month. Besides, the more months that you complete, the more points you are rewarded and these can be redeemed for up to £150 of our products and services. (T&C apply).

You can stick to level 1 challenges, or mix it up and progress through the levels up to level five (each level corresponds to points and the more you get, the more fitness rewards you will unlock). And if you DO achieve a challenge every month you’ll get a bonus ten points.

Committing to a goal every month will provide focus, motivation and consistency. And the benefits?  Improved fitness, body shape and and an incredible sense of achievement.

We are not leaving you to motivate and exercise alone though.

When you sign up to our Challenge year, you will become part of our 200 strong Fitbitch online community on Facebook and Strava, where you will be able meet up with others to train and participate in the challenges – just like our pictures from previous years highlight. Because at the end of the day, the key to getting fit and staying fit isn’t the promise of weight loss or a perter bum, it’s the fact that you enjoy yourself which all comes down to making sure you exercise with a group of great women. #bettertogether

I’m in, what do I do next?


The Fitbitch Community Challenges 2016

(if you have a challenge that you would like included, please email for consideration)


(1) Complete a Parkrun, a Fitbitch Run Club Members run or any 5km at any speed

(1) Complete a four week Fitbitch course

(1)  Road cycle over 25 miles

(1)  Complete the Run-uary Challenge

(5) Run 365 days of the year


(1) Parkrun or a Fitbitch boot camp course, a Fitbitch Run Club Members run or any 5km at any speed

(2) Complete the Fitbitch Flexibility Improvement Challenge (a video of the ‘Runner’s Sun Salutation’ will be released. Add one sun salutation a day to improve your mobility).

(2) Get a ParkRun PB

(2) Feb 7th Run a 9 mile trail race

(3) Run the Vitality Brighton, Worthing or Tunbridge Wells Half Marathon


(1) Parkrun or a Fitbitch boot camp course, a Fitbitch Run Club Members run or any 5km at any speed

(2) Parkrun PB, or two Parkruns 

(3)  March 19,  Run the Birling Gap 10km Trail Race

(3/4/5) Ride a sportive in Burgess Hill – 36 miles, 54 or 72miles

(4) March 6th, Run the off-road Steyning Stinger Half Marathon Or Birling Gap Half Marathon March 19th


(1) Parkrun or a Fitbitch boot camp course

(2) April 17th, Run the BMK 10 km

(3/4) April 24th, Run the RawEnergy Pursuits Bluebell 10 km or 10 mile 

(5) April, Run the Paris, Brighton or London marathon 


(1)Parkrun, a Fitbitch boot camp course

(2) Get a Parkrun PB or run 2 parkruns

(2/3/4) Girls Run the World Berlin 10km, Half Marathon or 25km (early bird prices to be released February)

(4) Ride every day in May – whether it’s down your road, on Preston Park cycle track or up the Beacon, just ride. You can join our online cycle community here to meet others to ride with.


(1)Parkrun, a Fitbitch boot camp course

(1/2/3/4) 5th June, Ardingley Triathlon  (Supersprint, Sprint, Open Water Sprint or Olympic Distance Open Water – we will also organise relay teams if you don’t want to do the full event)

(2) 22nd June, The Weakest Link Relay Race (we will organise teams)

(3) 12th June, Run the Pollesden Lacey Off Road 10km 

(3/4) 12th June, Ride 52 or 74 miles in France with the Wiggle French Resistance Sportive 

(4/5) 18th June, Run the South Downs Half Marathon or Full Marathon (5). Or join a Fitbitch relay team (4) or 24 Hour Relay Enduro 11-12th June 


(1)Run parkrun, or complete a Fitbitch boot camp course

(2) Run a Parkrun PB or 2 x Parkruns

(2) 13th July, Run the Brighton Phoenix 10km  or Wednesday 20th July Beat the Tide 10km Worthing

(4) 9th July, Team up and navigate, run, bike and kayak in the Chilterns Adventure Team Race

(5) Swim everyday in July  – whether it’s up and down your holiday pool, in the sea or in a training pool just swim

(5) Race to the Stones, 100km UltraMarathon 16-17th July


(1) Parkrun

(2) Run a Parkrun PB or 2 x Parkruns 

(2)  3rd August Tri It Aqualathon Pells Pool Lewes  (350m swim,3km run)

(3/4/5) 7th August, Ride 47, 72 or 103 miles in the cycle sportive Haywards Heath Howler 


(1)Run parkrun, or complete a Fitbitch boot camp course

(2) Run a Parkrun PB or 2 x Parkruns 

(3) 3rd September, Team up and navigate as you run, ride and kayak Questars Adventure Race 

(2/3/4) 10th September Run trails through the beautiful Kent countryside, 7km (2), 15km (3) or 21km (4)

(2/3/4) 11th September, Brighton and Hove Triathlon SuperSprint, Sprint, Relay or Olympic

(2/3/4) 25th September, Brighton to Brighton Sportive,

(5) Man Vs Mountain, Lake District 3 September 


(1) Run parkrun, or complete a Fitbitch boot camp course

(2) Run a Parkrun PB or 2 x Parkruns

(3) 16th October, Brighton 10 miles 

(4) Girls Run the World trip – TBC


(1)Run parkrun, OR complete a Fitbitch boot camp course

(2) Run a Parkrun PB

(2) 13th November, Brooks Brighton 10km 

(3/5) 29th November, Three Molehills Team Relay or run it solo


(1)Run parkrun, or complete a Fitbitch boot camp course

(1) Santa Dash

(2) Run a Parkrun PB or 2 Parkruns

(3) December 3rd, Mince Pie 10 miles 


Fitness Rewards

12 points and over – £25

20 points and over – £50

30 points and over – £75

40 points and over – £150

Terms & Conditions

  • You must subscribe to the community challenge obligations as outlined on the sign up form
  • Fitness rewards can not be redeemed along with any other offer
  • They can not be redeemed against personal training or Girls Run the World trips
  • All rewards must be redeemed for services that start before the end of April 2017
  • Rewards can not be transferred to another person
  • Only three spaces will be eligible per camp/time where £150 rewards are redeemed.

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SOS Marathon

March 2, 2016 at 7:00
Posted by Rachael Woolston

So, it’s March and you are only now beginning to get focused that you are about to run 26.2miles? Never fear.

If your training has suffered and you need help to get you back on track, come and join our small group training. We can’t help you with making up the miles that you may not have done yet, but we can help you work on race day focus, improving your pace and just getting you into the right head space to approach race day.

All sessions will last 45 minutes to an hour and will focus on tempo and pace work in a small group environment. We can also help you to address injuries with stretching advice and more.

Dates: 6 weeks form March 2nd – April 10th

£60 non members, £50 for run club members.

Don’t forget to join our online group too

Coach: Rachael

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Run for the Hills

Posted by Rachael Woolston

Hill training makes you feel THIS good

Build strength, stamina and speed with our popular hill running training course. It doesn’t matter how fast or slow you are and you only need to be able to run 5km to do this eight week course. Combining running conditioning exercises, technique as well as hill running reps, this course will transform you as a runner, provide you with a focus and help make running fun.

If you are signed up for a trail event then this course is ideal.

Members, £50. Non members, £64.

Missed sessions can be used at our HiiT conditioning for runners and cyclists within the duration of the course.

Dates: Weds March 2nd – April 20th.

Coach: Tara


Week One, March 2nd

Hove Park, meet where Droveway and Goldstone Crescent intersect

Week Two, March 9th

Brighton Marina, Asda Car Park furthest away from supermarket

Week Three, March 16th

Hove Park Droveway and Goldstone Crescent

Week Four, March 23rd

Same as above

Week Five, March 30th,

Hove Seafront by King Alfred car park

Week 6, April 6th

Hove Park Droveway and Goldstone Crescent

Week 7, April 13th

Three Corner Copse, by the mini roundabout, Goldstone Crescent & Woodland Drive

Week 8, April 20th

Same as above


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