When I started out, probably the most common question I got asked about Learn to Run was why would I do that when I can use an app for free. But interestingly, I don’t get asked that question very often anymore. Probably because people realise that support and accountability make a big difference.
And I don’t get as many questions about time or ability, because it’s pretty well known that it’s three times a week (sometimes we sneak in an optional fourth!) and that you only need to be walking to start off with.
The question that I get most is really, but what if I fail?
It’s a hard question for people to ask sometimes. It’s a vulnerable question. It’s owning up to your own fears and possibly what you think are your own failings.
“OK so I’m planning to sign up to do the Learn to Run in September but I’m so scared of failing just like I have with all the other exercise I’ve tried to do because I can never seem to follow through. Did anyone else feel the same way? It’s like my mind is tricking me to come up with some excuse not to do it. I’m also worried when I’ll fit everything in as I’m always so busy (and tired)! help!”
And I couldn’t really have predicted what happened next but it was pretty amazing.
Sofia: “I tried 4 times to do couch to 5k on my own, I wanted to run so badly and each time threw it in. I don’t even know what made me try LTR last October but it changed my life. It’s a mental as well as physical challenge and even now I find my head is my biggest obstacle. The support of the group is what kept me going some days. Well done for signing up and Enjoy!”
Suzi: “Eva this is totally normal and exactly how I felt before signing up in June last year. The awesome thing is that you have a support group all doing it with you, as well as awesome coaches and mentors. You will be cheered and supported all the way through”
Daisy: “Eva, I was SURE I would never make it. Whether it be my own laziness or it just being really hard, I really never thought I’d make it through. I know what you’re feeling all to well!
As it was I had ankle dramas and a big move and I still made it through the programme (it took 15 weeks though!).
The support these girls give is amazing, the accountability is there without the insane pressure of other programmes! It’s SO worth even just trying!!!”
Lea: “Yes – that’s what I thought too, but the support of the group & Katie got me through & I’ve never been more proud to complete anything! You can do it. You will do it – everyone here’s got your back!”
Leanne: “LTR was the best thing! We all go through similar thoughts and issues and it is great to be able to share these experiences with others in the group. Accountability and motivation were the 2 things I gained from the group. It is so worth starting, because you will be so surprised at what you are able to achieve.”
Kirsten: “I was worried about the same things Eva, but those concerns help fuel my determination to finish it. The group support and virtual high-5’s make all the difference. I’m still running, and I’m still surprising myself by what I am capable of. You can do it and op move will have your back.”
Ann: “Eva I was scared of failing for exactly the same reason. Then I was doing so well with the LTR course until I got sick and didn’t exercise for 2 weeks. My head was starting to say “see you always quit, you just can’t do this”. But then I got going again. The support is great and seeing my fellow group members overcoming their challenges made me want to get back to it too. Also I completely get the busy/ tired thing. I put off exercising for so long because I could not possibly fit it in. It turns out though that I am so much more motivated and efficient with the other stuff in my life when I am exercising. I easily make up for the time spent on exercise with better productivity.”
Georgia: “I always fail too. However I am doing July learn to run and I’ve managed to get to week 6 without any problems!!! Do it! I love it! (And I cannot believe I even say that!)”
And then I was blown away by how amazing a community we have. There might have been tears. Ok, there were definitely tears.
It was a great reminder of what we are all about. People don’t fail programs. Mostly programs fail people. Because they aren’t flexible, or because they are too restrictive, or because they put you on a starvation diet that sets you up to fail or simply because they confuse weight loss with fitness.
I believe great things happen in an environment of challenge and empathy. I believe that if you train for athleticism it extends into your whole life and changes you in ways that you would have never thought possible before. I don’t do shame. Ever. I believe that loving yourself now is what will give you the strength and capacity to do amazing things. It is beyond wonderful to see that embodied in our community.