I’ve just got back from my first ever group run session. Yep first one.

In my list of challenges I’d given myself for 2017 I had said I would like to get out and do more social running – Parkrun has helped with that & Saturday’s run was fab as I ran with the Windmilers Club Chairman & Men’s Team Captain, then had a lovely coffee with Sarah and Danielle.

However, when I say social running, I mean, Adidas Runners, Nike Run Club, Midnight Runners etc. etc. So why haven’t I – where shall I start the list – I wont be quick enough, everyone will be waiting for me, I wont know what I’m doing, I won’t enjoy it, I won’t know what I’m doing  etc. etc. etc.

This is where the guys at The Running Works come in. I am on their mailing list & Facebook site as I’ve contemplated going to their lunchtime runs (see above excuses why I only contemplated it). But they sent an email around saying they were going to have a Beginners Group starting in Feb – ooh!

The beginners group would basically be a series of 8 sessions where by the end of the 8 weeks you should be able to run 5k in one go, aka Couch to 5K type. I exchanged a few email with Nikki from The Running Works who at one point did say – “didn’t you just run 10k at the weekend” after seeing Darren’s (aka @RunnersKnees) photos on twitter and IG. And I would be surprised if you didn’t ask the same question.

Well, can I run, yeah, sort of. In truth, I still have a couple of walk breaks in my 5k Parkrun – some of that is making my way through the mud granted but yes, I can get round a 10k, even a half marathon but I cant run one.

Looking at the cadence graph from my two most recent races (10k and 5k) I probably ran about 80% of each and I want that to be 100%.

So today, I made sure I was working from my City office and took off about 12.45 to join my beginners session. I was really looking forward to it, until I got halfway there (will I be at the back, what will it be like, will it be 5k for the Fitness Rewards Strava competition? – it was!).

Once I was there I got myself changed and met my other lovely beginners.

We kicked off with a 5min brisk (I mean very brisk – almost jogging pace) down to Tower Bridge, before doing 90seconds run, 60seconds walk around St. Katherine’s Dock. I chatted with Dave (one of two coaches running with us) about what I’d done so far and where my progress was. He said that I’ll probably find the first 3 weeks quite easy, but then it’ll start to get challenging from week 4-5 onwards – I am really looking forward to this, if you’re not challenging yourself I don’t see the point. Eventually by the end of the 8 weeks we should be able to run for 30mins and/or 5K – which would be quite an achievement for me (current 5k PB is 43.08)

And what a day for it, it was glorious, kind of mild and perfect running conditions. I wasn’t at the back, I wasn’t at the front, I was nicely in the middle of the two groups that had formed. We chatted all the way around the dock before doing a second loop to make up 20mins of run/walk before a brisk walk back to the shop.

I was surprised to see my pace – it’s amazing how much running with others gives you a bit of a boost and takes your mind off your pace. I tried to concentrate on staying conversational during the run interval to make sure I was at the right intensity – it barely seemed like we were out for 10mins before it was time to head back.

Once back we had some water and nattered a bit more (us runners really are a chatty lot). then it was time to head back to work (boooooo!), I decided to have a slow trot back to the office to make it up to 3.1miles.

I really enjoyed running with the group and I can’t wait for what we get up to next week – they keep it as a bit of a surprise – I’m guessing it’ll be more running, less walking (just a hunch)!.

Roll on next Monday!