Don't think club running is for me... - Couch to 5K

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Don't think club running is for me...

I went on my second run with our local running club's beginners group tonight and came back rather deflated. I was definitely the oldest runner there and felt very discouraged by the younger (and in many cases, dare I say it. rather plump) young ladies sprinting past me. I ran at my usual comfortable pace, knowing that if I tried to match their speed I would soon run out of steam, but it was disheartening. Not helped when a passerby commented 'Are you the tail-end Charlie then?' I felt myself getting more and more grumpy by the minute. And when the leader of our group said sympathetically that I would probably get faster as I got fitter and would then be able to keep up with the others it was the final straw. Most of the others were at least forty years younger than me and were not fitter in my opinion, just had youth on their side. I was slightly consoled when we reached a hill and I was one of only three in our group who ran all the way to the top. And then on the final K I found this old tortoise/turtle was actually running a bit faster than some of the hares who had elbowed me out of the way in the first K. Ha! Amazingly my phone said that my average pace was the fastest I've managed for a month. Don't think I'll do it again though. It took all the pleasure out of running for me and also the feeling I usually have of being in control. In addition it made me feel so oooooold. Back to running with the dogs I think.

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Well, in my head I showed them up a bit KK. Not sure they saw it that way!

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Dogs are the best! They are full of joy and run circles around us, I feel like my dog just LOVES when I'm running with her.

I think the hill climb sounds like a feat in itself, and like you are doing amazingly well. Different strokes for different folks!

Running club isn't for everyone I suppose. Personally, I love the solitude of running alone. Have fun either way :-)

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Aww. That doesn't sound at all friendly. I'm not surprised you felt grumpy - we deserve a bit of respect for our achievements at our great age!

Ditch them I say. Your virtual running buddies are here, and we know you are awesome!

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Do you know Ullyrunner that's just what I thought! I already belong to a club which I love, and where people understand and support me. Why would I want to join another one?

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Aghhh that's such a shame you had bad experience TT They don't sound very encouraging or inclusive Just remember if you apply the age grading thingy they do for Parkruns you would have zapped loads of them We know you are great runner and you are not old so enough of that Don't let them get you down put it behind you and remember the tortoise always wins in the end Love and hugs winging their way to you

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Aaah thank you Fit for60. Hugs back. I kept saying Age-grade in my head as I trailed after the massed fluorescent youngsters. I even mentioned it to one of the leaders, who, to be fair, revealed that her age-grade score was about the same as mine. But I am easily intimidated. It still felt like I was back at school and last but one in the sack race .

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Up to you but I'd put money on you beating most of that group after a few runs.

Besides, C25k graduates are made of stronger stuff.

Water off a ducks back but are you sure they weren't just overly defensive given your hill climbing prowess ?

Anyone can run a few ks quickly but it takes an experienced runner to understand pace and distance.

Go for it - show them what a real runner can do ;)

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Hmmmm. Would you like to be my personal trainer rnw? The trouble is I know it's all about self-belief and confidence but I really don't feel up to the extra mental challenge right now. I need a little healing time trotting through the forest with my dogs who think I'm the only runner in the world ;-)

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I suspect you can find someone more eloquent than me but if you need inspiration try looking at the grey coloured badge next to your name. That is a sign of a runner and someone with real determination and self-belief. HU run club or moaning mini club - enjoy your next run.

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Right. No more moaning mini for me. Onwards and upwards! Thanks RNW :-)

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I have a feeling that these running clubs may be a bit too competitive for me -- as I don't have a competitive bone in my body - and also probably really the province of younger ones.

But that is why I like Parkrun so much -- everybody fits in nicely , fat and thin, old and young, etc. - and everybody is supportive of anybody that they know are trying!! :)

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I haven't done Park Run for a bit Bazza as although people were supportive it didn't stop me being close to last each time. It doesn't help that our local park run is on a racecourse so you can see exactly how far everyone else is in front of you . I was recommended another Parkrun yesterday, which is twisty and wooded so you can pretend you are just out for a run on your own when everyone disappears. So I may do that. But I may just carry on in my own delusional dog- accompanied world where I don't compare my efforts to any but my own previous ones...

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Running by yourself is fine, I do it twice a week :) -- but you would be surprised at how Parkrun gets you going that little bit "extra" -- even for someone non-competitive like me :) But maybe you could think laterally - volunteer as the "tailrunner" and then you can officially run "last" and everybody will think what a wonderful person you are to hold yourself up just so you can look after the end runners !! !!! Up here, for thinking -- down there, for dancing!! There is always more than one way to skin a cat.

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Great idea Bazza. But what if I can't even keep up with the tail runners ? ;-(

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OH!! You will -- you will!!!! You at least have completed C25K!!

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Thank you all so much for your support. This is the sort of running

club I want to belong to!

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Your experience sounds a bit disheartening, however I think your description of the club runners is a bit awful. I'm sure there are a few of us doing this course that are 'a bit plump' & it's attitudes like that, that put us off going out to run !!

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Not at all loubou. I don't have an 'attitude' towards plumpness. I was just being factual about what I saw, I was plump myself a year ago. I have lost over two stone since starting running. What was disheartening is that people just starting running who seem to be at the stage I was fitness and weightwise a year ago can STILL run faster than me!

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Lol ! I went out with my daughter yesterday who I have persuaded to do c25k. She is on w3. On the first run she bounded off into the distance at Roger Bannister pace. I was just running with no intervals. When I caught her up she said Mum you're SO slow !! I got some mighty respect later on when I had done my 36 minutes solid......young people !! Tsk !!

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well you showed them with that hill run! If they aren't supportive then i'm with the others, ditch them! Well done anyway on your pace .:)

I've just joined a club attached to our local running shop and they are SO encouraging and lovely, it makes me sad that other clubs are not the same. they are a casual group rather than a pro but much less scary for it and the couple that run the shop are fab, never met such enthusiasm! I must have hit lucky with that.:)

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I think you have. I would really like a club for senior citizens. The thing about the young'uns is that they all seem to run with full make-up and immaculate hairstyles as well. Maybe I should just start wearing bizarre ear-rings and a purple hat and become known as the club eccentric.

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our runners sound a bit more down to earth than that! don't let anyone make you change! :)

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This is why I haven't ventured into group running yet! But your comment about the bystander asking if you are the tail runner really gets my goat, I get people commenting to me when I run too. "You're doing well love" in a patronising voice, little do they know that I've already run 5 miles and know full well that that person probably can't run for the bus. I'm with you, I'm a solo runner but with some really good music to keep me company! The whole point is to enjoy it!

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Yes, I agree Cloudchaser. Everyone's a judge when you run past them but what was that Roosevelt quote “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

That's me then. I feel a chorus of 'Chariots of Fire' coming on...

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Here, here! Well said. Times have changed & I can relate to what you're saying about some of the youngers who look like they wouldn't break out in a sweat with their immaculate hair, face & nails. Though I'm not as young as them or as fit & certainly not as fast, I take pride in my own journey & how far I've come & you should too. If you don't think the group is for you, could you try another? The great thing about running is that you can do it on your own. Good news re your pace & even better re the hill challenge! Hold onto that thought & as for the critic, well I'm sure you could run rings! I noticed you have tried park runs, as a newbie to park runs - I would definitely recommend them. They are addictive & something about running in a pack that spurs you on (my best times so far are with the 3 park runs that I've ran recently). Good luck.

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I think what disconcerted me most is that when the group leader got us to pause after each kilometer, instead of Laura's brisk walking , she got us to stand still and do more leg stretches and arm circles, which if anything seemed to make me stiffen up. Plus my balance is so poor these days that I lurch sideways and flail wildly if I attempt anything while standing on one leg. Laura. I am sorry I deserted you. Will you have me back?

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My two children began the programme with me, running rings around me and complaining that I was too slow. They both stopped running at around week six and left me and my labs to run on alone. Now they both admit that I am much fitter than them. I love to run with my dogs and have no wish for any other company besides saying hello to the people I meet along the way. Run on solo and enjoy!

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That's a real shame. At my beginners' running group we have the mantra "mind the gap", which means that the faster runners are constantly turning round and joining on the end, which means that no-one is left behind or made to feel too slow. Incidentally, by far the fittest and fastest in our group is the oldest (a retired sports teacher). I'm probably the second oldest. It's sensible to run at a comfortable pace for you. When I did the Sport Relief 3 miler, a lot of people set off very fast and I found that I was overtaking them by the second mile as they had run out of steam.

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Love that mantra cross west They sound a lovely group of people

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I love the mantra too crosswest. Not so good when the group leader is the only one coming back and asking the tail-ender (me) 'Are you sure you're all right ?' and 'You don't have to run up the hill you know-you can walk" I realise she meant well, but grrrrrr!

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Thanks for posting this because there are plenty of oldies, like me, I'm sure who fear that this is what the local running group is like and just don't dare going along! I've cycled nearly all my life and am quite a strong, fast cyclist but I get disheartened by young things racing past me cycling badly on crummy bikes and I have to tell myself 'it's just young legs, they'll not always be able to do that' but it's hard not to feel put down. It's slightly too far away but someone nearish to me is running a Ladies Jogging Group I've noticed and I've wondered about trying to start one of my own. When I restarted cycling as an adult it was with a group called the Ladies Cycling Fellowship and we were all older and slower and liked to chat and stop for cake and generally have a nice time and I loved it and it did me good. I like the idea of 'mind the gap' running that Crosswest has posted above. It seems a bit like luck in finding a group of people you can run with. Anyway, good luck with the running.

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My brother went out with the local club. He is unquestionably fit and a runner but he didn't enjoy himself and only went a couple of times. I'm sure it is poor organisation and protocols really combined with who happens to go - other people here have had lovely experiences of feeling welcomed at running clubs. He goes out informally every week now with a smaller group of mates and does a park run every month though (not sure it is part of the national thing) - he occasionally tries to encourage me to do it but I don't have road shoes, don't want to slam my delicate body on tarmac.... and most importantly I'm happy doing what I'm doing. I've only once run with another human and although there were some nice things about it psychologically, my body didn't like it and I can live without ever doing that again.

With a dog, they don't mind coming back for you or catching you up or anything.

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Glad to know I am not alone GoogleMe! I do like people. I just don't like running with them!

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That's it exactly. If my husband or my sons wanted me to support them, I'd do it *for them* (this is not likely ever to be tested - they all know about the tools), and I'd go for a run with my Dad for sentimental reasons and because it is bloomin' brilliant that could be an option at his age and with my diagnosis (although we haven't actually done it yet) But that's it.

Generally when it comes to fitness things I really have to be on my own. Obviously there are other people around when I am in the swimming pool, and I do go with my husband (as a way of encouraging him to go) and we do compare notes but essentially we get on with it by ourselves (he's literally twice as fast as me)

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That's a shame. I started running with the local running club near me because I found it hard running on my own. They have started a beginners group based on C25K and have 170 (yes 170) signed up they range massively in age and ability and are split in to suitable groups.

One of their rules is that every so often the runners at the front have to loop back to behind the last runner to keep the group together.

That way the more able get a good workout because they are running further and the less able do not feel discouraged.

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That sounds such a good idea. It didn't happen with this club, though they do have someone at the rear to make sure the slowest runner doesn't get left on their own. Unfortunately, last night she had to go back to the clubhouse with someone who injured their knee and they seemed to have no contingency plan...

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I love your group vespa

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I think they are great as well, they are called the Dunstable Road Runners.

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Bit of a long way from Yorkshire or I'd be there next week!

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Sorry to hear about your recent awful experience. I think you would be wise to stick with what you feel is best - that is to say, if they are demoralising you then get out of the situation for your own peace of mind. You've had a lot going on recently, your new personal trainer and your planned marathon have helped you get back on track and it's not fair if a running club then puts the skids under you. If you enjoy solo running then do that - at the end of the day it's all about what's best for you and you are not obliged to fuel other peoples' egos by letting them put you down. Good luck with your future (solo) runs and my very best wishes to you. Virtual hug on way as well.

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Thanks Fitmo. I think it is my own insecurities rater than other peoples intentions that undermine me, but I have to choose my own way and clubs are not for everyone. I now have serious doubts about whether I will actually get to run the marathon but I don't really care. I am still going to train for it and enjoy the journey. Thanks again for your comforting words :-)

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What a shame on your experience but at least you tried whether the running club was for you. It does sound as if the leader is rather ignorant and can not handle running a club for people with different ages and abilities. How he can equate fitness with speed is incomprehensible. I see a lot of young muscular body builders whose thighs are so wide that they rub together and can hardly walk let alone run, yet they are fit in different ways. The older runners at my local parkrun are great characters, local celebrities and are well respected by everyone for what they achieve. One lady is over 80 usually finishes in the last 20 but is always in the top 10 for age related performances - that is fitness.

I personally have been praised by the slightly younger more mature athletes saying that they hope that they can still run and be as fit as me when they are my age. The group leader is probably unaware that most over 60's cannot even run short distances before suggesting that you lack fitness.

On a similar subject i was running in a 5k parkrun when i passed a teenage girl around the 1k to 2k mark who was crying on the grass verge and in a lot of distress. I was about to stop to assist her when she started to run again. I later watched the video of the run and noticed the girl was up with the leaders at the beginning so she obviously went too fast. I also noticed that she did managed to finish the course but at around the same time as the lady i mentioned. With age comes wisdom.

Well done on the fast time.

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Thanks baronblaze. Your comments have lifted my spirits. Those were my thoughts too but it helps to have someone else voice them. I am also very dubious about the one size fits all jolly hockeysticks style warm-up this club does. Imo, crossing over one's legs and skipping sideways followed by violent armswinging is not the ideal run preparation for someone with rather arthritic joints and an acl replacement. I spent much of the time being stepped on and side-swiped by the people skipping next to me. Too much like my school gym days. I lack the co-ordination to be part of a team. And anyway where did team spirit get Anna Pavlova? (to quote Miss Jean Brodie) .

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You could try raising the issue with the club, I sure they would want to increase their members and they may not realise that they seem unfriendly if you are a beginner.

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It wasn't that the club officials were unfriendly vespa. Quite the opposite. Just that their type of grouping and running (and warm-up exercises) didn't suit me,

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Arh know how it feels when running nxt to younger peeps. I find I can't concentrate when they're zipping past puts me off . Prefer to run on my own only got yourself to think about . Keep that running up find someone your own age lol I'm 63 so know how hard it is I'm on W6 run2 facing a 26in "lord help me "

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Having read all the encouragement and good advice on this thread I've come to the conclusion that I must plough my own slow furrow! I'll be 68 this summer and I am blooming amazed that I can run 5K non-stop, however long it takes me. But I am in a minority age group and I realise now that this club is quite naturally geared to cater for the majority, who are in their prime. Which is fine, but rather than getting frustrated and trying to achieve something I'm not capable of, I will go back to my happy solo running.

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You're right it's defo a minority age group to still be able to run but hey ho You going great guns

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I am so glad to be running on my own. I would hate the feeling I was holding someone back but also hate the fact that I would be made to feel bad for running slowly. I love a bit of time to myself without the need to talk or be aware of anyone else. My friend at work loves running with her club as she feels she wouldn't always go or would stop more easily. Each to their own. I think you should be really proud of yourself and your achievement how many other 68 year olds are out running. I'm just sorry that you had to be treated that way. Enjoy your next run!!!

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Thank you Laurae. I don't think I was treated badly. I just reacted badly! My next run is on my own with the dogs in the forest. Can't wait...

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Hi,

I run with my dog because there is no-one else to run with where i live (rural Northern Sweden), and have felt at time it would be nice to have a human companion, but your experience made me appreciate our solitary runs!

In your place, I would ditch the club and keep the dogs!!!

On a more positive note, today we met a roe deer, last week it was a moose and two hares..... and amazingly my runs get longer.... my first 5 minutes non stop today. Hurrah!

Best of luck with your running.

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Oh how I envy you frannyfran. Northern Sweden sounds a dream running location. North Yorkshire isn't too bad either. Last week, running near Dalby Forest I also came across two roe deer who sprang away when they saw me and leaped a four foot wire fence with gay abandon! I also heard my first cuckoo. I love country running... I'm in the lovely Lake District this weekend so am just going to check where I can do my run tomorrow (forecast is for stair-rods of rain though..)

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Well, Lake district or North Yorkshire sounds good to me... bad luck about the rain, but here we've had fresh snow this morning! The winter snow is nearly gone, but not quite in some places.... And I worry what I will do next winter (assuming I am still running).

I had to delay starting the program for several weeks due to ice on the road... and 3 feet of snow in the forest!

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I was with a beginners group until recently. Like you say, the young ones are faster and can go further so when there were no "beginners" last time I went I bowed out from the group gracefully. Again, they like to do side skippy thingys for warming up and I stopped doing that as I didn't want to trip myself up. I have now found another running club - most I've met there so far seem to be marathon runners but are very friendly and inclusive and encouraging. I have also seen them at parkrun. I will miss doing my solitary runs and I think my running will improve greatly with what I'm doing at the moment. Above all I do not want any injuries.

How is your personal trainer? Perhaps if you tried the parkrun again you could get chatting so some of those tail runners and maybe find a new running buddy to get out with once a week for a change. Whatever path you take, I hope you continue and enjoy your running - you've come too far to stop now. :)

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My personal trainer is a great success. BUT he wants me to give the running club one more try so I guess I have to obey. Your thinking re the Park Run is good. In fact I am in London next weekend so had planned to do my son's local PR. I will get my head down this week and try and up my speed so I don't embarrass myself. I won't get any running buddies in London but I'm happy to run on my own most of the time.

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At my first parkrun last year a lady approached me and told me of a group of ladies who met up once a week for a run. I went once and ran with one lady but it didn't fit in with my "timetable". I still see her and chat at parkrun so I am getting to know more people in the running community. If you don't want to be that tail-end charlie you could just volunteer anyway.

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I was disheartened to read your post, after I had such a wonderful first time this morning with a social running group.

Reading the replies from the other members of our virtual club, I think your best advice is to find another group. The group I ran with this morning includes a guided runner - who had been turned away by another local running group because "they couldn't accommodate him". I am glad I didn't approach that group for my first running club experience!

So, as all your other C25K buddies say, carry on with your own running and look out for a more well behaved, friendly, group. Or perhaps start your own - with dogs. Don't let those ignorant, snooty people get the better of you.

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That's such a shame, and a contrast to my 1st experience of a running club last night. I felt very welcomed at the start, and felt very proud of myself at the end. I was the slowest in the group, and a very kind man stayed with me as I struggled to keep up after a couple of miles. The group promises that nobody will ever be left behind. I apologised for 'holding him up'. He didn't seem too concerned. He said he goes out every day on his own, so tonight is more about the social side for him. He was an inspiration as it was obvious that he only had 1 fully functioning leg. Very inspiring. There were all ages there too. I'm guessing that the age ranged from early twenties to early sixties. I went home smiling. What a supportive group that caters for all abilities. Before last night, I've only managed to run 5 minutes before needing to walk. Last night I managed 20 minutes. The group helped me to pace myself. Here's a link to my post. healthunlocked.com/couchto5...

It's been a year since your post. I'm wondering if you tried again (maybe with a different group)? Or have you been a solo runner since?

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