Liz - JogScotland
Liz – JogScotland
I joined Jog Scotland around Easter 2007. I was 53 years old and had never run before apart from trying to catch a bus. The reason I joined was through my ex colleagues who were already running with Jog Scotland and highly recommended it. Initially, I really didn’t fancy it much, as firstly I didn’t want to get my hair wet if it was raining, and secondly the fact I had no prior experience of running.
At that time my husband and I were working full time and had three teenage children. So I had already started to get some time to myself in the evening at a body combat class which I really enjoyed, but otherwise I was relatively inactive. However, I caved under pressure from friends and decided to give it a go.
My first evening I ran with beginners running for 30 seconds then walking for 30 seconds 10 times. This was surprisingly fine, I managed to cope with the pace and intervals, albeit I was glad when we reached the walking intervals. The programme progressed with the aim of running continuously for 10 minutes after a 10 week block. I managed to achieve this and actually felt very proud of myself for doing so. Although, I remember sharing this at my work and complaining that the coach took us up a ‘challenging’ hill in Strathclyde Park, enough to put people off I thought. However, a friend did ask me: “where is there a hill in Strathclyde Park?” Funny how you do not recognise hills the same when you are in a car!
After successfully completing the first block, I then decided to move up to the end game of running 20 minutes after a 10 week block. Much to my surprise, I also successfully achieved this block, but decided I needed to attend two nights a week in order to maintain this. On reflection, it was at this point I was beginning to get hooked. I was running not with my friends as they were all in different groups, but with people at a similar pace to myself. I was purely running for increasing and maintaining fitness at that time and was beginning to look forward to the continuing challenge. I continued gradually moving up the groups after repeating some a few times (I admittedly like to be in my comfort zone). My initial goal was to run a 5k and it wasn’t long before I did, thanks to the progressive Jog Scotland programme, I completed a 5k in 2008 in around 37 minutes. There was no going back now!
I really didn’t think I would ever run a 5k and when that happened you do want to endeavour to maintain that level of fitness. So, I steadily progressed onto the next level through encouragement of fellow joggers and coaches. Before long, I progressed on to a 10k run in the summer of 2009.
Unfortunately, at the end of 2009, my husband died very suddenly (He really enjoyed my enthusiasm about my personal achievements and was an advocate of my success at Jog Scotland). Indeed, it was difficult turning up for a run some weeks later but I have to say that nobody shied away from me (which quite often is the case as people generally do not know how approach you). Though, I can say that the complete opposite happened when I returned and once again I was receiving encouragement for returning and running. When I look back at that difficult time, a lot of people I was running with just listened to me as that is what we do when we run – it can be a support network. On reflection, I often think that the running and the wider Jog Scotland community kept me sane during that challenging time. So, I kept moving up the groups steadily, but slowly. Yes slowly, you get to recognise your own natural pace and accept that that is how you run. This is most importantly recognised by each and every coach as Jog Scotland is fundamentally not a ‘running club’. It’s more like a health and well-being club with like-minded people who run. The ethos of Jog Scotland is very much that no one gets left behind! To date I continue to run two nights a week with one being a steady 45 minute run every Wednesday and the other being a more challenging one on a Monday which starts at 45 minutes and through the ten weeks our last run is 90 minutes.
Jog Scotland has helped me to achieve 2 half marathons, one when I was 59 and another when I was 64 (I managed to achieve this after having not run for a period of 8 week due to a major operation). Obviously taking advice from the doctors who stated I could start again after an 8 week period. Over the years I have recognised that I run at a pace of eleven minutes per mile or seven minutes per kilometre. This pace of mine does not get any faster, however; over the years I have not slowed down either. My half marathon times were exactly the same despite being 5 year apart.
Lots of people run a lot faster than me, and some run slower, however this doesn’t matter as we all run as groups and stay together through the coaches experience in directing, for example; if you are running faster than the rest of the group you will turn and join that back of the group as many times as it takes to keep the group closely together. There will always be someone who runs at a similar pace as yourself.
When I first joined Jog Scotland, I didn’t do so for a social life but simply a healthier one, but as it happened I have made great friends in the group and yes we do enjoy social events.
I have every intention to run with Jog Scotland as long as my legs will carry me. This is truly both a physical and mental well-being programme that has worked for me over the past 12 years.
I would not be running today if it wasn’t for the commitment of the coaches who take charge of each group and dish out all the encouragement which allows us to progress if that is what you wish. There is absolutely no pressure from anybody in Jog Scotland except the pressure you might put yourself under.
Finally, I would never have envisaged that I would be running regularly at the age of 65, yes there are people older than me, and alongside friends. The Jog Scotland programme undeniably works no matter your size, shape, age or indeed your mental well-being – we all have the same goal of maintaining a healthy well-being and ultimately to enjoy. I am thankful to the Jog Scotland community to welcoming me and supporting me over the past 12 years.
All of us here at NL Leisure would like to congratulate Liz on her fantastic achievements and wish her well with her future running!