Five years ago, I decided that I wanted to start running. I always hated running but I knew people who were totally addicted to it and I also wanted to get fit in the outdoor. I had to find out if I could enjoy it too.
I first joined a group of young girls with a very nice trainer who was running ultra-marathons and who was totally into it. I ran for 3 months and I really started enjoying it, but I pushed my body too much by trying to follow a younger and fitter crowd. I damaged my knee and I was told that I had to stop running for at least 6 months to recover. By that time, I was already hooked to running but I decided to do the right thing and rest.
When I was ready to run again, I had to start from scratch and run smarter. That's when I discovered Erika and the Fit & Happy Running Club. Erika was just starting a beginner group with people of various ages between 25 and 45 and had a very different approach to running. I explained my knee injury to her and she told me how she would train me to avoid any issues with my knee.
Erika is a Dutch woman who arrived in Australia 13 years ago. She had been a competitive runner all her life and trained with elite athletes under a skilled coach. She received her coaching qualification in The Netherlands in 2002 and has adopted a controversial and gentle Dutch training method, developed to avoid injuries and enjoy an economic running style. She often tells us that 'it should feel like dancing'. In Australia she obtained her Personal Training and Remedial Massage qualifications, which is handy if you have a niggle here or there. By the way: my knee injury never came back during my sessions with Erika.
At each session we will have a mix of running in different tempo's and walking breaks to train our body to run longer and faster. We will sometimes have short intervals sessions, some long ones or even non-stop runs to measure our progress. We never do the same thing or run the same route and Erika always adapts to our goals, levels and personal circumstances.
Some of us only want to run twice a week for leisure and some want to enter races and improve their PB (Personal Best). The good thing is that it doesn't matter what level you run, or you have a lesser day, she always keeps the group together and no one feels they are holding up the group.
I have been running with Erika for more than 5 years and I made huge improvements. I went from not being able to run more than 500 metres to running a half marathon in 2016. I am part of a group of friendly people that I can call friends now. We all support each other and had some great adventures together: a half marathon in Albany, a long weekend running (and racing) with our families in Margaret River, many local races (with of course coffee afterwards) and meeting each other every week for a couple of very friendly running sessions.
Wether you have enough of running on your own, or you want to get fit, be outdoor and spend time with a very friendly and supportive group, Fit & Happy Running Club is a welcoming group. The first week is free so come and join us to see if that suits you.
Fit & Happy Running Club meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6 pm in West Perth and on weekends we sometimes meet for a social run or race