Why you should consider running to keep you fit
7th May 2016
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In January, I made a pledge to get out more, improve my fitness and start running again. 5 months later, my fitness has definitely improved and I can now run 5k (sometimes further if the wind is in the right direction) without collapsing. I'm not fast, but I'm consistent. 

Until now, my training has consisted running with friends locally or by myself. I'd never considered  training with a running club, because I don't think of myself a "proper" runner. I plod. I stop to take photos. I take a rest if I want to. Paula Radcliffe I ain't!

Whilst at Peake Fitness, Leisure Manager, Chris Grimwood, suggested I give the running club a try. 

"They do know I'm a plodder and I've not been doing this very long" I asked

Well, that's not a problem, I'm told. They cater for all levels of runners.

Excellent, because the last thing I wanted was for me puffing and panting 3 laps behind Suffolk's finest athletes. 

The Running Club at Peake Fitness takes place every Thursday at 9.30am-10:30am. Not only is it superbly run by Trudy Avis, also a coach at Hadleigh Hares, but we have the added benefit of running in the beautiful surroundings of Stoke-by-Nayland - in the heart of Constable Country.  There is something very special about running in the countryside. I'd usually run on the side of the road, or down pavement. It was great to take in the view of grounds of the hotel. 

Meeting in the Peake Fitness Bistro, Trudy told me each week they do different types of training. This week, we were doing endurance training. But before we started, we did a thorough warm up, consisting of skipping, lunges, sideways running to warm up our muscles.

The Endurance/Strength Development consisted 2 x 10 Minute of hill running. And to me, it was a really big hill, running down the side of the golf course. We ran a loop for 10 minutes. Trudy told me posture is of the upmost importance. Your head needs to be held up, chest up and open and whilst driving forwards and backwards with your arms. We ran downhill with the arms in a lower position and out at the side to help with balance. After a full recovery, the exercise is repeated. 

You can go as fast or slow as you're able. There's no competition, unless you want to better your time each lap.

The benefits of a session like this is that it helps develop power and muscle flexibility. It improves your coordination, strength and of course your fitness. 

Trudy suggested rather than running my regular 5k loop every time, incorporate hill training into the running routine. Training on hills improves leg-muscle strength, quickens your stride and develops your cardiovascular system. This will then have a knock on effect when you run your 5k loop with you producing faster times.

I asked Trudy if she could share her top 5 tips for those people looking to start running for the first time. 


1. Kit – wear trainers and light weight clothing, layers and a light jacket in colder weather

2. Have a running buddy or join a club – more motivating and safer than running by yourself

3. Start slow – don’t be put off by running too fast too far too soon, build up gradually

4. Cross train – participating in other activities so that you do not get bored and to prevent injury

5. Warm up and cool down – warm up by performing dynamic exercises to prepare your mind and increase blood flow to muscles, cool down with static stretches which help the body recover

Running is a great form of exercise. If you'd like to join Trudy on a Thursday, it will cost £6 if you're not a member of Peake Fitness and free if you are. All levels are welcome, whether you're a seasoned marathon runner or a newbie, like myself. If you're interested, why not give it a try?

About the Author

Penny W

Member since: 17th March 2014

Hello! I'm Penny from thebestof Sudbury, shouting about the best local businesses from Hadleigh through the Clare. When I'm not doing that, you'll find me knitting socks or tending to my 6 chickens

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