Come and try they said, come and try we did!
Hello my name is Bruce and I’ve just returned from the gym, showered, glugged two pints of water and instructed my darling wife Kirsty to get the tea made (I think she replied; “Yes dear!!!”). I’ve sat at my computer and as I contemplate my gym experience, the rush of endorphins that exercise brings, that unmistakeable high, the surge of energy you feel afterwards still courses through my body.
Why was I at the gym? I’m a runner, should I not be out running? Well…here’s the back story as to why I’ve spent 45 minutes trying to convince myself: ‘it’s natural for every major muscle in my body and those I never knew existed, to all be screaming STOP!!!
For many a year now a group of Harriers have spent Thursday afternoons under the expert tutelage and guidance of the highly qualified Think Fitness instructors.
Members of all ages (those who are going to be 8 this year and over), abilities and levels of fitness have chosen to supplement their running training with a 45 minute gym session. At £1 for kids and £2 for adults, it’s a reasonable price to pay for a session that is always guaranteed to be fun, energetic and wholly worthwhile.
For years Donna Inglis and Ann Aitken have faithfully attended, publicised, encouraged and tried to explain the benefits of this weekly session, many have supported them but most have come and gone (as is usually the way) and numbers have disappointingly started to dwindle.
Teviotdale have such a strong Junior and Senior membership and the benefits of a gym session for runners and keep-fitters is massive. It’s amazing more don’t attend…Now before I go any further can I admit, I was one who attended and then stopped, Bruce the hypocrite!
Our good friends at Think Fitness offered a Free ‘Come and Try session.’ I am happy to report 28 of us accepted the offer and enjoyed 45 minutes of circuit training under the watchful, skilled eye of our friendly instructor Grant.
Grant set the fun tone from the off and with competence and confidence talked us through each of the 15 individual stages we would complete on our circuit. Then a grinning Grant explained we would complete two laps, so 30 exercises in total.
Rowing, running, ropes, step-ups, bosu balls, medicine balls and much, much more. All explained, all set up and all bringing a different physical challenge. Working in pairs (I buddied up with Mrs Hughes) 30 seconds effort, 30 seconds recovery…all we had to bring was a bit of grit and determination.
Most runners accept grit and the requirement of determination to be a given when training or racing, so a circuit session should be no different. Everyone who was there gave it their all, tried their best and towards the end dug deep to finish what they had started.
The music started, the countdown began and off we went…
Sweat trickled down my brow, quickly followed by that unmistakable sting it brings to the eyes, leaving me blinking profusely, I reached for my towel, mopped the drops away, lifted my head and smiled with satisfaction at what I saw. I witnessed young member Alfie Walker, gritting his teeth and then bursting into a smile as he tackled the farmers walk, next to him our President Alan Coltman with much gusto and vigour, feverishly flicked a thick cumbersome rope up and down as fast as he could.
On the other side of the gym, Ladies Captain Pauline McAdam repeatedly lifted and slung a medicine ball, with all her might, into the ground, all the while another Junior member Jamie Jack rowed away like a young Redgrave.
In that weary split second, everything that is good about our club come to the fore. Husband and wives, mums and their kids, school friends, new friends, new members, long time members, the young and the not as young, all worked side by side and shared the experience of a fun gym session, in a safe, clean and purpose built environment.
I return to my earlier question, why was I at the gym and not out running? Firstly, the honest answer is I wanted to support Donna. Donna with help from Ann tirelessly try to coax, cajole and entice members along on a Thursday to cover the cost of booking the session.
Secondly though a gym session can improve you as a runner. It works the entire body, it improves cardio, strength, stamina and mobility. It provides a foundation for suppleness power and stamina. It strengthens your ‘core,’ the centre of your body. Your abs, back, hips and upper legs are the body’s source of power and balance, exactly what a runner needs.
A gym session is proven to minimise the risks of common running injuries, like plantarfaciatis, ITB pain, runner’s knee and shin splints. All of which I guarantee leave a runner frustrated and grumpy.
Maybe a 45 minute gym session at ThinkFitness on a Thursday meeting at 4pm, training from 4:15pm-5pm could be just what I need to keep grouchy, cantankerous Bruce at bay. I’m sure Kirsty and the kids would agree to that.
Well done Donna and everyone who took part and a huge thank you Think Fitness.