They say the first steps are always the most difficult, and in terms of exercise, for many people knowing where to start is as daunting as the hard work itself.
That’s why the Athletics Association have conceived a new weekly running training session, aimed squarely at beginners who want to improve their general fitness, as well as make new friends in an environment where the emphasis is as much about socialising as it about getting fit.
I went along to try out the group’s very first meeting, headed by qualified Manx Sport and Recreation instructor Trevor Christian.
The classes – costing £2 per session – will run each Monday lunch-time on Douglas promenade between 12.10pm and 12.50pm, meeting at the Sea Terminal’s main foyer.
Any nerves among the new recruits were forgotten as Trevor led the group through a steady warm up, before the session-proper began.
The varied mix of backgrounds and experience could have made for a stop/start session, each individual was set different challenges as we all made our way together along the sea front.
Absolute beginners were running for 60 seconds at a time in between walking recoveries, while more confident runners were set tasks of looping back and catching up, running ahead and squat-style leg exercises, while Trevor kept an eye on each of our levels of exertion.
It meant that everyone took a lot from the session.
Afterwards, 43-year-old Kerry Mackey from Saddlestone said she was fed up with being overweight and decided it was time to get fit and healthy. ‘It was great,’ she said. ‘With the age I am, it’s difficult to motivate yourself. The fact that it was a group environment, I knew it would be better for me. I know I wouldn’t do it on my own. I need organisation and structure!’
Kerry added: ‘Trevor is so approachable, and he knows his stuff. He knows not to make me do too much too soon. It was nice to met another lady my age too. I knew I wouldn’t feel uncomfortable because it was a beginners group. I just went at my own pace. I felt a whole lot better for it. I really enjoyed it and I’m going to stick to it.
‘I’m determined to be able to run for half an hour non-stop!’
Trevor said the Monday slots in Douglas will continue, with the target being to set more up in the four corners of the island.
‘Ideally we’ll get people up from no running at all to greater durations and distances, stepping up each week,’ he explained. ‘Though you can join in at any point. The sessions will be adapted for the people who are there.’
For more details and information contact Trevor on 688576, email firstname.lastname@example.org or see www.facebook.com/RUNIOMbegintorun