At Move Happy Fitness, we believe that moving our bodies is something to enjoy. We also know that when women feel fit, healthy and empowered, they can take on anything. And the world can be a better place for it!
So what happens when we find a running coach who thinks like we do? We want her on the team!
Our running coach Wendy Rumble has inspired so many people to get their trainers on, get out there, and fall in love with running - often going on to achieve things they thought they never could.
So with our first ever Move Happy IN PERSON Couch to 5km starting this Saturday 17th April, I caught up with Wendy and asked her to share a little bit about why she does what she does, and why this course is such an incredible journey.
Wendy, you have coached runners of all abilities, but I know Couch to 5km is a really particular course that means a lot to you. What is it that makes it so special for you as a coach?
What I love is supporting people through the various weeks, and seeing them build in confidence as well as physical fitness. I also just enjoy talking about all things to do with running! So alongside coaching the structured 8 week programme, it’s also a pleasure to share my own experience, the best local routes, the best kit, and essential tips to stay motivated. These are things that downloading an app just wouldn’t give you, and often the secret to success is having the right support to get you there.
Having enjoyed the benefits and freedom of being a runner for many years, I knew that I wanted to help more people get active too. I started delivering Couch to 5km beginners running courses back in 2017 at the running club I set up with a friend here in Maidenhead called Buggy Squad. This was regularly for people finding or returning to exercise, often after having a baby. I instantly found coaching people through this programme hugely rewarding. I’ve since delivered the Couch to 5km course (otherwise known as C25k) many more times at Buggy Squad, at corporations like Johnson & Johnson & HiPP Organic plus more recently with Move Happy.
Can you describe one (or more!) highlights from a previous Couch to 5km you have led?
There is always a point in the course where runners hit whichever barrier stopped them from achieving this goal before, when going it alone. This could be pacing, not building up slowly enough, a lack of self-belief, or just lacking the drive to keep going when it’s hard! One of my runners on the last Move Happy course (which ended up having to go virtual due to lockdown) was struggling to get out for her mid-week ‘homework’ runs, as like so many people she was juggling it with everything else she had on. Which I totally appreciate! But agreeing to me and the rest of the group that she would run each week on a Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday made the whole effort so much easier. She found that by voicing out loud and committing to the specific days made getting out less agonising, and instead it just got done! Going back further, one of my most memorable runners was Hollie from the first Buggy Squad C25k course. She then built up her running up to do a Bournemouth marathon a few years later! She showed real determination and consistency about training which is the key to progression. Anyone can do it if they want it enough!
Amazing! So research shows us that sadly women face a lot of barriers when it comes to exercise. Many of them are around time, the huge number of other commitments in their lives, but also about fear of judgement from others if they do decide to get out there and do it.
What advice would you give to someone thinking about starting their own fitness journey, who might be facing some of these barriers?
As a working mum of 2 girls aged 6 & 8 I totally understand how hard juggling it all can be. I schedule when I’m exercising in the coming week on a Sunday night, so it doesn’t get de-prioritised for something else. If that means getting up super early then I will do that because I know how good it makes me feel. I have many insecurities about my appearance like so many of us sadly, but no one is perfect and we are all just trying our best. Getting back into exercise after having a break can be hard and will feel uncomfortable at times, but the rewards are worth it. Pretty soon it will get easier and the happy hormone boost afterwards is very addictive! For me as a coach attitude is everything. I don’t care what you wear or what you look like, if you can bring a positive attitude then anything is possible and I will support you 100% of the way.
For those already signed up or thinking about it, what should they consider in preparation for a Couch to 5km?
There are a few things to think about ahead of the course:
Can you commit to running twice in the week, as well as the Saturday morning session you do with Move Happy?
Work on increasing your daily steps count and your pelvic floor muscles (the app Squeezy is good for this)
Do you have suitable trainers and a sports bra?
When you started your own running journey (way back when!) is there anything you wish you knew then, that you know now? Can you share?
I haven’t always been a runner - I spent much of my youth playing hockey. I decided to run the London marathon in 2009 to try and lose weight. I followed a plan I’d downloaded from a website and off I went. What I wish I’d done more of is run with others. I get the most enjoyment out of running with other people, sometimes people I hardly know. I’ve had adventures with wonderful friends who I have met by just saying ‘want to go for a run sometime?’ I tried to join a club at one point and after one session felt too intimidated to go back as I was so much slower than everyone else. But the reality was that just wasn’t the right club and I should have gone looking for another! Now I coach at Maidenhead Athletics Club which has all ages and abilities which I love. I would also recommend the local GoodGym who have exercise, volunteering and socialising all rolled into one too!
My goal is for the c25K to give people the freedom to run with ease, as it’s the most convenient form of exercise there is! I hope that the Move Happy Fitness community can provide support and friendship for like-minded women to be confident and enjoy moving their bodies to feel good.
Thanks Wendy! We can't wait. New Couch to 5km crew - we've got your back! 👌