run leader - kayla

"I'm so excited to set up Mother Runners in Barnsley! It feels really strange to be writing this as just 8 months ago I was overweight, eating takeouts most nights and had never set foot on a 'run'. Last year I turned 40 and needed to make a positive change. My good friend Leyla, an exceptional runner (and also a mum) had always inspired me with her incredible medal collection of hundreds of runs right up to 60 miles. Having seen her dedication to running while also having three children and a job, I started to think about doing something I thought I never would. I had a back injury, and when Googling how to relieve the pain I came across the NHS 'Couch to 5K' programme which promised being able to take you from zero running experience to running a 5K in 9 weeks. I was entirely sceptical, but downloaded the App, found my only pair of never worn £6 supermarket trainers and set off one evening in June.

I must have looked *ridiculous*. I hadn't got headphones, so I  tried to listen to the instructions on loudspeaker as I did the  5 minute walking warm up. So far so good, walking I can manage. Then it was time for my first ever 60 second run. I've never run any distance before so had no idea how it would go, and probably went at it a bit fast so huffed and puffed my way to a very red-faced 60th second. Then there was a 90 second walk. I hadn't died, heartrate started to come down, and I planned not to try to go quite as fast for the next 60 seconds. And it wasn't too bad! By half way through I started to actually enjoy the fact that had managed to run a full two minutes (again without dying), and as the session finished the App congratulated me on running a full eight minutes in total. Amazing!

Over the next few weeks I familiarised myself with the Social Running App Strava, which records and uploads your runs so you can see what time and pace you ran - which was a massive boost for my motivation as all of a sudden I became interested in trying to beat my last run's pace. This turned out to be the biggest element of my running motivation, as it gave me a sense of progress and achievement even though I was doing it all entirely on my own. The Couch to 5K app recommends running three times a week, which I found very difficult with having children but my resolution was to make the time for a positive change, so I did.


Fast forward a few weeks and I entered a Race for Life 5K, delighted to have finished despite having to walk a few sections and feeling entirely unfit! I had started to notice my body shape change so as well as keeping track on Strava I took photos every fortnight of how I was changing, as another form of motivation. Over the coming months I continued running 3/4 times a week, and was pleased to see my pace steadily begin to increase. Leyla introduced me to our local Running Club Kingstone Runners, where I felt initially incredibly out of place with so many 'proper runners', but they were so welcoming and always waited for the slowcoach at the end of the pack :)


Gradually as my speed and stamina increased I ran a 10K section of the Yorkshire Marathon and raised money to run the Doncaster 10K for Bluebell Wood. I'm now training for a half marathon, and my New Year's Resolution is to share what I have discovered this year, so I created Mother Runners Barnsley to encourage other mums to make their first steps into running. If I can do it, so can you!"