The first steps to my target to do a half marathon in six months are well and truly passed. I completed my first 5km run two weeks ago - The Poppy Run at Clapham Common.
I felt a great sense of achievement as I crossed the line in a time of 41 minutes.
But my preparation for it was not just down to my thrice weekly runs. After my first column I was approached by Mark Sillett from Horsham Fitness who said he wanted to help me in my challenge.
So I signed up for an eight-week course.
I had no idea what I was signing up for so Mark came to visit me and talk me through what to expect.
Horsham Fitness offers fun, safe and flexible outdoor exercise classes in Horsham. Run by Mark and his business partner Katie Baxendale, they started in November 2012 after leaving their respective jobs in logistics and nursing.
Mark said: “People come to us because they don’t want the gym. Those who are doing outside stuff, usually want to stay outside, not run on a treadmill for example. Mirrors in the gyms put people off, the fashion bit etc. We’ve tried to create the environment that is a community-based environment if you like, we have people of all shapes, all sizes, all ages.”
Based on the tarmac at Horsham Rugby Club (you can see them there with their wonderfully graffittied container) they run sessions on a Monday, Wednesday and Thursday (6am, 9.30am, 6.15pm and 7.15pm), and one on a Saturday (8.30am).
My first session was the 6.15pm slot on a Monday - and my word it was a hell of a workout. It was basically circuits involving lunges, squats, burpees and sandbags.
There was a group of around 20 of us, the atmosphere was great and there was a real team spirit to help you get through the exercises.
Katie led my sessions and was really encouraging - and I needed that encouragement as I struggled through the lunges. The next session I went to was the boxercise which was huge fun. I struggled with the skipping element but again everyone egged each other on.
Mark added: “Obviously certain people have goals, whether it’s shape or weight or sport. We have quite a few runners who have found by running just a little bit less ie not doing the same motion, with the same joints and they get repetitive type strain injuries, but they have started coming to us where we work the whole body every session and their times have gone up which shows if your core and upper body are strong and your legs are doing all the work they are more co-ordinated and have more power.
“We try not to get too technical so we don’t confuse people. We offer a body challenge which includes nutrition as well as the exercise and we have someone come in and we have found that’s been very successful. Everyone is an individual and that’s how we treat them. If they can only come one day a week that’s fine, but if they can come four times a week, that’s great as well.”
I will be looking to complete four sessions in a week at some point - but at the moment two seems to be working fine.
If you are interested in signing up for a six-week course visit www.horshamfitness.co.uk