When the Vitality program started, I proposed one more activity… I wanted to share one of my favorite pastimes “running" and show that most people can run 10km.
The beginning was not good at all, many people selected running program “ group 6” without thinking they had to achieve something. This program would require some training. There were at best 4 runners. Actually, only 5 members from the original list, followed the programs, but step by step, we got other members from different groups.
By word of mouth, week after week, we got more and more members, up to 16 people. None of them had ever run before so I was up for a challenge! According to their feedback , I defined a program for beginners with 2 training sessions a week , plus one training during the weekend (on their own)
Given that people work in different places, I created 2 groups, one in Jiading and one in Pudong (Eton). This meant I had to train 4 times a week, plus my own preparation for the half-marathon. On average I ran 7 times a week, even training 2 times a day at some points.
Regarding the program I designed, the purpose was first to start progressively with running and walking time. At the beginning we ran only 2km, and week after week we increased the time and the distance to finally run 10km. At first, the goal to start slowly was merely to avoid people giving up easy because the training was too hard. However, training after training people began to discover their own capabilities, in themselves and wanted to do more.
The first step was to achieve 5km without any break, and we did it quite easily. The members wanted to run more and run farther which was really encouraging. I sent emails to my team after each training session to congratulate them, encourage them and give them motivation. What was really pleasant ... after each training… people were smiling.
When I proposed to them that we attend the Shanghai marathon, most them at the beginning said “no”. I had to convince them one by one. I knew they were capable to do it because at that time we nearly ran 8km and we still had 4 weeks before the event. I felt we had had enough time to train and make it. I told them that it's most important to make it, no matter the time, no pressure, no competition target, just running for fun, and enjoying their first event. Then 15 people accepted to make it. Two weeks before the marathon, we were ready, we ran 10km and everybody was looking forward to attending their first race.
My biggest victory was to see people very happy after the race, and most of them told me they wanted to make the half-marathon (21Km) next year. We will keep the running activity programs, hoping additional members, will join us! I also want to find more events for next year in China. I’m looking for athletic fields nearby jiading office with the objective to improve the speed and the distance, but especially, to make the heart stronger and learn how to recover from different speeds and distances.