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Run(ing) / Walk(ing) for (my) Life

One of the things I was looking forward to about moving to the suburbs was joining Run/Walk for Life (RWFL). I’d been stalking their site for weeks before we actually moved and then I happened to see this online…


I mean, that’s a fraction of what I was paying for my Virgin Active Classic membership per month (yes, the fancy Melrose/Alice Lane one) that I hardly used, except some days as a coffice or to shower/freshen up between meetings/events.  I kid you not.

I realised some time back that I wanted to get into running & though I tried it, running in my old ‘hood (i.e. the city) wasn’t really conducive & actually not because it’s “dangerous” honestly (I felt very safe & a few wolf-whistles aside, no one bothered me) but because I was so afraid of putting a foot wrong – what with the missing drain covers, crumbling pavements and my worst fear – getting knocked down by a taxi.



day 1 – deep breathe!

Long very story short it was also just time to get healthy. There’s a history of obesity and diabetes in my family. I wasn’t raised to value health, exercise and nutitrion but I’m a firm believer in nurture over nature. I joined right after Ramadaan (like I promised myself I would) partly motivated by the #100wiahealthdays campaign as well, so it’s been a few weeks and I’m really happy to report that I’ve stuck with it.

So a few facts about RWFL:

  • there are more than 100 RWFL franchises in SA Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom as well as Zimbabwe.
  • there are over 30 000 members doing RWFL 1900+ members in their running club (people have racing licenses via RWFL i.e. the fit folks)
  • the foundation of RWFL is that its a 3 times a week program
  • RWFL is owned by couple Matthew (an advertising guy & keen sportsman) and Kim Grossett (a physiotherapist) – both South African.
  • most importantly for me, RWFL was designed with couch potatoes (not athletes) in mind


it’s been a pretty dry Jozi Winter…


my trainer, Dee – the dearest!


my gym is prettier than yours!


also, we have a bunny – beat that! 🙂

So how does it work?

I decided to write this post because I couldn’t get the practical info that I was desperately hungry for off the site (pre joining). So if you’ve ever thought about joining or even just been curious about how it works, here goes:

  • check here to check which club (i.e. location) & times would work for you
  • above will direct you to contact the club manager/coach who will share all the details you need
  • clubs offer AM (morning) or PM (afternoon) sessions (or sometimes both) – the choice is yours (mine is PM – I am not a fan of mornings!)
  • the exact times of the AM/PM sessions vary by club (mine kicks off at 17:15)
  • you can join with any level of fitness (seriously this is not an overstatement)
  • there is some flexibility to move between clubs if you need to (we recently had 2 members from Cape Town for a few weeks)
  • whether you want to run or walk is your choice
  • every session starts with a warm up for about 10/15 minutes which is done as a group
  • when you start out, you do what’s called “field work”
  • this involves running/walking around your club’s premises under the instructor’s eye
  • during field work sessions your times, distances measured and your heart rate monitored (this is done for you)
  • depending on your fitness level sessions start at 5 minutes and increase in increments of 2.5 minutes until you reach 50 minutes…
  • … but you run/walk each time twice i.e. session 1 = 5 mins, session 2 = 5 mins, session 3 = 7.5 mins, session 4 = 7.5 mins, session 5 = 10 mins
  • once you’ve run 2 sessions of 50 minutes, you graduate to “the road” where you can join the more experienced runners/walkers (again, your choice)
  • because everyone finishes at different times, each person does their cool down/stretching on their own

Every session has been mind over matter for me. Every. Single. One. I set myself the goal of running (vs. walking) pretty early on. Somewhere my around my 12.5 minute session walking got boring and I just decided to switch to running & I’ve been running ever since. Now, I need to qualify “running” because I run really s-l-o-w-l-y but it’s the only way I can do it & keep running my entire session without taking a break to walk for a bit. So yeah I’m focusing on endurance.

I’ve only let myself miss 2 sessions  (out of 30+) to date. And you should know that there were days when it was h-a-r-d to get myself there but I was always really happy afterward that I’d gone. I’ll post a progress update soon-ish but I’m really happy to say I’m almost graduating to the road soon & I cannot wait because the field work is getting boring fast.  For now I’m just really glad that I’ve found a form of exercise that’s convenient, not intimidating but a great workout that couldn’t be more affordable. I wish I could say that I love it, but I’m just not there. I know that it’s good for my body & that’s enough to keep me going back. Oh & if you’re wondering, the scale hasn’t moved at all because I haven’t sorted out my eating. I’m ok with that – one thing at a time.

I’ve even got my eye of on a few upcoming races – absolutely crazy if you knew how sedentary my life was before (an afternoon at Sandton City doesn’t count -apparently!).

PS you can still join RWFL at a discount of 80% if you’re on Discovery Vitality (& earn 150 points/session – you might know I am addicted to Vitality!) & there is a discounted membership on Edgars Club too.

Have a super weekend!



PS happiest of birthdays to Run Walk for Life who actually turn 30 this month – trust me the 30’s are fabulous!


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  1. Michelle Reitsma
    • Wisaal

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