We all have our reasons for getting into running… be it health, fitness, stress relief, or pushing our bodies to new limits. 

For our fast Friday success, Deborah Vlam, a 68-year old (now 69) Texan, it was exploring ways to connect with people virtually, after only really focusing on running after COVID lockdown. 

Meet Deborah

Deborah and her daughter decided to sign up for several virtual 5K fun run’s between September and December 2020.

She joined a challenge to run 100 miles (with no time limit) and decided to run 25 miles a week to get to her 100 miles. 

This led to several 100-mile challenges over the next few months…

First Half Marathon

Deborah came across an advert for a virtual Valentine Day half marathon (The Donna Marathon) that supports breast cancer research.

My sister had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer and had surgery & radiation and was recovering, so that was a cause I felt impassioned about.”

At that time, she had never run as far as 10km, yet in training for this half marathon, decided to run most days of the week including 10km once or twice a week. 

She was getting frustrated as her times were not improving, her legs felt heavy, and even with all the calories she was burning, her weight was not changing. 

She then came across an advert for the Running through Menopause Webinar. 

I signed up for it. It was so neat to be connected to people all over the world and the information about nutrition, running and strength training for people my age and older was so interesting and exciting! So, I joined the Coach Parry team.” (27th January 2021)

Only 2 Weeks Before The Half Marathon

She accessed the resources available on the Coach Parry platform and started incorporating the nutritional advice, live strength sessions, and running program immediately. 

While only two weeks of structured training wasn’t enough to see huge gains, she ran the half marathon on Valentine’s Day. 

My time was extremely slow, mostly because we were in the middle of a record breaking cold spell here in Texas. I had food and water stops all along the route and was able to jog most of the way, only walking because of ice. I was so amazed at how strong my legs were. I did not feel tired at all and my legs were not sore the days after the run!”

It was then time to set a new goal and really buckle down to the structure of her training program. Keeping very consistent and a regular attendee of the Coach Parry Live Strength Classes, Deborah worked towards her next goal of running a virtual 10km race in May. 

This gave her a solid block of training and on race day went out and ran her 10km PB in a time of 1hr 23mins (previously 1:25:29).

What Made This Run All The More Impressive, She Describes:

I did the virtual 10K today, there was some rain and I stopped to move a turtle, had to tie my shoe, but still finished at 1 hour 23 minutes, so pleased as this is a new PB for me. I felt strong the whole race.”

Deborah attributes her success to the easy runs in her program and really absorbing and applying all the resources at her fingertips to her everyday training. 

The nutrition tips and strength training played the biggest role in her progress. She realized that she wasn’t succeeding because she was training too hard and not fuelling her body enough. She also took lots of inspiration from reading other members’ success stories in the Forum.

Future Plans

Deborah plans to run another virtual 10km race in August, a half marathon trail run in November, and would love to achieve at least one marathon early in 2022. 

I really have been very fortunate to have started the program in good health and no injuries. I have been very motivated by the Coach Parry team, and have participated in some of the live strength classes, as well as follow the strength class recordings.”

I have told many people about my success story and how helpful Coach Parry is, especially for the older female that wants to keep running. I am not as competitive as some of the people on the platform, I have no desire to run an ultra marathon or get much faster than I am. However, the Coach Parry coaches still support the people who want to stay fit and active as they age and this describes me perfectly – thank you!”

Keep up the hard work Deborah! We are so proud of your achievements and your dedication. We look forward to seeing your progress.

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