Couch to 5K
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My first Parkrun on Saturday.

Morning folks,

I'm running my first Parkrun on Saturday and it's safe to say, I'm slightly apprehensive.

I'm so used to my routine and jogging routes (flat simple along the canal towpath routes at that!) and this will be my first time running with other people as well.

I've no doubt that after the run I'll wonder what I was so nervous about but at the moment, it feels very different to what I'm used to!

13 Replies

Hi Ashton46,

I've done two parkruns now and I can definitely sympathise with that apprehensive feeling. You don't really need tips - after all, you've decided to run (I was the ultimate ditherer if you saw my blogs) but just in case:

1. Have you reassured yourself by checking the results for your parkrun from last week?

2. I did a couple of test laps of the parkrun course during the week preceding the actual run. Then you can see just how hard it is and whether there are any nasty hills, corners etc to be aware of.

3. For me, one big difference between parkrun and normal run is no music (you are allowed it but they prefer not). Podcasts giving me a bpm had become something of a crutch for me - now I use the pace on my Garmin to check I'm not going too fast. At my local run it's easy to get carried away by the faster runners (see my blog from last Saturday)

4. Enjoy! I'm sure you'll have a great time and this could be the start of a new weekly activity!

Hope that helps and let us know how you get on.


Agree with the above - have a walk round before the day so you can get some idea of what to expect. For your first run, arrive a bit earlier than normal - maybe ten mins before the start - and listen out for the 'first timer briefing' (the organisers will shout out for any new runners or those at your venue for the first time, and will tell you how to make sure you're following the correct route).

Then enjoy the run. Go at your own pace, although I find that I get swept along by the others - you'll want to catch the person in front, or at least not be passed by the person behind you!

Last point - make sure you take your bar code with you. When you get your registration email, there will be a link to a web page that says "This is your bar code", and shows a bar code. THAT IS NOT YOUR BAR CODE - I printed that one out and it wouldn't work. Instead, you need to look for the link that says "print your bar code". This DOESN'T print your bar code. Instead, it takes you to a separate page which shows your code full size. That is the one to print and take along. It should be roughly the size of a credit card. If it's much smaller, you've printed the wrong copy. Most people seem to get it without any trouble. I didn't, I printed what I thought was the right code and then found I couldn't get a time for that first run.

Anyway - I'm sure you won't have any troubles, either with your code or your first run. The main thing, as always, is just to relax and enjoy the experience. You only get one chance to do it for the first time ... Good luck, and let us know how you get on.


Oooh! You've got me wondering this the page that prints 6 barcodes?


Yes. I cut out a couple stuck sellotape on them and keep a spare in the car in case I forget. motto now is "No barcode, no time"


This is great advise, thank you to you both for taking the time to post it.

I've had a look at the results for last week and my personal best would put me 201st out of 467 runners, which is fairly respectable I reckon :-)

I must admit, I do prefer to run to music so that would be a shame if it was frowned upon.

Thanks Malcy for the tips with the bar-codes. I've printed them off so hopefully I'm ready!


I am likewise attending my first parkrun this Satruday. I have set myself the goal of finishing in less than twice the fastest time. The first finisher usually does 16 minutes and a bit according to the stats for my park run so sub 32 mins will do me fine. Sadly I live quite a distance from my "local" one so I have not had the opportunity for a pre run go around the track. Nice to know there will be some other newbies doing the same though, best of luck matey!


I've done 7 parkruns at 2 different venues and so far no ones complained about me listening to music yet, try it and see.

If you reckon you'll come mid pack, I'd say try to start about a 3rd of the way from the start, the only time I ran in a 400 strong parkrun I felt a bit uncomfortable until the pack started to stretch out, but that was only for the first km or so.


Great news, you will enjoy it, it is great to run with others, I wore my MP3 player and so did some others, it kept me at a steady pace.

My advice would be run at your pace and settle into it, remember it is a run not a race.

The park run volunteers are a great bunch of people and make you feel very welcome

Lets us all know how it goes :-)


Just posted about my fear as well and then read this, all good advice :)

Good luck, I'll keep you and kiltlegs in mind as I'm attempting mine (if I go!!!!)


No one minds earphones at our Parkrun- they are easily pulled out if you are speaking to someone or so you can hear the support as you near the end!


My admiration goes out to the lot of you. I keep promising to do a Park Run next time I'm in the UK, but then each time I get cold feet. Why? Because I'm such a slow runner that I'm afraid of losing face.Silly, I know. And I'm not shy or anything, it's just the memories of PE at school I suppose. Traumatic. I wasn't even fat or anything. Just crap at every single activity out there. And those communal showers. :-x


I do a parkrun in a slow time and finish last or nearly last every week. No one looks down on me for it. Parkrun community are always lovely and you're only really racing against yourself. . I reckon I beat everyone who's not there so I come 200th out of 10000 in my area..,


All the best for it! And thank you for posting this because I am working up to going to my first as well :) I'm going to go and spectate this Saturday (I'm too much afraid of making a fool of myself to just go and run first time) with a view to joining in a couple of weeks' time.

Good luck, and let us know how it goes!


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