Wondering if I am ready to try a Parkrun

I live in Southsea, which has one of the easiest Parkruns going, so long as it's not windy - 2.5k East along the flat seafront promenade then turn round and come back. Some 270 or so people do it every Saturday, and I live 5 minutes walk from the start line. I sometimes run part of the course. I have not summoned up the nerve to do it yet, so you can probably guess why I am writing this post.

I graduated at the beginning of March at which point I could run 3.5k in 30 mins (58 year old female with short legs). I told myself I wanted to be confident in being able to run the Parkrun in 40 minutes before I did it, so I wouldn't be holding the organisers up / embarrassing myself. I've not yet run 5k and have not moved my speed up a lot yet. Last Friday I managed 4.2k in 37 minutes and felt I could have gone further. On Monday I attempted to run consistently at more than 7.5k per hour (the speed needed to finish in 40 minutes) and found I was blowing up after about 25 minutes. Yesterday's run was a complete disaster with legs made of lead, done in too much heat and aborted after 15 minutes.

I think being in Kuala Lumpur for 3 weeks set me back a bit as I struggled to find the time to do anything beyond jogging on the treadmill. Since getting back I have been able to reestablish my weekly routine of 2 swims, 2 Aqua classes, a weights session and quite a lot of steady walking, on top of running 3 times a week. I often I feel as if my legs are empty with no ability to accelerate, plus I struggle with stiffness in the 24 hours or so after running.

Long post but net net, wondering if I should try the Parkrun this Saturday.

I am also wondering if I would benefit from changing my routine to build in some rest days - I am not running every day, but there has hardly been a day since I got back from KL when I haven't been doing something strenuous.

Any views and thoughts appreciated, especially if you have experienced similar issues in stepping up.

12 Replies

  • Have you looked at your local Parkrun results page to see what the times are like? I ran my first one last week, I held off doing it because I was worried about coming in the last few, and I did but it really doesn't matter. If it was me, I'd run the course in its entirety to see what time seems to be achievable and either give yourself a few weeks until you feel ready, or just go for it (which is what I did in the end). And definitely build in a rest day!

  • Yes, it's unusual for anyone to take more than 42 minutes, so I think I will be last one home. There were some C25k people who used it a few weeks ago for their graduation run and took longer, but it's not usual for this course.

  • To build up confidence in finishing, try the run on a Sunday morning when everywhere is quiet. Don't worry about being slow - that's how we all are at the beginning. I've tried Parkruns in two locations and everyone: young and old, fit and not so fit, fast and slow has been friendly.

  • Looking at the results, they have a tail runner, so even if you were last, you would have some company! Most parkruns I have been to have been happy to encourage newcomers regardless of the time they take to complete. At our local run, we have people who walk all the way some often taking over 50 mins and I have never heard any of the marshalls or organisers express anything but admiration for thier completing the course.

    If you are unsure, go along tomorrow and talk to the organisers and see what they say - I am sure they will be welcoming.

    As to whether or not you should take a rest day - if you are enjoying your exercising then great, carry on. If you are feeling frazzled or getting tired, have a rest. Just listen to your body, it will let you know when its had enough!

  • Make sure you can run the distance comfortably first, in my opinion, otherwise you may have to walk and that of course will slow you down. With the course so convenient for you, then running the route itself would be a good way to check your time. Most people find that their first parkrun gives them a PB, simply from the effect of running with others. Give it a go and it really doesn't matter if you are last. It will give you an accurate 5k time which you can use to judge future progress.

  • I would say just go and do a parkrun :D don't worry to much a bout your anticipated time . most of us have found a very positive experience :D go along and enjoy the run :D

  • firstly- resting is important if your body is telling you that you need to, but mixing up your sport is good. I would suggest going for it, Parkrun is NOT a race, its about enjoying the great outdoors, running and embracing community...remember that and just enjoy it, and I think you will be just fine :)

  • Parkrun is not a race - it's "official" description is a "weekly 5k timed trial" (something like that) - hence you can walk around the course backwards if you so desire and be timed!! :)

    I have been to about 8 different parkruns (here in Oz) and have never been to one where the "last person home" was shorter than 60 minutes - in fact , usually the slowest get the biggest cheers when finishing ( and especially if they are seen to be putting in an effort - some can be quite "large" :) )

    I incorporated parkrun into my c25K training from week 2 onwards - I would simply do what was required on one day during that week including the warmup/cooldown walks - and do whatever got me across the 5k finish line. I think that my first PB at parkrun was 42 minutes - and have now got it down to just over 30 minutes :)

    Go for it!!!!! Why are some people so shy and self-conscious!!! Poke your chest out and show them what you have got!!! :)

  • In my humble opinion....you are pushing yourself with no rest days. I'm your age, size and have just graduated (I think we started at similar times?). I'm still on 3.5k in 30 mins and my plan now is to add time to increase distance, not run faster in 30 mins. My legs this last week have been soooo achy and I don't know why, based only on 3 runs, they were fine before week 9. When we run we damage the muscles, they need to repair on rest days and in this way they get stronger. As for Parkruns - give it a go!!

  • Thank you all for the thoughts and feedback. I have taken the baby step of registering on park run, and also given myself a day of exercise. I still feel as if my legs are empty so will wait to see how I feel (and how bad the wind is) tomorrow morning. If I don't do it tomorrow it will be a few weeks before I have a free Saturday morning again.

  • Give it a go, it is flat and they are very encouraging! Try a run/walk for the 1st time and you will be amazed. Good luck!

  • Southsea!! My local one is Southampton so if you mean Southsea in Pompey (boo ;) hehe joke x ) we are neighbours!! :)

    Anyway, i think you will be FINE!! LOOAADS of people walk at parkrun, its only because we are so used to Laura telling us to keep running "right to the end" that it is ingrained into our minds that we MUST NOT WALK! Haha. I say do it xx

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