First parkrun? Advice

Good morning all!

it's possible that I will be doing my first parkrun tomorrow morning!!!! This will constitute W9R1 for me!!! Neither of those two sentences would have been possible without C25K (and the lovely folks on this forum!). And also I would not have believed it could be me typing that before July 23rd 2015...

So, should I do a smidgen of walking (ie 5 mins) to warm up before the off, or do the walking at the off and ease into a run after 5 mins? I'm leaning towards warm-up beforehand and then run from the off, and see how much I can do. I might even have my divine daughter in law with me- she's 6' tall and has in the past run a half marathon but was keen to join me tomorrow and run 'at my pace' :)

Also, I have laminated my barcode (don't tell work!), do I just stick it in my pocket for the run or do I have to have it on display for scanning purposes?

sorry if these are daft questions.

Happy running everyone! :)

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42 Replies

  • Seeing as how it will be your first - I would recommend that you deliberately start towards the back of the pack - let everybody else zoom off ( as they mostly do) :) - and take your run easily. Whatever time you record this time will be your PB!! :) So there is really no need to warmup up beforehand - spend that time talking to people and listening to the first timers briefing - and just go slowly for the first 5 minutes until you get into the swing of things. Stay relaxed - no need to get excited at all!! :)

  • Thanks Bazza :) Good thinking- I am about to PB tomorrow- Yay! So glad there will be a first timers briefing :)

  • Hello

    Well done on giving park run a go. I volunteer on a regular basis. Have a 5 minute warm up before the off and see what you can manage, keep the barcode in a safe place, you will only need it once you cross the finish line. Good luck and have fun.

  • I'd warm up beforehand as I am so slow to get warmed up, so the race would be over before I hit my stride. If you stay for post run refreshments there will be chance to mingle. I found folks to be very friendly.

    You'll love it!

  • Ha! I think I will have a bit of a walk around, I kinda need it to get my mind set up right I think :) I'm on Granny duties afterwards so not sure if I can stay for coffee but I appreciate the thought- thank you !

  • Thanks Hussainboltz! That's reassuring- I wasn't at all sure how the technology works but it sounds pretty relaxed! :)

  • Have barcode in your pocket ready to get out for it to be scanned after you get your chip as you cross the finish line.

    Start near the back of the pack, if at the front you can tend to start off too fast with the others and tire quickly, plus you will have many runners zooming past you, how do I know this? I had nearly 1000 runners go past me when I started at the front at Bushy Park, thought I would end up being a cardboard cutout! And my friend would have to scrape me up from the ground!😂

    You can do some small stretching before or 5 min warmup walk before, as it's what your used to, but don't worry too much about it, just start off nice and steady, make sure you cool down properly after and stretch.

    Which Parkrun are you doing?

  • About 1000 people ran past me at my first Bushy Park Parkrun too! Another vote here for going to the back. Everyone sets off too fast. Better to be in more control, you can always speed up and overtake later.

  • I do tend to start running a bit too fast, rapidly realise I'm overdoing it, slow down, go red, then struggle for a while then try and speed up at the end... I guess I'll just see what happens on the day! :)

  • Back of the pack sounds perfect- I don't need a stampede flattening my wobbling beetroot faced self! I'm going to be doing Wimbledon Common, it should be absolutely lovely (did I really type that?!) :)

  • Hiya Rainshine.

    Yay go you , your first Parkrun ! Yes I have a laminated one, I have also a hole in mine ,so I stick a safety pin through it and pin it to my T Shirt, or just stick it in your pocket. You don't need it at the start or during the race, so just keep it somewhere safe until you get to the finish.

    Definitely have a warm up , just a 5 min fast walk or slow jog, just to warm things up a bit. I always set off near the back , at the front its all the racing snakes and at the off its like getting caught up in a charge of angry rhinos at ours, so I tend to hang about the back where things are a lot calmer.

    Try not to set off too fast, I know there will be a moment or two of panic where you maybe think that you will be left behind, but just go at your own pace as there are always some that set off too fast then start slowing down and there will be walkers ,people with buggies, dogs , kids etc.

    At the end when you get to the finish, you will be given a token. You take that and your barcode to one of the volunteers who scans both. You then give the token back and then take your barcode home with you .

    Good Luck I really hope you have a great time, Im sure you will , they are a fantastic event ! :-) xxxx

  • Hey Puglette, thanks so much! That explains it well, and gives me a feel of how mad the front 1000 runners must be! I'll be hanging at the back with the buggies and the limping snails ;) Great tip re the punching a hole in the barcode- love it :)

  • The main thing to do is to just go and enjoy tomorrow. Everything else will work itself out. You only take the barcode out to get it scanned at the end, but one of the volunteers will probably call all the new runners to one side to explain what to expect before you start, so you'll get all the details there in the unlikely event that there's something else you need to do.

    As for the warm up, you could perhaps do an extra warm up before the run starts (it can't hurt), but you'll find that at the back it takes a fair while for the crowd to thin out, so you'll be happier just expecting a slow start. The alternative is to go into rush hour rush mode, tunnelling your way through traffic, and not being nice and relaxed about it. I suppose that could be its own kind of fun, but certainly for a first run, just being ready to relax and take in the scene will probably work better.

    Isn't it great having this kind of thing to look forward to?

  • Hi GaryBart- thank you!- it SO is weird to have it to look forward to! I'm nervous but really hoping nerves don't prevent me from going; I think having told my divine daughter in law and also all of you, I will probably actually be more determined to go...

    I am definitely a back runner not a 'tunnelling through' person (for now!) :)

  • Hiya & congratulations on your first parkrun and reaching W9r1. A major achievement.

    I'm with Bazza - start near to the back. I suggest beginning with your 5 minute startup walk. That will give time for all the club runners, swishy-hair ponytail girls and veterans to get out of your way. Also (and more importantly) it gives you space to run at your own pace once you've warmed up. parkruns are notorious for everyone starting too fast :-)

    Then you'll get 30 minutes to run without having to dodge other runners and you'll feel in control. After thirty minutes, you may feel happy to continue and cross the line without any more walking. Better to walk first, and then run at the finish.

    When you cross the finish line, a couple of timekeepers will click their gadgets to record the time. You'll jog into a 'funnel' and be given a 'finish token'. This is simple barcode with your finishing position. Once you have this you can queue up to be scanned. The volunteers who are scanning will first scan your athlete barcode, and then take your finish token and scan that (you don't keep the finish token :-) ). Now parkrun know your finish position, and who you are. Then they can match up the time records from the timekeepers, and know that the 100th runner crossed the line at 35:00:00 (for example), and they know that you were the 100th runner. Now they know your finish time.

    Sorry, maybe TMI... to answer your last question - you don't need to show your laminated barcode until it gets scanned after the run.

    Best wishes, enjoy your parkrun and let us know how it goes.

  • Hi MarkyD

    thank you! that was definitely not in the TMI category at all... 35:00:00 is probably a bit ambish at the mo but I get the picture, very helpful thanks so much! and thanks for your kind encouragement re making it to W9... there have been several times when it has been really quite tough as well- on top of the fact that it really isn't easy is it, nor should it be or it wouldn't be doing me any good I guess! :)

  • Good advice here from the others!

    Just remember to do your own thing and don't worry about anyone else. When you go to the 'first timers' briefing then have a quiet word that you are near the end of C25k and you don't expect to be speedy. They'll look after you!

    I'm sure you are going to really enjoy it and the sense of achievement will be great. I didn't pluck up the courage to go until a few months after graduation and I still felt rather tearful when I crossed the finish line.

    Let us know how you get on :)

  • thanks so much goonkeepgoing! I will try and keep your username in mind throughout :) and will deffo be on here saying what happened, good bad and ugly! :)

  • Thank you everyone- feeling a bit emotional after all your kind and wise words of advice and support :)

    One further question- I won't be running at my 'home' run - that isn't a problem is it?!

    I'm (trepidatiously) looking forward to it!

  • No problem at all , we have lots of "tourists" at ours every week .

    That's the beauty of parkrun, have barcode , will travel ! You could even turn up at Bazza's in Aussie if you wanted to ha ha :-) xxx

  • haha! I was born in Melbourne ;)

  • Really ?? There you are then ! :-)

    Don't worry about being nervous, I think everyone is to some degree their first time, but please go for it. Plus you've got your daughter in law with you , so you will be fine, honestly.

    Ive let fear and my nerves hold me back from so much for a lot of my life . Running has certainly made me very much more eager to try new things out , plus I am getting to that stage in my life where I just think " Ah S*d it, Just go for it ! " :-) xxx

  • Here here Poppy.

    I've suffered the same re nerves and fear but no more. Running has changed my life. Even gonna change career soon.

    You will be fine Rainshine. !make yourself go. You won't regret it. Make sure you keep your own pace though as it is so easy to get caught up with the pace in the first few mins xx

  • I've run at 9 different locations now: mainly North East England but also in London at a couple and once in Singapore. They've all been different, but they've all been incredibly welcoming. Parkrun tourism is very common. There will be others who are not at their homerun too.

  • I'm very envious, because I haven't been able to do any park runs. Can't give you any advice, other than "make sure you enjoy it"! Love the idea of the pony-tail swisher - the closest I get is the white horse that sometimes farts at me as I run past it.

  • If there aren't any parkruns round you - start one ;)

  • I need other runners to do that. The only sport the locals seem to do here is to walk from the bar to the fag shop opposite :D

  • Lots of good advice above.

    1) warm up with a 5 min walk beforehand. As it's your first, expect to listen to the briefing at about 8:50 (depends on event, but most do some sort of briefing for 1st timers). My timetable would be 8:45 - 8:50 warm up walk, 8:50 - 8:55 briefing, 8:55 - 9:00 2nd warm up walking round to start

    2) stay at the back at the start for your first run. Once you've got a feel for it you can choose a different position for future runs.

    3) before the start just quickly glance behind you to make sure that there isn't a 6'5" shortsighted rugby playing steam roller breathing down your neck. If there is - you may want to swop places.

    4) ***A MUST *** Safetypin you laminated barcode to the bottom hem of your top. This means that you can forget all about it during the run. It's nice and handy at the end when you reach the volunteer with the bar code scanner (no scrimmaging through those ridiculously small pockets that shorts and tops have). You don't need your barcode until after the finish, but when you do, you need to remember where you put it. If it's pinned to you in an obvious place someone will spot it and remind you when you go into panic mode because you've had a "senior moment".

    5) When you finish - don't stop on the line but keep moving forward in the funnel until you are handed your finish tag. Once you have your tag you can take a breather. Present this tag with your barcode tio the scanner volunteer when you have your breath back. It doesn't matter what order people are scanned in. Just move up when you are ready. If you've pinned your barcode to your vest - just leave it there. The scanner person will scan it whilst you are still wearing it. (Just remember to remove it before you put your kit through the washing machine.

    6) *** ANOTHER MUST *** Enjoy it! Have a great time.

  • Good tip about pinning barcode to top. I'll remember that. Thank you.

  • Just want to wish you luck Rainshine! Having read through all these fab replies I am sitting here wondering if I might do a Parkrun for my graduation in a couple of weeks??! whilst off with injury I cajoled my teenage son into starting c25k and we should now finish the programme together. Thinking that might make it kind of special? Look forward to hearing how it goes for you on Saturday.

  • That sounds like a GOOD plan!! AND to be able to do it with a teenage son!! Do you know how fortunate you are??? :)

  • I do Bazza, I do! He is a star!:-)

  • I do hope you enjoy it ! Adam has said everything that needs to be said. (I'm doing my 50th tomorrow !) Good luck !

  • Ooooo - lovely. Well done you. Hope you have a good one :)

  • So it's the big Five Oh tomorrow Henpen... That's amazing ;)

    There's no need to say "Good luck" - you know exactly what you are doing. Enjoy the occasion, and let us know when the coveted red shirt arrives.

    I'm giving parkrun a miss tomorrow, but that's only because I'm running on Sunday. Otherwise I would have been out there alongside you all.

  • Many Congratulations to you Henpen !

    We need a celebratory pic of you and your Tshirt when you get it ! :-) xxx

  • I've just finished reading all your replies and I think I'm going to give park run a go tomorrow for the first time too.

    Like yourself I'm nervous/not sure I want to go on my own/don't want to go with someone in case I can't keep up or they are a lot slower than me.

    Anyway good luck for tomorrow I hope you go and I hope I can report that I went too 😎

  • Go for it !

  • Oooh how exciting! I do my first parkrun tmrw (if I can find my barcodes). We can compare notes afterwards! ;-)

  • Morning Rainshine , you ready ?

    You can do this , you are going to feel soo proud of yourself after !

    Big hugs ((( )))))

    Lots of love and Good Luck !!!

    Let us know how you go on :-) xxxx

  • Omg. Thank you solo much poppypug! I am extremely nervous and have a bunch of physical fremlins (bAd shoulders, fluttery guts &c) and mental ones havering away at me... But at least it's overcast and drizzly and cow DiL is going I have to! Argh!!!! Thanks again....😕😑

  • You will be great ! Perfect running conditions too :-)

    Go Go Go Rainy !!! :-) xxxx

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