Abject parkrun failure and another run

Headed for St Andrews parkrun this morning and the weather there was much better than the forecast - lovely people and lots of them.

The run is three times around the perimeter of Craigtoun Park plus a few hundred metres further on the third lap.

We set off and for the first km I felt fine - then suddenly i was struggling to breathe - not a bit breathless but full on gulping in what felt like absolutely freezing cold air and not being able to take it down.

I thought if I walk for a bit it will settle down but by the time I’d walked the 400 metres or so to the end of the first lap I was dead on my feet.

Embarrassingly I quit , not even sweaty, legs feeling fine and I quit - headed home and in the car at least consoled myself that I’d got out and done a bit of exercise.

After a cup of coffee I came to the realisation that if I sat in the house for the rest of the day I’d have fallen another day behind my target to finish the programme and I felt OK so headed for the gym.

Set the treadmill on my normal pace (which was exactly the same as my Garmin told me the running portion I’d done of the parkrun was) and off I set to run 25 minutes - won’t pretend it was easy but I was comfortable all the way through, I know what the treadmill gremlins say and they don’t bother me - week 7 day 2 done at the second attempt today.

There’s obviously a difference between running outdoors and on a treadmill for me but I didn’t expect it to be choking on cold air - when I came out of the gym that same cold air tasted like nectar.

Once I’ve graduated I’m going to go back to an interval week I’m comfortable with and repeat the programme from there, but outdoors - I’m sorry I failed you St Andrews parkrun, but I’ll be back.


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16 Replies

  • We don't use the f word on this forum David, we have some practice runs such as you experienced yourself this morning. Then we have good runs which you also experienced on the treadmill! You were out running, how can that not be good, so much better than being on the couch. Wet, windy muddy conditions in many places this morning so it was a hard slog for most of us 😱 Really hard if you are a first timer!

    When you are ready try again. If you are only running on the treadmill perhaps build your outdoor distance, maybe start with one run a week outside and take it from there?

    The outdoor variable inclines and different surfaces will have an impact that you won't have come across on the treadmill, you also need to adapt to a suitable pace for yourself. But you will do it, just be kind to yourself along the journey!

    Merry Christmas and happy running 🎅🏼🏃🏻🌟

  • Well done on getting back on the treadmill David. Its not always easy this running lark & sometimes for no good reason. Today was exceptionally cold (I did Kirkcaldy PR) & my hands never defrosted all the way round which is really unusual.

    Try again another day & I'm sure you'll nail it!

  • I wasn't cold (good gloves), and was going along absolutely fine until I started gulping air - obviously out of my comfort zone - which is why I went to do the run in the gym where I know I can do it - I'm pretty sure I've got the running bit (at least on a treadmill) - just need to get to the same stage outdoors.

    On the plus side I've run nearly 5k today - just not all in one go :-)

  • I remember the first time I tried to run outdoors after using a treadmill for a while, I didn't make the first corner. It IS really different isn't it? Well done for getting back on the "horse" and completing your run, you'll get the hang of outdoor running soon xx

  • Not a failure, just a practice! Don't worry, you'll crack it soon!

  • Definitely not a failure, but a first practice at unhinged outdoors. I'm sure if you start with a gentler week when you're on your own, without the pressure of needing to "perform" in front of all the other runners you'll be able to feel better about it.


  • Woah there, don't use the f-word on here. Sounds like you had a bit of cold-induced asthma. A good trick is to run with a buff over your mouth and nose to warm up the air a bit before it hits your lungs and gives them a nasty shock. Your plan of completing the programme and then going back to the earlier weeks intervals in order to get used to outdo running sounds like a winner. Good luck:)

  • Congratulations on absolutely nailing week 7 run 2! And on the extra outdoor practice too ;) :)

  • Well done ! I've always run outside. But I must admit when temperature dropped to near zero I didn't like the first time I sucked in the cold air ! It was a real shock I think I posted at the time it felt like when you step into a shower expecting it to be warm but the water is cold.

    It was one of those make or break moments. Should I continue ? fortunately I did and my body got used to sucking in the air. That was only after I decided to walk another couple of minutes before running very slowly again .

    Well done for doing the treadmill. I'm sure after time you will get there as others say slowly. Perhaps outside in cold air even in intervals to start. The weather changes so sharply that next time the air may be warmer and make it easier.

    Have a good Christmas.

  • You've done great today. I remember my first event, I set off at a pace that was soooooooo fast for me I've never run anywhere near that since. It is so easy to get caught up but it bites you back not long after. I would say youve had a positive day so well done.

  • So, you've done one third of a parkrun and a good gym session. I'd call that a win in exercise terms. The weather will eventually get warmer.....

  • Could it be the cold? One of my friends hasn't been able to run outside since the temperature dropped. She switched to indoors until the spring. Covering your mouth might help. And it's certainly not a failure to only do a partial loop. We have lots of people do a partial Parkrun at ours for many different reasons. People just like getting out, doesn't matter if you do one loop or three.

  • It could be the cold - I'll find out next week when I go for a jog in warm temperatures outside - I'm not unhappy with my day, I got more exercise than I would have if I'd just gone for my normal run on the treadmill and St Andrews parkrun is genuinely lovely - I will be back there

  • Could be the cold air David, I had this happen to me once and it can be a bit scary at the time .

    You've taken the positives from the day though and that's a good thing :-)

    Happy Christmas to you xxx

  • Merry Christmas to you and the pugs and all the good people who post here - been a big help

  • Thank you xxx

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