First Park Run - disillusioned: I went, under... - Couch to 5K

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First Park Run - disillusioned


I went, under partner pressure to get out of bed, to our first park run. There were 6 females in the same age/gender grade as me. I came in 5th. I wasn't last overall; 73rd out of 84 total runners. But it was exhausting. I run on the road normally. I am slow. I realise how slow now. I thought it would be kinder running on the school playing field this morning. Instead I felt like my trainers were wet and heavy from the grass and I was out of steam within 5 minutes. I persevered, but mentally gave up 3 or 4 times and almost dropped right out. However, I did keep walking, albeit grudgingly slowly for maybe 50m at a time, before jogging again. I found it very disheartening doing laps. During the first lap I wanted to stop as the thought of completing one lap and having to do two more laps was miserable. My body coped better than my head.

My partner was 2nd in his age grade and 34th overall - I am very proud of him. I ought to be proud that I actually did it, and completed it, but I feel more deflated than elated. Never mind, I must not stop running. Perhaps it will get better, or perhaps I should just stick to 30 minutes. Maybe I might find it helpful to go to Holkham Park Run which is one lap only. This was my 3rd 5k in 7 days; last Sunday, Wed and today.

Thank you to all the volunteers and runners. Everyone was really lovely and encouraging.

99 Replies

You did not enjoy that run today, perhaps the reasons being that you have ran already two other runs this week and the grass did not help either, well done on persevering and not giving up, next time you are going to run a 5k drink plenty of water the day before you run and only run a few shorter distances on the same week as the parkrun.

AlasdairWGraduate in reply to AlMorr

As AlMorr states perhaps this was because you were doing your third 5k in a week. It will get easier the more you do it, but give it some time.

Also, you mention that you were ‘out of steam within 5 minutes’. Perhaps you should consider slowing off a bit more. That’s what the lovely Laura keeps whispering in my ear towards the end of runs - slow down but keep running rather than walking. I think that the fact it’s a Park Run and there are many other people running it can be a bit over exciting and you can get easily carried away. Go back to basics, remember your conversational pace and to hell with anyone else!

Good luck for next time.

Circle_On_LegsGraduate in reply to AlasdairW

Thank you Alasdair, I run so slowly that its impossible to slow down, I'd be halted :) I wasn't even gaining on people ahead who were walking!

ArthurJGGraduate in reply to Circle_On_Legs

If you were running the same speed on grass as you do on made paths that will certainly have taken it out of you. Grass is typically slower to run on, and more tiring, though on the plus side the impact on your legs is less. You did well to get round.

Im slow too, but running slow is running. A year ago I thought I couldnt run again but I'm happy with my snails pace, its an improvement! Im impressed you did 3 x 5k, each one an achievement, all 3 a super achievement. 😁

Circle_On_LegsGraduate in reply to AlMorr

Yes, I did 5k for my practices, which take me similar time to today. I know its not meant to be about the speed but it lasts so long I am bored. I have done many 30 minute consolidation runs since graduating and this last week wanted to pick up the 5k distance. I can see now that was not the best idea. Also my tummy was full of beef casserole and mash from last night, nor had a had a decent night's sleep. I am grumpy - LoL

Madge50Graduate in reply to Circle_On_Legs

Oh dear, you did it though, you kept going to the end, so well done you, we all have runs like that. And I must admit, much that I love parkrun, I do find the ones with several laps sometimes a struggle, especially when us more sedate lot are overtaken and end up looking wistfully at the gazelle sorts all streaming ahead - however, as has been said, being fast is not what parkrun us about. It’s also a shame you felt pressured to do it, you were obviously uncomfortable before you even got there, again that is not the ethos of parkrun. I hope you give it another go, on your terms.

Give yourself a break, we’re all human!


Circle_On_LegsGraduate in reply to Madge50

LoL. My partner knows what a lazy oik I am and dislike getting up. We'd agreed to go and at 7am I was still going, but then couldn't be bothered to get up. Its is illuminating experience running in a group and the affect it has.


I think you are fab doing it , 73 out of 84 is just fine , think of the folk on the couch still. In reality you prob came 73rd out of a million. Good on you for doing it. Keep going

Circle_On_LegsGraduate in reply to Mollydex

Thank you Molly, yes I wasn't on the couch :) A four year old and his mother pushing his younger brother in a buggy were not far behind me. That put my running abilities into perspective. I must lose that 3 stones and then I will fly.


Well done getting to parkrun.

Running on grass isn’t as easy as running on the roads... the surface is more forgiving on the joints, but it takes more out of the muscles... in short it saps energy. If your grass is anything like the grass near me, it’s even worse as it’s muddy. I train on grass and then I go faster on tarmac. So, it’s not a surprise to read that today’s run was tougher. Well done completing... laps can be good, but when it’s tough they’re also so easy to stop between.

Don’t be disappointed... you got out there... and out of your comfort zone and you ran 5k... I woke up at 9:05 as I forgot to set my alarm, so I didn’t parkrun... you win all ways up!

Circle_On_LegsGraduate in reply to UnfitNoMore

Thank you UNM. As always a helpful reply. I was aware that road running is jarring on the joints which is why I assumed grass is better. Thank you for explaining. It makes sense now.

I love my bed and on non work days I struggle to get out of it and face the day. My partner was up and pressured me or I'd have been snuggled up at 9am.


Congratulations on doing your Parkrun today. Forget about looking at age category times. There is only one time that matters, and that is your own. Also forget about where you are placed as a finisher. That is immaterial. If there were 220 people doing the Parkrun and you finished 219th but beat your previous PB time then that is amazing. Parkrun is not a race, it’s just an organized run in the Park. Forget about looking at statistics.

Keep running 5K during the week. I run on a Monday and Wednesday then I take a 2 day break before running Parkrun on Saturday. You’ll get stronger and more comfortable and along will come an improvement in your pace. Go back to Parkrun next week, and just concentrate on beating the time you got today.

There are 3 laps at my local Parkrun and a horrible hill which has to be climbed 3 times. I’ve done 6 other Parkrun courses, some were one lap courses but guess what, they are all 5K and all are a challenge.

Your looking at it all wrong. You did a Parkrun. That’s fantastic. Now you have a PB time. Beating that time is your only goal. Enjoy the runs too. Well done.


Circle_On_LegsGraduate in reply to damienair

Thank you Damien. Your last para made me smile.

My trouble is my head. I'd given up within the first 1km. I am only interested in my own race. I wasn't bothered at people overtaking. It was so disappointing how hard I'm finding it still. I have to remember that October 2018 I couldn't do 1k. Now I can jog round the village loop with the dog for 30 minutes.

damienairGraduate in reply to Circle_On_Legs

It takes time and you have to get kilometres into your legs. I’ve been running for almost 2 years since doing C25K. I’m only now since January running faster and properly improving. I was over 39 mins for my first Parkrun. I was in between 32 to 35 mins for a long time. I was just happy to run it all. And your right, it was all my head too. But now I’m doing a Parkrun in 27:30 to 28:30. But that was following a lot of painful hard interval training runs which are paying off.

Enjoy that’s the main thing.


lillyputtGraduate in reply to Circle_On_Legs

I give up in my head all the time. I've never even done a Parkrun as I keep telling myself I need to practise much more first - that's just my head again! I rarely do 5K in 40 minutes, but I do feel so much better for just completing around 30mins of slow jogging twice a week. Once I get to 30 mins of slow jogging my head lets me off the hook and I just stop running and head home. So well done you for trying Parkrun - you've got one up on me!

JppjpaulaGraduate in reply to lillyputt

I have never done a park run but have been speaking with a lock running group and am coming round to the idea of it 😬


You did better than me, instead of going to my first park run I ran on the treadmill - I know I need to get outside so I’m slightly envious. You did well 😁

Circle_On_LegsGraduate in reply to Chester01

Aww thank you. The Treadmill was pleased to see you? You weren't sitting on the couch. Many people I think only run at the gym. I did in 1996.

I don't have a treadmill but i do have a dog so I walk and run outside always.

Good luck x


Hi COL, first of all, very well done for persevering with a run which was particularly challenging. 😃

If you have had a significant step up from running for 30 minutes to running for longer to get to 5K then it’s not surprising that you felt tired and it was hard going.

It might help to be kinder to yourself and go back to running for 30 minutes and consolidate for a bit more. After that you could build up one of your weekly runs to being a longer one, just adding a few extra minutes on at a time. 😀

I think the most important thing is to find how YOU enjoy running and then do whatever that is. 😄

I did my 3rd Parkrun today but I find it hard too. Running on grass and laps round a field is very different to roads. And being lapped by faster runners I realise I just have to do ‘my best’. I do have to walk a bit (and others do too). There are people who have done many more runs than me that are slower, so it doesn’t matter. Keep at it at your pace and it does get easier.


I think you are fantastic for doing the park run. My nearest one is quite a distance from me, that’s my excuse. Also to do three 5 k runs in a week and you have graduated too, I’m in awe!

When I read that you are also carrying the excess baggage just like me it spurs me on, so well done for doing it and also many thanks for taking the time to write about it too.


You are doing better than me. I have printed the bar code but not gone yet. I think the advice of not looking at your place but at registering the time as your PB and competing with yourself is good. I am going to nick that ! I am also very slow and have not been running 5k in 30 mins by a long way. But park run was my goal when I started C25K. Interesting thought about laps though. Well done 🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️

The_Fat_ControllerGraduate in reply to couchwheelie

I'm with you couchwheelie. I have printed the barcode but haven't got around to doing a parkrun yet. 5k still takes me around 45 mins including the warm up and cool down walks. I think it's the laps that puts me off, I prefer a large circular run, not even fond of a straight line out-and-back. Maybe one day I'll get around to it.

couchwheelieGraduate in reply to The_Fat_Controller

Oh good to know I am not alone...I will do it but coming to focus on consolidation first to see if I can up my speed. I has a rotten infection after I graduated so feel a bit behind.

There's also a lot of choice in parkruns so gonna investigate- I hadn't thought about all the variables ! Good luck TFC😁

Circle_On_LegsGraduate in reply to couchwheelie

I had printed the bar code last December! My time yesterday's 45:02 and there were lots of people who also walked.

A friend who has never run went with her daughter and dog a few weeks ago and walked the whole lot.

Weird isn't it that wee tell ourselves we aren't ready to go. But we don't actually have to run. I did some walking yesterday. Good luck. Just go. At least it's free.

You are far from alone. It's taken me over 3 months to use my barcode. Just go for it. What have you got to lose? My time was 45:02 so you are not slow if you are walking 10 minutes of that time. Good luck. Tag me and let me know. Also couchwheelie please tag me when you do. Good luck.

Doing a parkrun wasn't even on my radar when I started C25K but after graduation I thought it was something I might do just to prove I could do it. I will do a parkrun at some point and I'll let you know when I finally get around to it.

It’s the grass! I’m doing this programme for the second time, (as I had to quit before due to bad asthma and a dodgy knee soon after graduating 😥) and when I started last time I chose to run on grass and mud trails alongside my local river. I had to switch to pavements when the weather turned everything into a quagmire and it was a revelation! I was literally bouncing along the pavements and it felt effortless! I could go further, faster and for longer. I hadn’t realised there would be so much difference. So, please don’t beat yourself up over it. Perhaps do one of your 3 weekly runs on grass or trails so your body will know what to expect in the future.

Circle_On_LegsGraduate in reply to Tessa-blue

Thank you. I'm getting really helpfu and encouraging comments. This is a wonderful community.

This is why I stopped doing the Park Runs. I felt under pressure to be faster - even though there is absolutely no pressure to do so! I also am a very slow runner, but I found I was speeding up, so not to be at the back! It’s hard to get in the correct mindset (e.g it’s not a race, it’s for me) especially when there are so many runners all champing at the bit! X

Circle_On_LegsGraduate in reply to joannashaw

I felt that the Park Run isn't compulsory so couldn't see the point of struggling to get up and be there for 9am when i can go anytime that suits me from home. I'm only doing it for health reasons after all. Once there I'd obviously got past that. I wasn't in the least bothered about being overtaken by others or my position but mentally I struggled with the distance which was really disappointing as I have been jogging along for months. However now that I have completed one PR I expect I'll do another as my partner is keen. I know I can complete now AND I have a recorded PB. My partner who had finished before I completed my 2nd lap joined me for 3rd lap and walked beside me. This helped. I don't know why it helped but it did. I also found a burst of energy on the last lap when i was determined to overtake the lady who was walking ahead of me and then the next two ladies ahead of them. I managed a Janet sprint somewhere in the last 200m.

Good luck and like me, you are running. At home I use Edomondo which gives me my own challenge. My biggest challenge is shedding three stones.

mrrunGraduate in reply to Circle_On_Legs

Like you l started running for health reasons as my blood pressure was in the petrol price digits. All good now tho.

Also, l don’t really enjoy hamster style lap running, boredom kicks in if one’s brain ain’t entertained.

Soo, what l do is my own thing in my own time, my rules only. That translates into never running with anyone else if at all possible, would not consider any race or event under any circumstances as l can’t stand being told where, what and how when I’m out there running. I will change my routes and run times, will run in any conditions to spice it up and keep it fresh and new. My health regime will also follow so that the runs are easier and more enjoyable.

Try it sometimes, it’s your rules or none! ;)

Circle_On_LegsGraduate in reply to mrrun

Petrol price digits! That's the best yet. I follow your regime, and so does everyone, on my usual runs and mostly. This is maybe one of the reasons I found the designated route uninspiring. Next PR I plan to go to a location more interesting, but it is further away.


Oh poor you to have a negative experience. During the week, I did one of my consolidation runs in a lovely park.... on grass. It nearly killed me. Yesterday, I did my first park run on trails, two laps and unexpectedly, really enjoyed it. I started really slow, at the back of the field and kept that pace whatever was happening around me. Finished 164th out of 187 so probably not as good as you. You did it, you got out there. You should be very, very proud..

Circle_On_LegsGraduate in reply to Greysixty

Thank you. I'm not complaining about my speed, although I am slow, it was just such hard work. I started at the back and plodded round at my speed. I'm hoping tomorrow's 30 minute run feels easier as I'll be back on roads. I'm pleased that you enjoyed the Park Run although your prior run in the beautiful park sounded daunting. Who'd have thought grass v hard trail world be so different.

Keep it up it gets better as you go I have done 3 parkrun sand I got a pb each time




Circle_On_LegsGraduate in reply to stuarttidy

Than you Stuart. Well done on your PBs. Good results.

Comparing yourself with others will cause you to feel deflated. It is far better to look at the positives here. You thought about dropping out but had the mental will power to finish. You had a go and noticed some things you weren't used to. If you wanted to do it again you would get better. But the main thing is your running for you and that makes you a winner

Circle_On_LegsGraduate in reply to JumpingFrog

Quoting results wasn't comparing. I was disillusioned that the run was so hard. That was disappointing. I recognise I'm doing it and much better than i was in October when I started this running lark. I don't feel so disappointed after sleeping on it and a new day.

Good luck with your journey.


I ran a 10k yesterday and out of all the 10k runners I came last , ill be honest I don’t mind because I took part . I’m two months pregnant and had already signed up so thought sod it I’ll just do it ... however the 5k runners finished and the last person came in 20 minutes before me so overall I don’t think I did too bad . Don’t be so hard on yourself x

Circle_On_LegsGraduate in reply to Eileen1987

I'm in awe you did 10k. Congratulation on the pregnancy too. Both fabulous.

For me it was just so much harder than i expected.

A young mum went round yesterday pushing her youngest in a buggy and her 4 year son running beside. They completed more or less same time as me. I felt very proud for that little boy walking and running 5k. He was really happy and so was his mummy.

It really is all about how you view it. Last year I loved park runs and I saw it in my mind as a failure to walk. I did my 1st park run this year on Sat and it felt so hard I wanted to give up half way round. I walked on the hard uphill bit I don’t normally, in the middle and at the end. I felt a total failure. My time was actually my 2nd best ever. I couldn’t believe this. So I had got caught up in trying to keep up with others instead of just being glad to take part. We are all winners by taking part. It is the distance done, not the time and not the position. If you did 3 5ks in a week then you are amazing. For my next park run i’m gonna change my attitude. We are all doing something positive getting off the couch and are ahead of millions that aren’t doing it so try and find a way to run that makes you happy. Don’t quit. Running has made me much stronger in other parts of life where i’d normally give up. Hope you can get past this bad run. 🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️😁😁😁


Please don’t be disheartened it’s hard work that pat run I did one in Norwich last weekend- sounds like you might be quite local? I thought I might try Holkham at some point too.

Maybe now you’ve graduated try to run on some different surfaces during your 30 min runs so you get a bit of practice on grass/mud etc before tackling the next one.

Huge congrats for making it over the finish line x

Circle_On_LegsGraduate in reply to PocketPA

I'm intending doing Holkham next Saturday. Meet you there? One lap I think. Think there might be a lot of runners.

I graduated last December but not bothered with PR as don't need to do them. My partner was keen and I had suggested it originally.


Wondering if having all the other runners forced you into starting off faster than you normally would ? Also wondering whether laps of the school playing field brought back unhappy memories, because it certainly would for me ! We’re all proud of you here anyway🏅Give it a day or two: hindsight and some well deserved endorphins will give a clearer perspective on the whole thing x

GranspeedGraduate in reply to ButtercupKid

Good point about the playing field effect, I reckon. Oh the agonies of the past! 😱 Time now for a different view of running - one of the best things about C25k. 😄👍

ButtercupKidGraduate in reply to Granspeed

Seems needlessly cruel to me 😂

GranspeedGraduate in reply to ButtercupKid


Circle_On_LegsGraduate in reply to ButtercupKid

Aww BCK. Thanks for the response. How are you feeling?

Yes today I feel better about it all. Many comments that grass harder work than roads. I'm generally a glass half full person so usually see the positives eventually. This forum is wonderful and encouraging.

Although not brilliant, I enjoyed sport at school so being on the sports field didn't have an impact.

ButtercupKidGraduate in reply to Circle_On_Legs

Well, that’s something ! I know you’re usually pretty upbeat about things and I was quite worried about you - glad that hindsight and a night’s rest have helped x


Well done for giving it a go, even if you had come last that would still be better than not giving it a go at all. You now have a baseline from which you should be proud of and can build on. I'm sure that you would never have given it a go without doing this course first. You can say with pride that were at the event as a competitor and not just a spectator. Well done again, don't knock yourself for what really is an achievement, continue to run, set your own goals and enjoy it. Good luck. :-)


Sounds like you did a lot of long runs in one week. Also first PR for me was just understanding how it all works, the second one was easier. How many laps do you have to do ? I find 2 laps as much as I can cope with mentally so yeah I’d probably look at the other one.

You are not racing against then others, you are taking part and very likely you will see an improvement over time as you run more.

It was hard but you still did it, well done you!


Well done you. I haven't braved a run with other people and will run in the dark whenever possible and I graduated 5K in October 2018! So big up yourself... one under your belt as a baseline for the many others that you will do. Super Woman xxxx

Oh goodness, I had the same experience, not helped by someone telling me I should be sprinting!! It’s really dented my confidence, I knew I wasn’t ready and I should have trusted my instinct. I too knew I was slow but hadn't realised how so, my timing wasn’t bad but that was mainly because there were a few people just walking. I don’t want to give up but it’s taking me a while to put my running shoes back on.

My advice to you is something I’m going to try myself - do a park run but don’t give in your barcode at the end and find your time. I know this might sound a bit negative in that you won’t know how well you have done, but it will take the pressure off comparing your time with others and having it all recorded and feeling down about it. I think us slower folk can suffer from PRP - park run pressure - that, of course, we bring on ourselves. I think it takes time to get used to running with others. I’ve been running since last September and I just seem to be getting slower not faster. I haven’t done a park run this year yet (I’ve only done two) because I’m worrying about recording a rubbish time. How pathetic is that! Like everyone else has said on here at least you got out there and did it while many of us were still in bed! Well done and keep on going 🏃‍♀️

Circle_On_LegsGraduate in reply to Rebounder

Thank you. I'm not disappointed about my time. I'm disappointed that it was such hard work.


Well done for getting round!

If you choose to do it again, you have a base time to work on.

The only thing that matters is that you did it, you had the mental strength to complete it. It’s your body, your run, your fitness, your achievement 💪

You are ahead of me, I’ve never done a park run and I’m on week 7. 😘

Circle_On_LegsGraduate in reply to Islesrunner

You will soon be graduated and that will feel amazing. Knowing you have been able to run for 30 minutes 3 times in a week is very satisfyingly. Your almost there. Good luck and well done on your achievement so far x


Choosing your Parkrun may be a good idea. I think I would find lapping discouraging too. Test out the one that does a single loop and check out its surface too - wet grass is about as draining as it could be!

I’m really impressed that you kept going despite all the yuck - that in itself is a real achievement 😉

Circle_On_LegsGraduate in reply to RevRunner

Thank you Rev. At one point, at end of lap one, I almost walked back to the car park but then decided I must be able to walk the next 2 laps (I walk miles with the dogs). Anyway I walked short distances a few times and then jogged. I did manage to jog the entire last lap. The middle one was trouble. My head was arguing with itself about stopping and going. I plan a one lap PR this coming Saturday.

RevRunnerGraduate in reply to Circle_On_Legs

I hope the single lap one is a better experience. I must admit I am yet to do any organised 5k. I guess I’m chickening out because I suspect I’d be so much slower than the majority and everyone else would be dead keen runner types and so much more into it than me!

Circle_On_LegsGraduate in reply to RevRunner

I only have one experience and that it a mix of runners. A mum pushing buggy with one child and 4 year son running next to them. There were people who came in after me. Take a look at the results pages of your nearest park runs. The age and times are included and if ac runner is attached to a club. Good luck x


I did my first park run a month ago and have done one more since. I agree that it can be a bit disillusioning and a very different experience from running solo. There were 400 runners at the one I did and I did feel a bit overwhelmed. My run time was hopeless, mainly because it took ages to cross the start line! The really quick runners were a bit off putting but sticking to your own pace is essential. I used my app (map my run) so I could focus on my own pace, not everyone else's. Everyone was very friendly and encouraging so I will go back but maybe not as often as thought I would.

Circle_On_LegsGraduate in reply to Madgey

Wow. Well done. Yes 400 people to get over a start line would be daunting. We discussing today how it works on big runs like marathons and half marathons. I had Edmonondo and rock music, except it wasn't fast rock, too slow but i was feeling too deflated and struggling to even bother changing it. That may have been a mistake too. I feel a lot better today though and proud I completed it.

All the best for your next Palgrave PR xx.

I did a park run 2 years ago and haven’t done one since. I wasn’t ready, I knew I wasn’t. Im better off running on my own at my own pace. Really well done for finishing it xxxx

Circle_On_LegsGraduate in reply to CazScho

Thank you. I held off for 3 months after graduating. I think it's like many things, eventually must take rthe plunge. Good luck x

Reading your post sounded so familiar to me. I also did my first run yesterday with my Hubbie. It had been on the calendar for ages and although I didn't feel ready to run it we went. I'd been saying all week that I knew I'd be slow, I wouldn't be able to run it all etc etc and I was right! I too felt out of steam after about 5 minutes, I set off too quickly, got pulled along by the crowd and suffered for it. Our track was also laps, only two for us though, but I'd be lying if I didn't say it was disheartening to keep being overtaken. But like you I stuck at it and still can't believe I did it! I have also realised that for me I need to work on the mental side of running as well as the physical!

But you know, like so many others have said, we did it, we got off that couch and did something amazing, well done to you!

Congratulations GTS. You did it. I'm sure we can think ourselves into what we believe is a poor performance. If we say it will be poor, then afterwards we can say 'I told you so' by the same token we should be able to talk ourselves into being positive. On Saturday I had thought it would be same as my usual runs but it didn't turn out that way. In hindsight there were several reasons I didn't feel so great and tomorrow I'm going to fly my 30 minute run on the road. I'm determined.

I didn't really notice people lapping me. Too concerned on on the next marker post to care. Next time you will start, continue at your usual pace, finish and be so proud toy did. Good luck x

No, don't give up on Parkrun!

I didn't enjoy my first experience and didn't go back for months. Then I went back with a different mindset to just enjoy it and not get stressed about others, my time, finishing position, I enjoy it and have done 30 and know a few people there. Please persevere on your own terms.

Circle_On_LegsGraduate in reply to Langley-Loper

Thank you for encouraging words. I will do another. It just felt torturous at the time.


It's very reassuring to read this thread, and note that people are not afraid to say that parkrun is not for them. I am sorry to hear that you felt pressurised to participate. Sadly it is the ethos on this site that all proper graduates will go on to be parkrunners. Our brilliant mentor IannodaTruffe in his advice to graduates says "all runners should experience......parkrun". It seems all too often that it is forgotten that this a forum under the umbrella of HEALTHunlocked. Many people like me did C25K to achieve a level of jogging ability that will help with their health, not to become "runners". I wish there was more advice and support for those who just want to complete C25K and continue gentle jogging.

Couchpotato2Graduate in reply to Oldman51

I think that’s it, try it and you may love it or you may think it’s not for you or not for you at the moment. I’ve only done 2 and they were quite different experiences. I can’t say that I would enjoy a park run that was a lot of loops or had too many runners so I would check on that before going.

Also I think that the idea is just to stay on this C25k forum if you are graduated and happy to run without training for a specific goal. One of the admins was however looking at creating a C25k graduate forum which was non distance orientated and multi sports so keep a look out!

I’ve put myself on the b210k forum but I’m so far enjoying running for running sake.

Circle_On_LegsGraduate in reply to Oldman51

Bless you. I started c25k for health reasons too. My partner pressured me to get out of bed and keep to my own commitment. I had said all week I'd do it and even 7am on Saturday but I'm not a morning person and I didn't wanted to get up. I dodn't usually see 8 o'clock twice a day at the weekend.

I don't feel the need to do a Park Run but after turning up my heart sank when the lady described the directions and said 'go round 3 times' that was the start of a mental block. How on earth does Mo Farah manage all those laps?


I did my 9th parkrun this weekend, luckily my local parkrun is an out and back setup, which I have to confess I find easier to cope with than laps. I have only done 1 parkrun that was laps, and I found it demoralising seeing people come past me several times, so I understand why you found it hard. Have a go at a single lap or an out and back parkrun, or if you struggle on the grass find a paved parkrun, we are lucky to have a couple of those in the area. What keeps me going at all my parkruns is the encouragement and support from other runners and the volunteers, especially the tail runners usually the only person to cross the line after me. Because my normal time to complete 5k is 49 minutes I have started the B210K app, not because I am looking to get to 10k, I just want to improve my stamina and thereby reduce my 5K time or at least improve my comfort level with a 50 min run. It will take time and patience to get to the point where I am not last overall. But what you have to bear in mind, is you are running for you, not anybody else, whatever your reason for running, be it weight loss, mental or physical health. It does not matter, if you do the park run in 30 minutes or 1 hour 30 minutes, worrying about how long you take removes the enjoyment from the event. I still don't enjoy running, but I love my parkrun, I have become really good friends with the tail runners (I spend a lot of time with them). I have also found being last allows me to volunteer even on days I run, as I can help with packing up and the token sort. If you are finding running for longer than 30 mins to much stick at 30 or have a go at the NHS guidance for after 5k which helps extend your running time to 1hour. Don't change things because someone else thinks you should.

It sounds like you have been doing really well, so keep to what makes you happy/ comfortable.

Circle_On_LegsGraduate in reply to Larrykat

Thank you LK. I wish we'd helped the volunteers at the end. Next Saturday I plan, if I get up, to do a one loop park run. Good luck with yours too and tack you for being a volunteer. All who participate should be very grateful to all the volunteers.


Well done for going to parkrun. That was the hard bit and your experience is not unique. My first parkrun I ended up next to a walker! He walked faster than I ran but he kept encouraging me to carry on and it made me determined to keep him in my sights. In the funnel the walker asked if I got a PB. I said it was my first parkrun and he told me I should have gone slower to get a PB next time! It took 3 or 4 times to get round without walking on the small inclines. PB’s and running faster than someone who was faster than you feel good. Seeing the same people and began chatting before or after the run makes a big difference.

I have recently been out of running due to injury. Getting back to the same fitness is my current goal, each week I get stronger and faster. one of the pacers told me distractions help and pretend you are on lap one when you are on the 2nd lap (my local is a2lap course) will help you get round. Wet feet are not fun. I got myself some trail shoes, I love them. They have better grip and keep my feet dry. Keep going, you will get a series of PB’s as you get used to the course and soon you won’t want to miss it!

Circle_On_LegsGraduate in reply to Dragonet

Aww that's a lovely reply. Thank you. I have had such a lot of comments with lovely replies and encouragement I'm bowled over.


I know exactly what you are saying! My local parkrun (400+ members) is horrendous for me because it is known for being fast. We have a lot of local clubs coming and they can run 5k in under 20mins, and certainly under 30mins. It takes me 36-38 minutes to run 5k and I was getting really depressed because I was always at the back. I was even overtaken by dog runners who had to keep stopping to pick up dog poo! I agree with the others - you are good to get out there and do it - it's all that matters. However, I know where you are coming from and I must admit that now I just go out on my own and enjoy my slow running as I just can't take the competitiveness. I go out to enjoy the scenery, look at my surroundings, not to try for PBs.


The founder of Parkrun is always pleased when the average time for parkrun goes down, because it was set up to encourage new runners to get out on a Saturday morning and start running with their community. It is my favourite run of the week because I enjoy walking down to the start line with lots of others in the city. I have met lots of lovely people and heard stories of how they began to run. I have volunteered and cheered on runners, walkers , people with dogs and pushchairs . Some people are on crutches, in wheelchairs or are visually impaired. It is all inclusive and everyone gets cheered over the line. I started as a post grad run, doing my 5 minute walk, running 30 mins and then walking until I could see the line and finished with a short sprint. We are lucky that it’s a flat run to a cone and back. I think you are unfortunate to have tried one of the harder parkruns. Maybe check out the courses of neighbouring parkruns and look at the finish times. Ours often reaches an hour.

Don’t feel pressured to run anything you don’t want but maybe a bit of research will help you have a great parkrun experience .

Happy running.

Funny enough, my first Parkrun left me feeling a bit indifferent....I did 32 mins which everyone I spoke with told me was good for a first go, but I didn’t get the ‘wow’ feeling, just merely..ok...🤔

I left it for a couple of weeks, just running 4-5K general jog/runs and planned to do Holkham again (it’s a good course) but it was cancelled due to the recent windy weather. After feeling a bit fed up with this, gave the Kings Lynn Run a go.....three laps in a stiff breeze and actually did 31 mins....😌.

Encouraged by this I did Holkham this weekend and focused an a steady pace and a bit more at the end and lo...29:54 which pleased me AND I enjoyed it more....

I am quite shy so find it hard to just go and chat with people, but I think for some the ‘buzz’ takes a little longer to come through.

Keep doing it, Holkham is a good, mixed road/gravel/ stone course and rewards steady effort. Hope this helps a little.....☺️☺️☺️

Circle_On_LegsGraduate in reply to SalukiX

Hi Saluki. Thank you for response. Congratulations on wonderful PBs. I intend to do Holkham this coming Saturday. Thank you for describing the course. That's helpful. I'm much slower than you. 45 minutes. My partner does 5k in 28 minutes. But he is 2 stones lighter than me. He correctly points out that if I were lighter I would probably find it easier. It would be easier to do everything if I lost 3 stones. Shall I look out for a beautiful Saluki on Saturday? X

No problem......45 minutes is no slouch, better you complete it at YOUR pace, the only competition is with yourself...😌. When I started out, I had no idea what time I could or should do. Sometimes (on any run) if you complete it and think ‘hmm, maybe could have gone a bit quicker’ it actually gives you more of a feel good factor and inspires you for the next one.

Always an odd and contentious point about weight...🤔🤔. I comment this because I have noted ‘larger’ folk getting quite a move on ahead of me and ‘less large’ dropping behind...I think if you approach things by working on a sustainable pace you will - gradually (and this seems to be the operative word) - improve your time and your feeling about it.

My approach was to accept that (maybe like you) I was heavier than I should be, but if I could run for 30 mins at a moderate pace without needing resuscitation at the end of it, then that was a promising start.

After completing the C25K to do the 5K, I weighed myself and was amazed to find I had dropped 1.5 stone (no dieting or any doing anything daft, just ate what I needed, but cut out any ‘impulse’ eating).

So, I reckoned that by focussing on the regular, moderate running, I got better and got lighter.

Keep doing all the good things, it WILL get better.......I hope to do Holkham this Saturday depending on family commitments, in any case please enjoy it, it is a lovely venue😌😌

HI, our local Parkrun is 3 laps, mostly on grass. I do agree with you that it seems an awfully long way at first and walking / jogging is the way to start off, you don't have to run it all, all the time. Maybe set a goal to run to the next tree and then walk a few steps, gradually running a little more? Remember, there is always a tail walker, so you will never be last.

I have continued to do the local Parkrun and find that it does get better as you get to know the terrain, where the hills or slopes are, muddy bits and sharp turns. The other thing is you get to recognise the volunteers, their support is really helpful.

I find the middle lap the hardest, but keep thinking of the calories I am burning and it gets me round.

I do hope you keep going to Parkrun, it has really helped me and I have met a really great bunch of people there.


Sorry you didn't enjoy it. I love park run but I understand your feelings. I've run 6 now and am slowly getting faster. I am still in the last 20 runners. It's not a race. I find the fast runners supportive and encouraging. My parkrun is two laps and a challenging grass course. It's the hardest run I do. I marshal more than I run. I'd recommend that to you. Watch the other runners. Lots of the fast runners walk bits. Lots of the slow runners like me run every difficult step! I'm only competing against myself. And I love it! Even if it hurts!!

I think you're brilliant. For the same reason I think the person who deserves most credit in the London Marathon is the person who comes LAST. (Obvious when you think about it)

It is a great thing to be really slow and unfit because you do yourself so much more good than someone who is incredibly fit and does it comfortably and easily. Lots of pain, lots of gain. Be proud of yourself. You will be surprised how the benefit of that burst of exercise will last for weeks and months into the future, however much or little you carry on doing.(but another thing that is obvious when you think about it is that you can never know what you would be like if you hadn't done it - you can't do a randomised controlled trial with yourself)

Anyway, you have inspired me to get back on the programme after a long gap due to this lingering bug people have been getting. Thank you.

Circle_On_LegsGraduate in reply to Paraprog

Aww. Thank you. Ah that bug. We had coughs for weeks. Yes yes, get back to it. Week 1 again? Good luck x

I did! Straight back into Week Six, number 3 i.e. a straight 25 minutes run this morning, after 6 week lay-off. Do you know, I actually found it easier!!! I think the layoff has done me good. I did go VERY slowly, but I was more comfortable. Ain't the human body a strange old thing!

Circle_On_LegsGraduate in reply to Paraprog

WELL DONE. That's so good. 25 mins after 6 weeks off is amazing. After I'd been off for about 3 weeks I did the 10 minute intervals first time back and then 30 mins. Keep on running xx


I did my first parkrun on grass last October, and couldn't believe how hard it was on the legs. Then the next one was much easier, you get used to it quite quickly. I've since bought trail shoes which make a great difference, and I love that parkrun now. We do two laps too, of two fields in a big figure of eight. I like it because I can see the other runners in the distance, some people find that makes it harder...

If you ran out of steam after five minutes, that suggests that you probably set off too fast. I'm slow too, and don't even try to keep up with the pack.

Don't feel pressured to go to parkrun, it's not obligatory, and if you don't enjoy it why go? Running is for you, out mojos are fragile things and easily put off. Well, mine is anyway...You should do whatever running makes you happy.


Well done on joining the Parkrun family! I was very nervous about doing it for the first time, shortly after completing C25K, and found it really tough. That was mainly because my competitive chip kicked in and I tried to race! That was 18 months and 76 parkruns ago and now It's a way of life. You'll find your pace, have a good laugh with familiar faces and ctack a PB occasionally! Remember the Parkrun mantra - A 60 minute 5k is just as far as a 15 minute 5K!!! Best of luck to you!


Ah don't be disillusioned its all progress moving forward. Sometimes we feel good other times pants! You are still way ahead of the likes of me who can only walk Parkrun in 50-55 minutes! And its better than sitting on the coach! 😜

I have also tried the 'Niko niko' kind of running when I get despondent. I think it means Smile while running. It is super slow - but I love it! I seem to go further than I thought with it and am lovely it. Also, a seasoned runner told me to try the 4 and 4 when I am struggling. Four breaths in and four out and that will take my mind off the distance and banality of the laps. Hope that makes sense?

Circle_On_LegsGraduate in reply to JuniperC

Yes it does make sense, thank you. I have found that thinking about something else works well to distract me from the act of running and I've done 5 minutes sometimes wirhout noticing. I wish running would become as easy as walking. Maybe.

Well done you

Amazing strength and perseverance

I’ve had this app 6 months and still haven’t started running !!!!


Have a look at Japanese slow tube. I didn't realise my tortoise pace was an actual technique!

I can only run 3.5k I dream of reaching 5k, but I will do it, one day, I have bad days and good, the first ten minutes kill me, the toxic ten, but I push through it and enjoy the elation at the end, I am slow but I don't run for anyone else just myself. Don't give up!

I found parkrun to be a *dreadful* experience to be honest. Lots of club runners, 3 lap circuit & I was 'forced' into by my running obsessed girlfriend. All it did was remind me of dreadful cross-country runs I was forced to do at school. Finishing near to the back in front of the gf & her running friends all chatting away at the finish line felt like a form of humiliation. Not good.

This is similar to my tail we were 800 runners and icame in 12 th from the back and someone simply said well you did it and that’s it really I did my fourth and I start at the back and I blank everyone out who overtakes I feel ok about it all now I’m never walking or stopping and my first personal goal is to do it under 40 please be glad remember how you got here and enjoy the benefits of fresh air I focus on my breathing and down loaded speed and stamina by Laura to practice in the week. Well done -

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