Parkrun route on a non-parkrun day

I went and tried out my nearest parkrun route today (google parkrunning if you're new - well worth finding out about - lots of volunteer-organised 5k runs around parks all over the UK and other countries too I think). I had a feeling that it could be a bit challenging, so decided to try it out on a non-parkrun day, without loads of other people watching.

I started off too fast - I keep telling other people not to do that, but did it myself - partly because it was seriously chilly and I wanted to warm up, plus it was flat at the start, but I rather overdid it and started feeling lightheaded and woozy - not clever! That took me to about 10 minutes, so I thought it might be a good idea to try out the walk break that I'd asked someone about earlier this morning. After 1minute of walking, my heartrate was still looking a bit on the high side, and I didn't feel quite right, so did another minute of walking. I did wonder whether I should just stop, but that seemed rather lame, so I didn't!

Started running again, but more slowly, going fine.

Argh! Horribly alarmingly steep hilly bit in the middle, that I could barely walk up, let alone run! Well, maybe a bit exaggerated, but it's about 10% slope for about 80m, so it was itty bitty little steps. Must go and read the bit in Chi Running about hills - I hadn't done any hilly bits when I read it, so didn't really concentrate on it. I couldn't work out whether to try and bounce off my toes (to avoid overstretching my calves) or what...

Got to the top of that bit, and then passed a golfer who cheered me on with 'You're nearly at the top now!' in a very friendly way. Still going uphill, but in a more reasonable fashion. It was lovely to be running in a different place, with some lovely views too.

The rest of the run was pretty uneventful, though I did seriously consider chopping a chunk off and sneaking off part way round, when I'd got to about 30 minutes, but I had another short walk, and decided that I really wanted to have a baseline time to refer back to later on. So started running again, gently. For the last ten minutes, which was nice and flat again, I decided to pick up speed a bit, and was almost back to my starting pace, which was encouraging.

My overall time, for 5k was pretty dire - 50minutes and 58 seconds :O (that was the Garmin time - my watch said 49min 41seconds, but I did start it a few seconds late - not that many though). I'll use the Garmin one as my starting point - it gives me more scope for improvement! So, about 50 minutes for 5k. Everyone has to start somewhere!

Anyway, even though it wasn't a continuously run 5k, and it was a bit slower than my one-and-only fully run 5k (no hills in that though), it was still faster than my Race for Life 5k, in July 11, which I walked (apart from 4 minutes running) - that was a totally flat course and took me 53 minutes. Baby steps!

On paper, it doesn't look too impressive, but I know what it felt like, and I'm pretty pleased with myself. :) I went and bought myself 'What I talk about when I talk about running' as a reward. (And was tempted to buy some bright green trousers in Gap... but didn't!)

I'll do a bit more training before I join in a Saturday parkrun, I think. :)


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36 Replies

  • Does a computer screen count as paper? If so, it looks pretty impressive to me, you just ran a 5k!!!

    I wish there was a park run near to me (it's a good 30 miles or so to my nearest), as it would be nice to put my new found almost-fitness to good use. Now you know that you can complete the course, it could be time to just go for it (there will be plenty of runners with less experience and a lot of non-runners, not like you ;0). )

  • I keep wondering about it - maybe not going until I know I won't be last is rather the wrong attitude! I've been looking at the times every week, and the slowest person for the last few weeks (same person) has gone from nearly 55 to 49 minutes. So - at this particular one, there aren't plenty of runners with less experience! But I'm making excuses, I know!

    You're right - I'm very lucky there's one nearby. But I've had so many unpleasant 'being-last' experiences that it seems a bit dodgy to do it on purpose - however lovely everyone would be! As you can probably tell, I am weakening!

    But that hill - urgh!

  • Ah! So what you are saying is - this person has managed to knock 6 minutes off their time by competing in the Parkrun every week.

    Sounds like something worth doing... ;0P

  • Gah! I feel like I'm stuck in a corner now! ;)

  • Well I think you are making excellent progress and when I graduate I am going to do the same thing i.e. a sneaky preview. It's not about the competition for me just about getting out there and beating my own best performance......oh dear perhaps I'm getting old. I remember the days when I used to be competitive.

  • Thanks! :) Well, I've never been competitive in sports cos I was always last! (except possibly in swimming). I can get very competitive in other stuff though, and being older doesn't seem to have made any difference to that!

    Competing against yourself is great though - very satisfying. I thoroughly enjoy checking data etc, it really suits my geekiness!

  • Hi Greenlegs,

    Are you sure you aren't me? Never competitive in sports because of always being last (and yes even in swimming in my case), competitive in other stuff (PTA Quiz Night is my fave).

    That's what I love about this program - you can measure your own improvement and don't have to compare with anyone else.

    I'm STILL thinking about doing the 5 x50 challenge or a modified version of it (more like 30min x 50). Will have to overcome my fears of both bikes and swimming pools (or rather self image in swimsuit) to do it as you need non-running day activities. I think it would be good to see how I do and improve though - and just think about the geeky number crunching possibilities :-D

    How about it?

    PS - if you do data you need a Garmin - lots of graphs to play with!

    Ann x

  • Oops reading again I see you have a Garmin. Come and join us at the Garmin C25K Forum group!

  • Problem is, it's not a sport garmin, it's a hill-walking one, so I don't think I can upload to the same site. :(

  • Just read the top bit (was out of sight to start with on my screen!) - I think it should be called 30 x 50 (or maybe even 30x30) to pull in more people. Anyone fit enough to already do 5k in 30 minutes would still be able to do that, but it make it sound accessible to so many others. Not knocking it though - for something set up by volunteers, it is a brilliant idea that has snowballed.

    Anyway, my plan is definitely 30 based - or maybe to fit into the 5s pattern, 0.5 hrx50!

  • Well done. Step by step as you say.

  • Yes, indeed. It's just occurred to me that, although I'm slow, I'm not doing so bad on the stamina side, as I'm keeping going almost as long as faster people who are doing 10k! Which is a much more positive way of seeing it! So maybe I should back off a bit before I end up with an injury! :)

  • I di the park runs and enjoy they all and yes I run flat out at the start and end up doing a short walk then pick up my running pace but they never juge you what ever your time might be and it dont matter if you come last or near to the front which I dont mind saying I have no chance as they do the 5k run in about 14 or 15 min's but they are younger/fitter and belong to a running club but just do what you can and you will improve all the time and at the park run you will meet a nice group/bunch of friends

  • Thanks! It's not that I'm worried about being judged - I'd just feel self-conscious being absolutely last, as I could see from the results pages that is where I'd probably be. Still, I think I'll give it a go in a few weeks - not this week, as I need more than one day's rest before I do that much again. I've just looked back, and have realised that it's only 2 weeks since my longest run was 31 minutes. So easy to forget what you've done recently. Must pace myself better.

    It's that competitive thing that I didn't think I had - I couldn't bear to not get to 5k with the others graduating with me! Silly girl! So my next few runs will be a bit shorter, to build up my speed a bit. Think I shall go and make myself a plan, to keep myself in check a bit. :) And maybe an Excel spreadsheet - I am very sad! :)

  • Hi greenlegs that's a great idea to try out the parkrun route before actually doing the real parkrun, I was thinking the same thing this eve as I finally got round to week 7 run 3!

    I think your 5k time is pretty amazing AND you ran for 50 flipping minutes!! Don't think I have the stamina to run for that long yet.

    S x

  • Well, I've done my Excel spreadsheet to total up my distances (including walking as well as running, all ready for the 5x50 challenge) - and I've covered 72 miles since I started c25k in the middle of December. Surprising how it all adds up! That's more than 2 marathons. :D

  • that is very impressive - a double marathon runner - well done you :-D

    what's this 5x50mins thingy - sounds interesting........

  • Here's our team so far (assuming you don't have to have logged in to view it - might not work):

    Here's the most recent thread on it:

    Come and join in! Challenge is to do 30 minutes exercise every day for 50 days from 31st March.

  • fantastic! I was wondering hopw I could challenge myself post C25K :-) will join today - thanks

  • Trust me not to read to the bottom - didn't know there was already a team and you're on it! I'll have to join in now!

    Re Garmin - if it has a computer input thingy give it a try - when you log in to Garmin connect it "finds out" what kind of device you have and there does seem to be a huge choice. I put it in " because on mine it's a right pain and yesterday it spent a good half hour trying to find running data on my ipod before I disconnected it.

  • After a week of deliberating I've just joined the team. Still have to get over the fear of bikes and swimsuits (not together) but have taken the first step.

  • Hooray!

    So.... now you're training for a triathlon - or perhaps an ironman event?! :o

    I told my daughter I'm going to dig my bike out of the garage (several years since I've ridden it, but I used to ride quite a bit). Haven't quite got round to it yet...

  • I've got as far as pumping up the tyres. Now leaving them a while to see if they go down again, as they look rather perished!

  • <So.... now you're training for a triathlon - or perhaps an ironman event?! >

    NOOOOOO!!!!! It'll be a miracle if I get to the end of the street without falling off the bike - I'm hoping I can struggle up a local path and back in about 30 mins. Not much better at swimming (and also don't particularly enjoy it) but have to find something to do on non-run days. What are you planning to do?

  • Walk mostly I expect. But probably some cycling and maybe some swimming (no triathlons though!). Maybe an exercise class of some sort, but I never seem to be able to keep up with everyone else in those, so they demotivate me, so I'll probably do better carrying on independently.

  • Tyres on the bike stayed pumped up, amazingly, so I've just been out for a quick spin. Oh, I'd forgotten just how good it is flying along on a bike! I haven't ridden it for years. Didn't go far though, as I hadn't got gloves on, and it is absolutely freezing! Out for a good ride tomorrow I think though. :)

  • Just seen this, very interesting.

    I've been along to my local parkrun, a very friendly atmosphere. I'm fighting shy of running it yet though, my excuse is that I run completely on the flat and most of the course is uphill. I intend adding some inclines in the next few weeks, then I'll no longer be able to avoid the fact that in reality, I just have to get over my preference for running on my own in the dark.

  • You could try doing a 'Freedom' run of your parkrun, when nobody else is around (maybe not accessible in the dark though!) If you've registered for a barcode with parkrun, you can record freedom runs too (there's a link from the weekly email to your personalised bit of the parkrun website, and you can put freedom runs on from there - took me ages to re-find it).

    Hills do make quite a difference, but they make it much more interesting. :)

  • "Most of the course is uphill" - not wishing to belittle your very well-founded excuse (I also avoid hills - best current method is that I found a route with an uphill warm up walk, downhill/flat run and uphill cool down walk) - surely if the route starts and finishes in the same place you have the same amount of up as down?

    My husband keeps telling me I need to run up hills (my weight loss has stalled and he thinks that's how to kick start it). He doesn't run at all though so we know how much notice I take :-)

    Happy COLD running this weekend all!


  • IF.

  • Aha.

  • Only messin' Thins, I was actually going to say it makes no sense but in this case, it's not a circuit as such.

  • Thought as much - our local one is laps of a golf course (not that I've investigated in person). I don't know if they close the course to golfers - if not it could be a bit dangerous!

  • It could certainly make it interesting....

  • My local one is in a park about fifteen minutes walk away so very handy. I'll probably pop up there one weekend and give it a lash some morning before the bar coders arrive.

  • Parkruns are great fun and you won't be last as they have a volunteer to tail run so no matter how slow you are at running or even if you walk or stop you won't be last.

    My local parkrun is flat :-) so no killer hills for us.

    Running in a group really helps you to keep going and try to catch the person in front. Since starting Parkrun just before Christmas I've knocked 3 minutes off my time and my PB is 28.41

    I'd hightly recommed Parkrun to everyone. I spent many months deliberating but I'm so glad i went for it. Great way to start the weekend

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