My First Park Run (5k)

In my last blog post Lockdown => 5k I wrote about my journey of joining a running club and taking part in their course to be able to run a 5k without stopping.

To test my new found ability I decided to sign up to Park Run. Park Run is an organization that runs free, weekly, community events all around the world. Yep you heard that right. Free. They also provide tracking at events so you can keep an eye on your times after each race.

I knew that Park Run operated in my local area due to seeing the event marked out on Saturday mornings when going for a morning walk. So I signed up and went to my first event.

The course is 2 laps around my local park with a tiny little hill at the end of each lap just to get those legs burning. Here is a map of that course.

I arrived nice and early to make sure I could know what I was doing and after talking to some random runners I was informed that first timers will be pulled aside before the start to do orientation. As with all my experience with running so far everyone is always so welcoming and I was pumped to get going.

I started off strong and overly confident and making a good pace, but this was because I was following the crowd and it didn't take long for me to realise I was pushing myself more than I was use to during my weekday sessions. So I pulled back a little on the speed and tried to find my comfortable pace.

As you can see from my face of these photos someone took (who is part of the running club I go to during the week) I went through phases of determination, exhaustion and a mind set of trying not to stop.

The whole way around the course I kept thinking I am doing so bad, people were overtaking me and I was dropping down in speed as the event went on. That first burst at the beginning, really was getting to me.

To top that off I had to stop 3 times to do my shoe laces up. I really need to get some new shoes for running now that I know this is not a passing phase and something I want to keep doing for the foreseeable future.

Through all of this I kept my mind strong and made it to the end running over the finish line to hear them shout out my time. That's when I realised I had done the 5k in my fastest ever time since starting to run again.

I managed to run in 31.14 and finish 116 out of 166 people participating that day.

I think it is safe to say I am addicted to park runs now and will be trying to do it each week and try to get faster as my weight gets less. Just the following week I managed to make it even faster, but I still made the same mistakes I did in the first run.

As I write this blog post I have been trying to think of what I can do to help try and improve my time at the park run and work towards my next goal of 10k. Here is some ideas I have thought of.

  • More hill training to build up speed to help on that last little hill.
  • Get those new shoes, your feet will thank you.
  • Try to get new wireless headphones for my phone so I can set a pace to try and keep to and an armband that fits.
  • Slowly start to increase my distance each month by at least 0.5k

If you have taken part in a Park Run or if you have taken the leap from a 5k run to a 10k run, let me know what you did. All ideas welcome. You can find me on twitter @aaron_rackley

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