Tips for Park Run

7 February 2018

In September I started going to an Athletics Club, for the first time since I mashed my arm up whilst attempting some hurdles back in 2010. They were far too tall for me. Two broken bones and an operation later, I'd certainly learnt my lesson. After that I never returned to club, and gave up on athletics completely. So, this year at uni I made a conscious effort to join another AC and give it a good go. I tend to do long distance/endurance, it's hard work and I'm not amazing at it but I really do enjoy it.

It was only since joining this club that I discovered the gem that is Parkrun. It's a free, weekly, timed 5k that anyone is able to participate in. They occur all over the world every Saturday at 9am, and if you haven't heard of it (like I hadn't until recently) you can read more about it here. You can just turn up and run it, but if you want to receive your personal time and the stats of the event generally it literally only takes 2 seconds to sign up. Following this you'll receive an email that contains a barcode to take along to be scanned at the end of the run.

Now, I am by no means a professional athlete and nor am I the best at running, but I thought I'd just let you know some of my tips for running, and more specifically running a Parkrun...

Stretch // This might sound like an obvious one, but it's something I occasionally forget to do, and oh my, do I feel it the next day. This doesn't need to be anything fancy, just warm your muscles up and stretch them a bit before you start. It'll help your technique too.

Look out for the pacers // I hadn't realised this was a thing until very recently, but, some weeks there are pacers taking part to use as a guide. Make the most of these!! If you know you want to run it in under 23 minutes - make sure you're keeping up with, or ahead of, the 23 minute pacer. It's a good way to work out what the correct pace for different times is, especially as a beginner.

Start where you aim to finish // My local run has over 1000 people taking part, so it's fair to say it takes a while for everyone to get going and have some space once it's started. So, if you know you aim to finish within the first 100 runners, start nearer the front. If you're aiming for more of a mid-time, start in the middle.

Now, don't get me wrong, Parkrun is not about being a serious runner and getting world record times, it's all about keeping fit and seeing your progression

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