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Monday, 22 November 2010

My parkrun history

The first Coventry parkrun took place on the 6th February 2010. Unfortunately I didn't hear about it until it was 5 or 6 weekends old and then couldn't run for another few weeks due to other commitments.

My debut ended up being at the 10th event and I have run 20 out of the last 32 events, with the odd omission for holidays, weekends away, injuries, babysitting and volunteering.

My first run was fairly tame compared to my current standard. But at the time it felt pretty much flat out. I suppose I didn't know the course at that stage, but I don't think that accounts for much of the time difference. My first run was 20:18, but since then I have taken over 2 minutes off to reach my current PB of 18:14.

I think the improvement is mainly due to becoming a regular runner rather than a casual runner. That is one of the biggest things that parkrun has done for me. Even though parkrun requires no commitment whatsoever, you do not pay any subscription so there is no bind to need to go to get your money's worth, it can still very easy get you hooked and turn you into a regular runner. This has happened for me. I try to make it every week if possible and am disappointed when I can't make it. I also find myself training far more often than ever before. I always try to train at least twice a week as well as the actual Saturday parkrun.

I think this is another great thing about parkrun, get into it and it will help you get more regular exercise. Simply by attending the parkrun events you will be running once a week, every week. Then as the desire to improve takes hold, you will find yourself running extra runs in between. I know I didn't set out to do this, it just happened. And I cannot be the only one this has happened for. Its happening for my brother right now. He has been doing the parkrun events each week, but in just the last week or so he has started doing the odd freedom run. Three in the last 5 days to be precise!

parkrun has this effect on you. It gets you gripped and turns casual runners into regular runners and regular runners into committed runners.

Nine out of my last 10 runs have been under 19 minutes with the other only 2 seconds over. I am starting to feel that I may have reached my peak for this year and will find it hard to get a new PB until the warmer weather returns. But this is my first winter as a runner, so what do I know!

There was one week, 11 runs ago, when I had a terrible run (relatively). At 20:43 this is my worst parkrun time. However, that was a good lesson to learn as it was as a direct result of a heavy drinking session the night before. In no uncertain terms, I found out that alcohol impaires performance (revelation!). This is something else that parkrun has done for me. Friday night is no longer a drinking night for me. And even though Saturday isn't a lie in anymore, I still feel great getting up early on a Saturday morning, without any ill effects from drinking and knowing that I have parkrun to look forward to.

So what about my aims for parkrun for the rest of the year? I don't aim to beat my PB. I don't think I have that in my sights for a while, but you never know. I would love to build up some real consistency under 18:30 if I can. I would love 18:30 to start to feel more and more confortable, although I doubt it will ever feel truly comfortable.

And my aims for next year? I think I'll leave that subject for another post nearer the end of the year.

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