I’m returning to running after six months of inactivity and this morning I did my first ParkRun in a couple of years. A ParkRun is a 5k run (not a race) which is free for anyone to register for online and enter.
A 5k distance is manageable with relatively little training (How far is a 5k?) and there are lots of couch to 5k running programs available – including the excellent NHS Couch to 5k which comes complete with podcasts.
I’ve been running again for a few weeks and have slowly built up do being about to run three or four miles, and I knew that a ParkRun would give me a boost. It’s completely different running with other people, but also a worry.
Having not run for six months, I’m heavier than usual and I feel a lot slower than I once was (well I am now in my 40’s).
I slotted myself into a spot at the back of the crowd of 600 runners at Edinburgh ParkRun and in a matter of minutes we were off. Starting at the back was a little frustrating at first, as I navigated around buggies, dogs and kids but it had the advantage of allowing me to pass lots of people.
I finished the run at around the 300 mark, so I’d move past a lot of people and only one person passed me.
Nobody seemed to really notice me and nobody seemed to pass judgement on this middle aged over weight runner huffing and puffing his way through 5k.
A ParkRun is timed, so I also now have a benchmark from which to hopefully improve.
If you’re new to running, or returning to the sport as I am, then I’d recommend doing a ParkRun. I know that I pushed myself harder because I was running against other people (I was actually worried that I was pushing myself a little too hard) and I think thats a great benefit to a runner.
I’ll be back at ParkRun again in a couple of weeks, and until then I’m training in the hope that I might knock a minute or so off my time.