ParkRun : A Free Organized Run in Your Area
Free Organized Runs in your local Park
The simplest ideas are best, Parkrun is a free 5km (3 miles) run which starts at 9am every Saturday morning in many local parks . All you have to do is register on their website. It's not a competition unless it is against yourself. Although you can walk the course I would advise that you train regularly for a few weeks before. The idea of the 9AM start is that everyone still has time to go about their chores . Once you have registered on the website you get an individual barcode which you need to print off and bring to the event. The barcode uniquely identifies you but is undated so you can use it any event. When you finish you present your barcode where it is read by a barcode reader.
Funny thing is that until recently I thought running or jogging the dullest sport, see why I changed my mind below!
Go to the parkrun website for the full FAQ
- Is it entirely free: YES
- Is it a competition : NO
- How fit should you be: See the following website
- Can I start Late?
If you start late you will still be timed from 9am, if you start too late nobody will be there
- Can I walk the course : YES
But may be nobody will be at the finish.
- Why should I register?
If you want your times recorded you need to register so that you can get a barcode.
- Tip: Don't Start too fast
Let the serious runners ie members of athletics clubs go off first. Don't get caught up with their pace.
- Distance 5km
Which is 3.1 miles.
- Why not run on your own, why do you need Park Run?
You have a fixed start time, you get the encouragement of the other people, peer pressure: you don't want to let yourself down, you meet people, there is a cheer when you you finish even if you are last. your times are logged on a website so you can see your progress. It definitely encourages me.
- Don't push yourself so hard you get injured
If I injured myself with a sprain or a bad knee and could train for say 5 weeks I would risk losing all the benefits of my increased fitness, so I run within myself and do frequent stretching.
Why I started to Run
- My current sports were not pushing me hard enough
- I'd started to notice how many people were jogging
- I'd been sleeping poorly
- The Clincher
I read that 9-11 survivors had taken up running to help then overcome the trauma. While not comparing my situation with theirs it opened me up to the possibility that running can provide mental as well as physical benefits. I've had a few knock-backs recently which I think have caused the poor sleeping habits so I need a boost.
I was no longer able to convince myself that my t-shirts were shrinking
I have been avoiding full-length mirrors for a long time now.
My Own Experience of Starting up Running
I haven't run since I was at school and that's a long time ago. I've done quite a lot of other sports but nothing that would make me breathless. As I said before the catalyst was reading that people found running was a great way of overcoming trauma.
- One evening instead of going swimming I ran
I set off running not knowing if I even could. I was very pleased to be able to do about 1km with a few pauses.
- I subsequently went running 3 or 4 times a week
Quite short distances but regularly.
- At Xmas I went running with an old friend
She took me on my longest run yet, it was alongside the Rhine. It was the first time I appreciated how much more fun it is to run in a beautiful location.
- I entered my first 5km (3 miles) Park Run
I didn't expect to finish but doing something like in a group makes it much easier.
Although I was last I was not humiliatingly last. This really boosted my confidence.
- If I could do it then practically any one could do it
Why Running/Jogging is so Good for You - Both physically and mentally
- You can do it any time
You can run round your neighborhood or park.
- Cardio : Deep breathing
You will automatically be doing deep beathing
- The most exercise in the shortest time
Running is a whole body exercise which gets you deep breathing very quickly.
- Why it is good mentally
For one hour of the week at least I have no worries, or rather just one, I want to finish.
Do you Run or Jog?
Parkrun Doesn't Exist in your Country?
What to do if Parkrun doesn't exist in your country?
Parkrun started in the UK but has now spread to
But how difficult would it be organize it in your country? Visit the www.parkrun.com website to see how.
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My Running/Jogging Diary - My Experience of ParkRun
Well thanks to my friend for not being able to hide that he thought I'd put on weight for getting me going!
- Nov 2011
Put on my trainers and set off running not knowing if I could, I took a few rests but completed my circuit.
- Started running the same circuit 4 or 5 times a week
Didn't notice any improvement but kept at it.
- Xmas 2011
Went running with a friend who took me much further than I would have chosen. I was pleased that I stuck at it.
- Went on my first 5km Parkrun
Didn't know at all if I could complete 5km (3.1 miles) but wanted to have a good shot. I was soon at the back of the pack with the back-marker runner. About half-way through the circuit looped close to the finish line I feared I might give up at that point but managed to carry on. Soon after I passed the 3km marker (60% mark) and realized that I could and would finish. The thrill of this was sufficient to get me through the last 2 km even though I walked every now and again. I was last but could see the people ahead of me.
- Second Parkrun
I started my 2nd Parkrun 10 minutes late which meant I was last again and didn't even get a time!
- Third Parkrun Jan 21 2012
Really enjoyed this one but although I wasn't last and bettered my time by 2 minutes, I was still last of the serious runners.
- Fifth Park Run
First time I ran the 5km without walking at all. Also my personal best. Still last though!
- Eighth Park Run
I seem to have developed a very slow running style which means I can keep going but my times are no longer improving. Also recently I've had less time for my short mid-week training runs.
- I Already Feel Better
I feel better in my body, my clothes fit better, I feel better generally.
- Won Persistence Prize at my Local Parkrun
Could be interpreted as the losers prize, but I'm proud of the new running vest I won, and one day I will surprise them!
- May 2012 : Did My First 10km Run
This was the Oxford Town & Gown Run through the beautiful city of Oxford, I even managed a sprint finish. Ran with a relation Debbie who kept my spirits up.
- June 2012: Overtaking People Now!
A curious effect of running a 10km race was 5km suddenly seemed easy and I noticed an improvement, I was overtaking people and did a PB (Personal Best) time of 33 minutes 33 seconds, the other runners seemed astonished at my progress.
- Sept 2012: Beat my Best Time by a Minute
After plateauing for a few months I finally beat my best time by over a minute. Funny thing I just felt a click that I could really run.
- Sept 2012: Praise from a Stranger
After a race someone I didn't recognize came up to and said he'd seen me run from the first time and that he was amazed by my progress he also implied that I'd been very overweight. Unfortunately I didn't weigh myself before I started running but I know I feel thinner and fitter and it is a great feeling.
- Nov 2012
Been going backwards for a while, muddy conditions don't help, but one reason is that in Winter the Hash Run is on Sunday rather than Tuesday evening and I can't recover in time.
- April 2012
Had my first real health niggle, had to stop running for a few weeks because of a knee problem.
- May 2013
did my second 10km run in 75 minutes an improvement on last year and virtually without training
- June 2013
Finally bettered by Parkrun best time (Sept 2012) 31:59 minutes
Hash Harriers : Run or Walk & Have Fun
Ran my first Hash Harriers run last week and it turned out to be great fun. To be honest I had no idea what a Hash Run was and feared that all the other runners would be super fit; there was no need to have worried. The "race" always starts from a different place usually a pub. The "Hare" lays a trail using flour setting tennis-ball sized dots of flour as "clue" and plate-sized rounds of flour as bases. . We the followers have to find these bases using the dots as clues, but watch out there are false trails of dots. Once a base has been found a cry goes up "On On" and all runners converge on the base.
Now here's the beauty of Hash Harriers, some people just walk the entire trail, some just run the trail from base to base while the super-fit actually also run up and down trying to find the next base. Thus everyone can find their own level. Plus you get to see parts of the country or town you don't know. The easiest way to get fit is when you are having fun.
My 5km Parkrun is already the highlight of my week.
Do you prefer to run on your own?
Have you tried any other distances?
Do you have something similar to Park Run in your town or country?
Have you found found running to boost your well being?