A Parkrun Adventure

Living in Brighton and Hove, I’m very lucky to have four parkruns in my town, each with its own unique atmosphere, route type and various quirks.

Having completed three of the four over the last few years, this weekend I had agreed to join a friend for what promised to be the toughest of the four – Bevendean Down… but you do have to go up before you can go down!

The only reason that I had never completed the Bevendean parkrun was that it isn’t within easily walking distance. However, the promise to meet up there with a friend was good motivation to get myself up and out a little bit earlier than usual.

I had to get the 8:00 train from Hove and then change at Brighton for the 8:14 to Moulsecoomb and then walk for about 0.7 miles to get to the start line. It should have been easy enough, but not knowing the streets around that part of town, I managed to get myself a little bit lost.

I took a wrong turn down a trail that I thought would lead to the start line, but ended up leading me to load of brambles. Fortunately when I turned back into the street I spotted someone who looked like he was heading somewhere for a run and decided to follow him.

Within a few minutes, I found the parkrunners waiting in the field and went to join them with about 5-10 minutes to spare.

The route itself is two laps of a field, with a long slow uphill section, followed by a nice downhill. Knowing that I would be very slow and would probably have to walk a fair bit, I went to the back for the start.

The first part of the run was nice and flat, but with soft ground underfoot and a slight camber, I found it took a bit of getting used to. As we started the first climb, I knew that despite my already slow pace I was going to struggle, so I suggested to my friend that she run on ahead and I would walk some of the uphill.

I didn’t mind being at the back and it was nice to chat to the tail runner during my walk breaks – which were many and long!

When it came to the downhill though, I made sure than I ran and enjoyed being able to pick up the pace a bit. It was weird running downhill on grass as the ground was soft but pretty even for the most part, unlike trails where you have to watch out for stones and bits of tree.

The second lap was much the same as the first, but with a bit more walking. However, I did make the effort to try to pick up the pace a bit more on the run to the finish.

My official finish time was 39:10, which I was very pleased with. Plus, I achieved my highest position ever coming in 26th place overall… ok, so there were only 27 runners and the tail runner always finishes last, but it’s a statistic that made me smile!

After the run, most of the runners and volunteers went for breakfast at The Bevy, a community owned and run pub just down the road. The food was amazing and everyone was very friendly (we all got a free bag of spinach for some reason!), although next time I will remember to take my muddy shoes off at the door!

(I found an article about the Bevy, which explains what it is all about much better than I can, so click here of you want to read a truly inspiring story!)

As parkruns go, this is definitely my favourite. Even though the route is much more challenging than any of the others, the fact that there are fewer runners makes it feel much more welcoming and everyone was very friendly.

I’ll definitely be going back for more, although I doubt I could handle the hill every week!

Did you get a run in this weekend? Please share your thoughts and comments below.



Parkrun Fun

Circle HopToday is parkrun day, but instead of doing my usual marshalling duties, I decided to run instead… well, run/walk at least.

It has been a while since I’ve done a 5K, so I decided to use a 3:1 run/walk ratio in the knowledge that I’d probably have to adjust it at some point during the run. It was going to be slow, but I didn’t mind and figured that I’d be happy if I could complete the course in under 35 minutes.

It had been raining overnight so it was still quite cool when I headed to the promenade. There was a good breeze (but not too strong) and the sun was out, so the conditions were pretty good for running on the seafront.

The Hove Prom parkrun is a lot quieter than the other two in the city, which meant a pretty quick start. Usually I find myself walking a bit to let the crowd thin out a bit, but today I was off and running right away.

As is often the case when running in a group, I started off faster than I should have. Even though I stuck to the 3:1 ratio, I completed the first kilometre in 6:03, which I knew wasn’t sustainable. The payback came shortly after 2K, when I found myself dropping the ratio and picking up walk breaks every 60 to 90 seconds. This helped me get back on track for the final 2 kilometres and, even though I never quite got back to running 3:1, I did manage to get back on pace again and finished in just under 34 minutes.

According to the Garmin, I completed the course in 33:55; but parkrun says 33:53, so there’s not much in it. Either way, I’m happy with the result and am looking forward to being able to get back to parkrunning again on a more regular basis.

How’s your running going? Did you do parkrun today? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Parkrun Day

Circle HopToday is Saturday, which for me means volunteering at the new Hove Prom parkrun. As I won’t be running 5K again for a while, I’ve signed up for marshalling duty for the next few weeks, which is always good fun.

After last week’s inaugural run on Hove Promenade, today was a bit quieter with 164 runners compared to last week’s 294.

In some ways, it’s better that it was a bit quieter as the promenade can be pretty busy with people out for an early morning stroll in the sunshine. Fortunately though, no one seemed to mind that there were a few more runners than usual  out and about. After all, it’s only really busy for about 30 minutes or so.

As for my own running, well, that’s another story.

Last week I decided to go back to Couch to 5K and had a really good first run. But for the next few days I was really suffering. Shin splints were the main problem, but I’ve also got that post marathon pain in my left leg again, which isn’t good. So, needless to say, I haven’t run since.

Still, it’s not as bad as it was, so I’m hoping to have another go tomorrow morning.

While all of this stopping and starting is pretty frustrating, I know that I need to be careful. Rule #1 – Listen to your body. Or that’s what I keep reminding myself anyway.

How’s your running going? Did you do parkrun today? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Back To Basics

My running has slumped quite a bit over the last couple of months, so I’ve made a decision. Instead of pushing myself to get back to where I left off (and then feeling frustrated at my decline in fitness) I’ve decided to take it back to basics and re-do Couch To 5K.

I know I probably don’t need to go right the way back to the start, but I’m going to anyway for a couple of reasons. Firstly, starting at a point that I know I can achieve fairly easily will help to build up my confidence again; secondly, it will give me a routine that I know I can stick to without worrying about over training or injuring myself again; and thirdly, doing the shorter faster sessions in the first few weeks will help with building up my pace so that (hopefully) I’ll be able to achieve that elusive sub-30 that I’ve been dreaming of for so long.

I plan to run on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday each week so that I can volunteer for parkrun on Saturday mornings, which will be another great motivator to help keep me on track.

Talking of parkrun, this morning was the inaugural Hove Prom parkrun, which means that we now have three parkrun events in our little city. I used to go to parkrun fairly regularly but haven’t been in over a year, so when I heard that there was going to be a new event on my favourite route I figured it would be rude not to get involved.

Hove Prom 01

Although I wasn’t running this morning, I signed up to volunteer. My job for today was marshalling, which is really easy and a lot of fun as you get to clap and cheer and encourage all of the runners as they pass – although sometimes it is difficult to differentiate between the parkrunners and people who just happen to be out running along the seafront. Still, I don’t think anyone minded being clapped and cheered on their morning run.

Hove Prom 02

The weather was great too, which probably contributed to the high turnout – 294 runners, which is pretty amazing for an inaugural run! It will be interesting to see how the numbers pan out over the next few weeks. I’m sure there were a lot of people from our other local parkruns who came along to support, but if it stays as warm and sunny as it is now, this could prove to be a popular event for the summer at least.

While I am excited about running the route, I’ll probably stick to marshalling for the first few weeks at least until I get back to running 5K again. And, as I said, volunteering is a lot of fun and it’s a nice way to give something back to the community.

How’s your running going? What strategies do you used to bring yourself out of a slump? Please share your thoughts in the comments.