If you follow me on Twitter (@lucy_fitness) you'll know that I am a big fan of Parkrun and so I thought I had better dedicate one of my early recommendations of what to do in a weekend to it.
What is it?
Parkrun is a free timed 5k run.
When is it?
Every Saturday morning at 9am.
Where is it?
In parks across the world. Take a look at this page to find your nearest one, you'll be surprised just how many there are.
Parkrun is all about getting everyone involved in running, whether you're a seasoned 5k runner or you're lacing up your trainers for the first time, everyone is welcome. Each parkrun has their own 5k route. Some are flat, some are hilly, some are on footpaths across parks, some are on trails and at some you have to make your own route up (if you've ever been to Hilly Fields parkrun you'll know what I mean.
How does it work?
If you want to try it out you can just turn up at the starting point shortly before 9am (8:57 if you're me) and be ready to run. If you want to get a time then you'll need to pre-register online. Doing this will generate a barcode which you'll need to print and take with you. Everyone starts running at 9am and when you finish you're handed a little plastic barcode which will then be scanned with your ID barcode to record your time. Within a couple of hours you'll receive a text message with your time and if you're anything like me you can also go online and find out how your time compared to everyone else at that Parkrun and in your age category.
My tips for Parkrun:
- Make sure you're there early so that you get a chance to warm-up and so you hear the announcements. It's great to hear how far people have travelled to take part on the course.
- Place yourself in a sensible position in the pack. You don't want to be at the front and be overtaken by everyone or at the back trying to press on.
- Chat to everyone as you go round. Parkrun can be like any other race where people need a bit of encouragement on the way round. Sometimes a friendly word is just what people need to keep running.
- Don't forget to thank the marshals who have given up their time so that you can run.
- Take a look at the course online beforehand so that you know what to expect.
- Have a look at your stats online regularly. It's exciting to see how you fare against yourself week on week and also how you're doing against other people.
- Don't forget your barcode!
I love Parkrun because ....
It's friendly and fun. I can hand and heart say that every single parkrun I've been to is so welcoming. I love that it welcomes people of all abilities. Runners who are super speedy are very competitive at the front of the pack. Runners who are just starting out are made really welcome and everyone can track their progress week on week. I love the community feel, that the course welcomes children and buggies and of course four-legged sidekicks too.
If you're a runner the first thing you'll want to know is my Parkrun time. I've taken part in 7 different parkruns across the country. My fastest time was at the Brockwell Parkrun in South London in a time of 23:57. My next fastest is over at Hilly Fields Parkrun 24:42 which is surprising really as it is very hilly and this was a run I did with my dog Gatsby and he always stops for at least one if not two toilet stops on the course!
I'd love to hear why you love Parkrun and if you have any courses that you recommend I should try. Don't forget to tag any pictures with #LivingINTheWeekend
Have a great weekend.