Monday, April 28, 2014

Cornwall Parkrun #92

Yesterday I ran my first ever Parkrun!  I think parkrun started in the UK, but is rapidly spreading throughout NZ.  It is a free weekly timed 5km race, totally run by volunteers and sponsors (in this case NZ Home Loans)

I thought a 5km race would be a good baseline to establish for future training - I haven't run a road race since 3 November 2013, and trail races are so variable it is hard to gauge exactly where your fitness is at!

My previous 5km PB was 28:39 at the Unitec 5km almost a year ago, so I wanted to beat that.  I haven't been feeling great running lately, but things are a lot better now autumn has arrived and the weather has cooled down, or maybe all that extra iron I've been trying to consume lately is starting to have an effect.

I have been happy with my recent speed sessions, and guesstimated that a 27:30 min 5km would be a reasonable goal.  My A goal was to break 27 mins (you never know!) and C goal was to break 28 mins.

I read somewhere that you should run the first third of a race conservative, build to goal pace for the second third, then run all out for the last third.  My plan was to start off at 5:30 pace, increase to 5:20, then run as fast as I could (hopefully 5:10 pace) the last third.  

As it turns out, I was spot on with my time goal and ran a PB - yay!


My pacing goal however, varied quite a lot from the plan, lol:


As you can see I started real slow, but I didn't realise this at the time.  My watch had switched back to the clock, and when I went to connect again it was still on HRM mode, so while I was fiddling around with my watch beeping away and feeling like a GPS Type A jerk,  it appears I was also jogging along like a tortoise, and I couldn't believe it when I finally connected and my pace was 7:15!  That sent me and my heart rate into a bit of a panic and it took me a while to settle down, around about the kiosk/1km mark.

I started to feel pretty good and enjoy the pace - after logging lots of long slow runs, 5K pace feels great - real running!  Soon we were running downhill, and then I realised after the turnaround the reverse was going to be happening.  I tried to take advantage of the downhill, but had to walk some of the uphill.  Once on the flat I started to feel strong again, but probably got a bit confident as I faded on the slight uphill towards the finish.  Once that was over I found the energy to sprint to the finish and overtake a final few.

My results:
87/136 runners
20/50 women
4/9 W45-49 
59% age graded

Overall I was happy with my result and it was what I expected.  Now I have a new number to beat!

I need to work on the start (ie warm up, be organised, concentrate!), and running uphill.  I have been avoiding hills lately so no surprise there.  A more consistent pace would be nice too - I'm a yo-yo compared to everyone else!

Cornwall Parkrun has such a relaxed and friendly atmosphere - at the briefing they take the time to welcome all visiting runners, international or national, and also first-timers like me.  The course is accurately measured and timed so if you run it occasionally is a great gauge of fitness.  There were runners of all levels, from beginning joggers to speedy club runners of which there were quite a few - like the 55-59 year old winner this weekend running a 17:45!  I hope to run one every now and then to measure my progress - and slash that PB of course!

Have you ever run Parkrun? Which one(s) in which country(ies)?
What is your 5km pace strategy?
Are you a running yo-yo, or a metronome when it comes to pace?


7 comments:

  1. Great job on the run! My 5k strategy is to try and hold it back the first mile (I tend to get excited and go out a little too fast) settle in for the second mile and then maintain and push for the last mile. all out for the final .1 I love 5ks.

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  2. Congrats on your 5K PB! I don't think I check my watch much during 5K's - too busy trying to survive until the finish! Since you were distracted by your watch this time, I'm pretty sure that you can get another PB next time!

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  3. Congrats on your PB! You did a great job predicting your finish time!
    I haven't raced a 5K in a year, but I think it helps to do a short warm-up before the race to get in tune with the right effort level. I like to start off fast, but somewhat comfortable, then settle into race pace for mile 2. Then in mile 3, really try as hard as I can. It's definitely easier to follow this strategy on flatter terrain - not sure what I would do on hills, like you had to contend with. I suspect you'll do a lot better the next time around!

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  4. Oh that so cool, I had no idea those existed, but it sounds great! Congrats on running it so well! I am a pretty good metronome as I have been working on this for a while now, but I have only done the one marathon....so that one isnt down yet ;) Hopefully next time I can break that famous barrier of 2:40 :)

    Thanks so much for all your support on my blog, I look forward to supporting you too!

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  5. Congrats on your new PR! Having been a distance runner for years, I'm still figuring out my 5K racing strategies. I seem to do best if I go out for an easy one mile warm-up run just before the race starts. I have a 5K next Saturday that I'm running with a few friends and we're hoping to PR. We'll see...

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  6. Great job!! That's a fantastic new PB- and on flat you would totally crush that as well!
    We don't have parkrun here, but there are some 5k races that are part of a series that happen once a month. I would love to do more of them because I think the practice really helps with strategy and also as a workout!
    Well done lady :)
    smalltownrunner.com

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  7. Congrats on the PR! I didn't know parkrun had made it all the way over to NZ! I'm doing one in the Uk this summer. Love that it's free :)

    Thought of you yesterday. Was reading a new UK trail running mag and they had the most amazing photo of mountain running with a lake...and it was the Keplar Challenge. Looks AMAZING!!

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Thanks for commenting!

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