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?


  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.

  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!

  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!

  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 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!

  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...

  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 :)

  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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