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Training Diary: Just Nipped Under 18 Minutes at Parkrun

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Rob Murray

Rob is a self confessed running geek, obsessed with all things related to the sport, whether road, track or triathlon.
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After planning to do a Winter Series 5k on the Friday night… and then deciding not to (1 hour round trip, slightly niggling ankle and stack of Ikea furniture to build), I decided to get down to parkun on Saturday morning.

I imagine (sorry ladies) that parkrun is a little like giving birth… You look forward to it, visualise going through it and prepare yourself mentally. Then, when you actually go through it, it’s agony from the moment you start to the moment you finish (there was a bloke crouched on all fours being sick from the exertion this week.) But afterwards..? Within 30 minutes I’m remembering it as a lovely morning. A fantastic run in the park with like-minded people. So begins the cycle again and looking forward to Parkrun again..! Ok nothing like giving birth but you get what I mean! Maybe…


Poole Park

Poole Park

The weather was deceptively cold (my hands never warmed up the whole time), grey clouds rolled overhead and there was a rustling breeze weaving its way around the 538 runners.

After a fair bit of training recently I was quietly optimistic of getting close to my PB. As a loose goal, I was aiming for the 18 minute mark. This is where the regularity and consistency of  parkrun is great – at acting as a benchmark or barometer of fitness.

Lining up at the start, there didn’t seem to be many of the usual big guns, although former GB Olympic runner Liz Yelling was stretching just behind me! Screw it, I thought. Never mind negative splits etc, just go as fast you can, I said to myself as the starter horn went off.

So off I flew, taking the lead for about 8 seconds before the natural order of things was resumed and a few people overtook me. But I didn’t let up, I just went at 100% effort the whole way round, to the point that the people I lapped towards the end probably thought I was about to collapse, I was breathing so loud and heavily!

As I saw from my splits afterwards, although my effort was ‘all out’, my times did get slower… positive splits if you will. Doesn’t matter though, as I tumbled across the finish line in 17:59 – almost exactly as planned and without looking at my watch once while running (I prefer to run on effort for 5k and under).


Distance: 5k
Time: 17:59
Average pace: 5:53/mi

Author: Rob Murray

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