It’s always easier to pose questions than offer solutions.
Despite my last post pondering the training options that might see me recover PB potential in the remaining 3 weeks before GNR, I’ve somehow managed to spend the entire week on my backside – not a single run has been taken.
In search of last minute inspiration I’ve taken to listening to unplayed episodes of the Marathon Talk podcast and yesterday found myself totally inspired by the ancient episode 21 – parkrun edition. A quick check of the parkrun website revealed that it had been more than 4.5 years since my last parkrun. It felt confessional and I needed to make amends.
This morning I headed out to the now distant but familiar haunt of Richmond Park and reacquainted myself with the marvel of parkrun. There have been a few changes over the years but at its essence it remains a joyful institution for runners – free, Saturday morning, timed runs, manned by volunteers across the length and breadth of the land.
Richmond parkrun has grown in popularity and the swollen ranks offer a bit of protection for the back of the pack runner. I normally feel abandoned within minutes of the start of a race but after overtaking a few small running children I found myself part of a long yet continuous line of huffing runners and a few straining dogs.
I was trying to make the most of the first half’s descent so marked a runner who seemed to have a consistent but stretching pace ahead of me. I tucked in behind her until it felt a bit rude and then pulled alongside her for a failed overtaking manoeuvre. We ended up chatting for a couple of k before the hill got bad and the puffing a little too loud for pleasantries. I pulled away at the crest and much to my joy managed to wind in a few other runners on my way towards the finish.
I was way off PB standard but felt my competitive instinct was left satiated by the end.
The parkrun barcode from ICEtags managed an appearance at long last and I can confirm it worked like a dream.
If you’re only going to run once a week I’m afraid to say that a 5k parkrun does not cut the half marathon training mustard. After a little rest to fully evaporate I reassembled my trammel for an additional 10k jog around the park, trying my hardest to maintain a 3 hr half marathon target pace.
I’m pretty tired now but you can’t beat that parkrun, Saturday afternoon, smugness. Must be time for a Stella soon.