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Sunday 6 January 2013

Week 3, Day 6: Parkrun, Deep Puddles & Importance of Warm Ups!

Week 3, Day 6

Goal: Parkrun or 5 miles of hills
Actual: Parkrun + 1 mile warm up & 1 mile cool down

Swindon parkrun is a lovely course in Lydiard Park and the route is like a balloon on a string. You start on a nice straight path and do 2 loops of the park at the top of the path and then at the end of the final lap you come back down the ‘string’ and a sharp left to the finish funnel! It’s nice because the paths are all hard surfaced - although you get a bit of cross-country with the puddles - and you can see the runners spread out in front and behind you all the way around. So you have a visual reference as to whether you’re going too fast … or slow! 

I have been reading on Sarah Osborne’s thread (RW Forum 6 sub-3.30) about the importance of proper warm-ups so I made sure that I actually included one which is something I don’t usually do. (Slapped wrist!) I did a gentle mile around the park and then did the drills shown by Steve Smythe at the bootcamp; some strides, high knees, high kicks behind, grapevine and backwards running. I didn’t knock anyone ove, fall over my own feet OR run into a tree. Which quite frankly, I count as a win. I’m not the most coordinated person …

Swindon parkrun always has a nice friendly atmosphere and today was no different. There were a lot of gold and blue shirts as Wootton Bassett Hounds had their first run of the season and the friendly competitiveness set the tone for the parkrun. 

It was announced before the start that today the route was going to be run in reverse … so instead of a short, sharp uphill and a long lovely slow downhill we had a sharp downhill and a long slog up the hill at the back.

As is tradition at Parkruns, everyone – including me - started off too fast.  Although when Swindon parkrun does the route in reverse, it’s sensible planning to avoid the bottleneck at the gate at the bottom of the first hill!  It felt great though to run with so many other people (337 in total today!) as I do a lot of running on my own. It’s so much more fun with other people although there was a fair amount of dodging around people involved and a dog hurdling incident …!

I felt comfortable the first mile and held the pace fairly well. The 2nd mile was quicker as it involved a bit more downhill and I knew I just had to hold the pace for a new PB. However, that was the difficult part …

Note the subtle socks

There were fairly big puddles as you came up the path on the back hill and
if you were running too close to the runners in front you ended up wearing a fetching pattern of mud splatters. The puddles were quite deep so a fair amount of strategy was involved. Do you run on through hoping that the path you picked was in the shallow end or do you hope from path island to path island?

The first lap was comfortable but I struggled to hold the pace coming up the long uphill for the second time. I was overtaken by a chap in a blue shirt, but after checking my Garmin and panicking seeing a pace in the 7 nminute/miles rather than the 6s I quickened up and caught him again. I decided he could be my pacer for the uphill …

Just to the next corner, then it’s flat, just to the next corner … trying to persuade my legs to move a bit quicker … a short downhill and then a sharp short uphill I overtook Mr Blue Shirt … even though he let me go through the deep puddle first. There’s fair play and then there’s going for a new PB …

One last straight path and –in theory – a downhill although I couldn’t persuade my legs that. Pushing down the last straight and a sharp left around the corner and the finish funnel in the distance. Grab the token … and finish. 

I was gutted. Didn’t even check Garmin. Saw the average pace when I stopped was 7:44 min / mile which would have put me miles away from a PB or even consistent splits…. I didn’t think to consider the last lap would only have been 0.1 of a mile ... And that I’d forgotten to stop the Garmin until after I’d been standing in the queue for a while …

I waited for Bertie and Simon to finish and went for a cool down run around the lake ... But on the way we found a zip wire with a tyre ... Well have to test these things. Make sure they’re safe for the kids … 

Cool down run

Finished the cool down and headed back to the cafe for a coffee and a chat. The café is filled with runners and above the noise of the chat you can hear the discussions of the course, ‘paces’, ‘puddles’ and ‘damp to the knees’.

Met up with Heather and Reuben in the cafe and had a coffee and a catch up as is our Swindon parkrun tradition now. They had Ryan and his parents with them today. Ryan had been around the course with Heather and Reuben today in the running buggy which gave him as a chance to experience the parkrun as a disabled athlete.

Tested out the coffee … and the ice creams and discussed the best puddle-avoiding strategies. Although apparently this week we had it easy as the last couple of weeks they’ve been ankle deep. Eek!

I had to wait until 6pm for the results to be loaded onto the Parkrun website but it was good news … new PB, 2nd woman and 1st in age category.


Result: 21:06
Course PB by 45 secs and 5k PB by 25 secs.

Mile 1 6:47
Mile 2 6:44
Mile 3 7:01


  1. Great post again Sarah and a fab new PB!!!!

  2. Thank you!! :) Can't believe I'm so close to the '20s' !! Eeek!! Tomorrow ... The World!!!