N for Northwich Parkrun

Parkrun Alphabet Challenge: N = Northwich parkrun

One of my challenges this year is to start working my way through the Parkrun Alphabet challenge. For me, this is a fun way to try out some new Parkruns, whilst also seeing a bit more of the UK (and world!!)

There are quite a few different Parkruns locally to me (within say an hours drive) and so it seems sensible to tick these off the list first.

On Saturday, myself and one of my friends from my run club (who is also doing the challenge!) decided to try out Northwich Parkrun, so we could get our “N.”

I thought that going forwards, as part of this challenge I would write a short “review” of each of the Parkrun’s I complete. So, here goes… Northwich Parkrun!


Northwich Parkrun

Overall, I really enjoyed Northwich Parkrun.

Bearing in mind that I haven’t been to Parkrun in about 6 weeks (before yesterday) and so I was worried that I’d struggle. With this is mind I thought that I would just run at my own pace, and not push it. I want to enjoy running again and not be chasing a PB constantly, which is partly why I thought I’d start up this challenge.

Northwich Parkrun takes part in Carey Park and it’s about 40 mins drive from where I live so not too bad. There is a good car park with loads of spaces right by the start, which is always helpful, although it is £1 to park. There are also no toilets but you can use the ones in the Asda opposite.

The course starts on a narrow track so it takes a while to get going, as you can’t really overtake people.

Northwich parkrun 2

It was also quite muddy and slippy when we went as there had been heavy rain the day before. The course itself was good overall though as it was varied, with a mix of trail and concrete paths with views of the fields and cows. It also goes through a forest at one point (which is again quite a narrow path).

I wouldn’t say it was a PB course due to the parts where you can’t really get past people (and the terrain being mixed/slippy). There were also a couple of hilly bits so it wasn’t flat! 😀

Overall though, I enjoyed the variety and would probably do this one again. Even though we got soaked at the end walking back to the car when it tipped it down!!


Northwich Parkrun - Carey Park

Park Run Alphabet Challenge

Parkrun Alphabet Challenge: Parkrun Tourism

So… you may know from past posts that I’m pretty much addicted to Parkrun. If you haven’t heard of Parkrun, it’s a free weekly timed 5k that happens in parks all over the world at 9am on Saturday mornings.

I’ve been going to Parkrun for a couple of years on and off, although last year I went most Saturday’s if I could. It’s a fantastic way to keep fit and meet other like-minded people and there’s just a fab, supportive atmosphere. It doesn’t matter how fast you go, you can walk, jog, run or sprint – it’s open to everyone.

I used to just go to my local Parkrun, but then last year I started to get a bit bored and started getting into Parkrun tourism, which is basically running at different Parkruns across the country/world.

I have now done 48 Parkruns in 12 different locations – which to be honest, I did not forsee when I made my new years resolution to give Parkrun a try back in January 2017.  It just gets very addictive! I’ve had about 6 weeks away from Parkrun due to holidays etc and I’m itching to get back!


What is the Parkrun alphabet challenge?

My target this year was to get to 50 Parkruns, which I should hopefully complete this month.

Earlier this year I came across the Parkrun alphabet challenge, which is basically running a Parkrun starting with every letter of the alphabet.

As soon as I saw this alphabet challenge, I just thought YES I HAVE to do this!

I actually started doing some Parkrun tourism last year but I think this challenge is more of a long term/ongoing one, it may take a bit of time and planning to complete.

For every new Parkrun I do, I will write a blog and Instagram post about it and add it to this alphabet challenge post. I’d really love to do a Parkrun abroad too. Exciting? Very! 😀


Parkrun alphabet challenge: a list of the Parkruns I have done so far (blog posts to follow):

A – Andover

B– Bushy Park

C – Crewe, Chester, Congleton

DDelamere Forest

E – Erdigg (Wrexham)

F

G

H– Hereford

I

J

K

L

M– Minehead

NNorthwich Parkrun

O

P

Q

R

S– Shrewsbury

T-Telford

U

V

W– Worcester Pitchcroft

X

Y

Z


Have you ever completed a Parkrun? Would you ever complete a challenge like this? Let me know in the comments below 🙂

Louise X

Photo by Magda Ehlers

Running Park Run Quote

Park Run Progress – 3 PB’s in a row (wow)

This morning I did Park Run and I thought I’d just do a quick update on how I’m getting on. 🙂

Park Run has recently become a bit of a Saturday morning routine for me. I get up early (7am), have breakfast and head over to Delamere Forest for the start time of 9am.

It’s funny how much I’ve changed recently but I’d actually much rather do Park Run than go out partying on a Friday night (what’s happened to my life?)

Anyways…I have now done 4 Park Runs at Delamere Forest AND I’ve managed to get PB’s on the last 3 runs! (Not quite sure how that’s happened…)

Why Park Run?

It was my New Year Resolution this year to start going to Park Run. The main reason behind it was to help with training for the London 10K race I have signed up to to raise money for the Scoliosis Association in July. I have also signed up to the Great Manchester Run (10K) in May. In a way though, I am now dreading this as I’m not sure I’m ready for 10K yet…

My first Park Run was back in January and at the time, I was so pleased with my time (33.27).  For me, it was a huge achievement to actually attend a Park Run and get a “decent” time (i.e somewhere in the middle of the pack!) It highlighted to me that my fitness was relatively good and that my back could cope ok with running 5K (wahoo!)

Since January, I have done 3 more Park Runs and my times are as follows:

Park Run Stats

So I’ve managed to shave 3 minutes off my time since January!

Now, I’m fully aware that these times are probably crap for some people! When I first started running a couple of years ago though, I was running 5K in around 40 minutes. So it just shows how far I’ve come. 🙂 I believe that anything is possible if you work hard enough.

I have been supplementing my running training with Body Pump classes, spin classes and HIIT training at my gym. Walking is also important, most days I try to get my goal of 10K steps. I truly believe that this extra training has helped to improve my fitness and 5K times.

Don’t get me wrong, today’s Park Run was not easy. I pushed myself HARD to get that time and it wasn’t exactly comfortable (this wasn’t down to my back though!) But it’s a start and I can now work on improving each week. The good thing about Park Run is it’s highly motivating and it makes me push myself more than if I was running alone.

For me, it also shows that anything is possible after scoliosis surgery. 


If you are interested in finding out more about Park Run, check out their website here – Park Run. It’s free to register and you can walk, jog or run 5K (you don’t have to run).  They have free, weekly timed 5K’s around the world!

parkrun

Park Run Delamere Forest…a new PB!!

I’m so happy right now!

I just came home from my second Park Run at Delamere Forest and I managed to get a new PB!

Back in January, I went to my first ever Park Run at Delamere Forest. It was cold, dark, raining and generally bad conditions for running.

Despite this though, I still managed to get a time of 33 minutes and I was so proud of myself.

I haven’t managed to get back to Park Run since January as life has kind of got in the way. I was determined to go this weekend though as I’m conscious that my 10K London race for the Scoliosis Campaign Fund is coming up and Park Run is great training for that. Plus, it was a lovely sunny morning and perfect conditions for running.

This time, I was much more organised as I knew the drill. I arrived 10 minutes before the start time of 9am and made sure I was wearing my heart rate monitor and that my Runkeeper app was ready to go. I also made sure I had my headphones on ready so I could listen to my music and Runkeeper progress. Last time I didn’t get myself sorted in time and so had no music to listen to!

This time there were also A LOT more runners there, I think because it was such a sunny day compared to last time.

Park Run

I also wore better trainers this time. Last time I wore my gym trainers and they pretty much got ruined as it was sooo wet and muddy. I also nearly slipped on the mud last time and nearly twisted my ankle a few times too as it’s quite rocky underfoot and there are tree roots and things sticking out.  After my first Park Run, I bought some Karrimor trail runner trainers which are much better for the off-road conditions, like those at Delamere Forest.

park run

It was the first time I wore these trainers but I have to say I was impressed. They weren’t particularly expensive but the grip made such a difference. They are also waterproof too so if I do go on a wet day again in future, I don’t need to worry. The other thing I did was purchase a Park Run card. This is basically just a card with your name, phone number and barcode on the back. It just makes it easier as if you pop it in your purse you never have to worry about forgetting your barcode in future. I got one because on the first Park Run it was so wet that my paper barcode wouldn’t scan properly which caused a bit of delay at the finish line. So all in all, I felt like this time everything went much more smoothly!

A new PB

Last time my time was 33 minutes and 27 seconds. For me, this was a HUGE achievement! I didn’t even know if I’d be able to run the full 5K let alone finish at a decent time. This time last year, it took my around 40 minutes to run 5K, so I’ve improved so much. Today, I did push myself. I knew I wanted to beat my last time, the conditions were better this time and I was better prepared.

Today, I managed to get a time of 31 minutes!

I’m so pleased with this, although it wasn’t easy. Especially the last hill at the end! I did push myself quite a bit and I’m slightly worried how I will manage to do my 10K race as I was completely knackered after running 5K at this pace… I’m going to keep going though and will hopefully find it easier over time and keep improving. The best thing is that, even though it was a struggle, my back felt great! It may have been down to the adrenaline, or maybe the trainers I’m not sure but my back didn’t hurt one bit. I have been working on strengthening my back over the last 9 months so I feel like this is really paying off. Although, of course I have good and bad days and it will probably start hurting tomorrow!

#LoveParkRun

Overall, I think I run much better in a group like Park Run than when I run by myself. I think it’s because my competitive side comes out and I push myself more. It’s a fantastic, friendly atmosphere and I really can’t recommend it enough. I feel on a high all day 🙂

Have you ever been to Park Run? Tell me about your experiences in the comments below!

Until next time!

Louise X

Park Run

My First Park Run

My First Park Run: Delamere Forest

I’ve been meaning to go to a Park Run for the last 6 months (since I registered last year). I’ve been putting it off though, mainly because I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to run the full 5K without stopping.

I got into running about two years ago now, when a friend invited me to run a 10K Race for Life for Cancer Research. That was my first ever organised race and I had about 5 weeks to train (from never having done any running in my life)!! I managed to do it in about 1 hour 17 minutes though and was pretty chuffed with myself.


Running with scoliosis…

After this, I got the running bug and continued to run in my spare time and at the gym. Unfortunately though, I injured my shoulder shortly after this and had to take a break from running for a while. I attended physio and was told my injury was due to my scoliosis. As scoliosis is a side-ways curvature of the spine, and mine is pretty severe, one side of my back has muscles that are more developed than the other side. The more developed side has to over-compensate for the weaker side, which means I am more vulnerable to pain and injuries.

Due to the pain, I decided to stop running for a while and focused on getting my back and shoulders stronger. I started going to Body Pump classes to improve my strength and spin classes to improve my fitness while I wasn’t running. I got a bit impatient though and signed up to a 5K mud run last year. I found the running part very tough though and had to stop a few times on the way round.


New Year, new running goals…

This year, after 6 months of body pump classes, I felt like my back was finally ready to cope with running again. So as part of my New Year Resolutions, I decided to try and get back into running. Earlier this month, I signed up to a couple of 10K races later in the year for motivation and vowed to finally make it to a Park Run.

Park Run Quote Scoliosis


The moment of truth…

The day I chose (Saturday 28th January) wasn’t exactly the best weather wise. It was freezing and chucking it down with rain. Nevertheless, I dragged myself and my boyfriend out of bed at 7am, determined to do it.

When we arrived at Delamere, I was a bit nervous. I didn’t know what to expect or whether I’d be able to make it round without stopping. I’ve ran/jogged 5K on the treadmill a few times recently but there’s a difference from being on a treadmill to being outside in the freezing cold rain and mud.

I needn’t have worried though.

As soon as we arrived I was put at ease. As we all gathered by the start line, one of the friendly volunteers asked if there was anyone there who hadn’t done it before and explained everything to us. We basically just had to run/jog/walk round and at the end they scanned our bar code and gave us our time. It wasn’t a race and there were people there of all abilities and ages (even dogs!)

I was totally unorganised in the excitement of it all and forgot to turn my RunKeeper app on until about 0.5Km of the way round. I also couldn’t get my headphones on quick enough as the run started, so I had to run with no music, which I’m not used to!

In the end though, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The weather was bad which made the track very wet and slippy but despite this, I managed to RUN THE WHOLE 5K WITHOUT STOPPING!!

Not only that, my time was pretty good (for me!) at 33 minutes. This to me is a HUGE achievement and I cannot tell you how proud I am of myself for doing it and finishing at this time. To be honest, I didn’t care about the time I just wanted to get round without stopping.

There were 280 runners and I wasn’t last! Woohoo!


Park Run Results Delamere
My Park Run Results

I have ran 5K before but a year ago it would take me around 40 minutes, so I have really improved. Plus, I think if the weather and conditions were better I may have been able to get round even quicker. We also started at the back (as we didn’t know what to expect) which made it harder to get past people at the start.

I really think the Body Pump and spin classes have improved my fitness and running capabilities. This was the first run in a long time where it actually felt comfortable, easy-ish and I actually enjoyed myself. I love the endorphins I get after a good run and felt on a high for a good few hours after I finished. I think it was endorphins that kept me going in the end.

Delamere is a lovely venue for Park Run and I really enjoyed the scenery of the forest and lake (even if it was ridiculously muddy!) There were also a few hills thrown in! The volunteers and other runners were all really friendly too and it’s like a lovely community. I especially loved how some runners who had finished quickly stayed and cheered the rest of us on.

I NEVER EVER thought that I’d be able to run 5K after I had my scoliosis surgery 6 years ago. However, I have continued to train and push myself and continue to improve as the years go on. It’s an amazing feeling!

I would highly recommend Park Run to anyone. It’s free and really well organised with loads of friendly people. I am definitely planning on going regularly so that I can keep on improving! I’ll also try and take more pictures next time.

ParkRun