It’s no secret that I love swimming, riding and running… Triathlon has brought so much happiness to my life (as cliche as that sounds) that I would love everyone to experience a little bit of the same joy. I do realise though that not everyone has the time or desire to train for three sports, and not everyone loves swimming or owns a bike (both of which are easily fixable). But most people do own a pair of running shoes and the majority of you could run, jog or even walk for 5km.
I wont ramble on about the benefits of exercise, we all know it’s good for our health and makes us deliriously happy… But what if I told you there was a way to make exercise fun? A revolution you could join that might even make you LOVE running? It’s called parkrun.
If you haven’t had the pleasure of discovering your local parkrun yet do yourself a favour jump on www.parkrun.com and find the closest one to you. Grab a friend, your partner, kids and the dog and get ready to make your Saturday morning great.
Not sure what parkrun is? Still skeptical that running could be fun? And really wondering why you should sacrifice a Saturday sleep to do it? Let me explain…
All around the world on Saturday mornings thousands of enthusiastic runners, walkers and pram pushed toddlers descend on their local parkrun for a 5km free, fun and timed run.
Going to a wedding in London? Start the weekend with a parkrun. Have a conference in Sydney, join their park run. Visiting your parents a few hours down the road, drag them along too. There are currently 183+ parkrun locations in Australia and over 900 around the world and the numbers are continually growing.
So now you know what parkrun is, why should you go?
1. It is the perfect place to start if you are new to running, or making a comeback. Even if you do a mixture of jogging and walking on your first time, it doesn’t matter, the first step is always the hardest. Starting with a timed 5km run will measure your baseline fitness and you can strive to improve from there.
2. Other runners WILL motivate you. There are so many inspirational stories in the parkrun newsletter each week. 70 year old woman who can do a sub 23min 5km, to stories of weight loss and people changing their lives through discovering parkrun. There are all shapes, sizes and abilities at every single parkrun, a six year old might beat you, or you might cross the finish line with a 60 year old, but theres no doubt they will all inspire and motivate you to push yourself.
3. Parkrunners are the friendliest people. Don’t feel scared or intimidated turning up to your first parkrun. The runners and volunteers alike are some of the friendliest people you will ever meet. parkrun is totally reliant on volunteers to happen each week, and it takes someone with generosity and a big heart to donate their time and effort for the good of others. So it is safe to say you have no need to be intimidated, whether you run, walk or skip there will be people encouraging you and smiley faces all around the course.
4. Your finish times (and personal bests) get tracked. To have your times recorded on the parkrun website you need to register before you go, print out your barcode and bring it along. Each week your time is then recorded under your profile and you can track your fitness progressing and strive for a goal time or PB.
5. It’s a family affair. Bring your husband, wife, parents, kids (either running or in prams) it is the most family friendly fun run you will ever attend, and it happens every week. Whilst all ages are welcome at parkrun they don’t hold any responsibility for family wagers… Like the slowest runner does the dishes!
6. It’s free. Who doesn’t love a freebie?
Look up your local parkrun and try it this Saturday morning. My guess is that you’ll love it and want to go back next week to see how much you can improve. I reckon you will be in the best mood for all of Saturday and be telling anyone who will listen about how great it is.
Don’t forget to register online before you go, print out your barcode and bring it along on the day.
Until next time remember, one run can change your day, but many runs can change your life.
I look forward to hearing about everyones first parkrun experiences, jump on my Facebook page www.facebook.com/livinginlycra and let me know how it goes.