Improvement Series, RA Fitness Blog, Running, Training Help

5 Tips to improve your Parkrun Time

Whether you’re Saturday morning run is fast or slow, you’re likely to be part of the majority that want to improve their run. This could be in terms of time or effort needed to complete the 5km distance. If so, you’ve come to the right place. because I’ve got 5 tips that I’m using to get that little bit faster, without really training.

1. If you normally start at the middle or back of the pack, one thing that will improve your official time is getting nearly the front. This way you want get caught up in the slow starts events have the further back you get. As Parkrun is timed from the gun, and not when you step over the line, that little period of walking you do as you negotiate the start can cut into your time. If you regularly use a tracker you may notice this already, as your first kilometre may be abnormally slower than the rest of the race. Start a little further forwards and this can be reduced.

2. Try a hillier course every so often. Not advice everyone can use, it if your Saturday run is always on a flat course and you can go out to others, try one that’s hilly. It will help train your muscles, but also help your mind when it comes to your normal Parkrun. As you can be saying to yourself ‘at least I’m not doing that hill today’. The time you have at the hilly route is also likely to be a longer time, so you’ll have the satisfaction that at least you’ll be better than the week before. If there isn’t a hillier course near you, a trail/off-road course will also be a little tougher, especially if it’s muddy.

3. Some Parkrun events have pacers, if yours does regularly, start using them. They can help you track where you are in relation to your goal. Other parkruns have pacer events once a month, so get in touch with the parkrun you want to go to and see if/when they have pacers. Following a pacer can also be a good way to motivate you mid run as you try and keep them behind you or within sight. If there are no pacers, see tip five for something that may help.

4. Equally, your improvement might be to keep running at the same pace, and to keep that consistent throughout the 5km. If so consider signing up to be a pacer of a time you are regularly at. Popular pacing times are 20/25/30/35 minutes, so if you’re around those times this could be a great way to motivate yourself to do that time. This is a good option for those with gps watches or tracking apps, as they’ll allow you to know mid run what your pace is at. You’ll also get a volunteer and run credit.

5. Lastly, as you run your Parkrun, you may already do this. But target those runners around you and try to keep them nearby, or overtake them. If you’re feeling like you’re at a comfortable pace, keep with the runner that’s next to you. Equally if you think you can get a little more out of yourself, go for the overtake, it then encourage yourself to sustain the effort, so they can’t come back and overtake you.

Parkrun is an event held across the world each Saturday morning. Encouraging people to get active and complete the 5km distance. Many events also have a Junior Parkrun, a smaller distance for those younger, held on a Sunday Morning. For more information head to; www.parkrun.co.uk or www.parkrun.org.

I’ve regularly been taking part in Exmouth Parkrun since my weekend hours changed, and I’m really enjoying the challenge of seeing my time come down. So far I’ve taken 2 minutes 30 off of my time in just 5 events which is very exciting (I’m now in sub-25 category 😬). Follow my socials for more updates on my progress; Instagram, Twitter, Strava and Facebook.

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