Festive parkruns and my first goal of 2016

Female triathlete Christmas decoration


It’s been a busy festive season and I haven’t been too bothered about training regularly, but I have fitted in quite a few parkruns.

My first parkrun of the holidays was at Southampton on Christmas Day. I took it as an opportunity to wear my new SOAS top (even if it is really a cycling jersey):


At the event, I met up with my friend, Teri, and ran with her and her children. They were all in festive fancy dress, which was really cute, but didn’t help us to go quickly. Teri’s daughter wanted to go under 30 minutes, so she completely smashed that goal.

Screen Shot 2015-12-26 at 11.28.38.jpg

Getting up for Boxing Day parkrun was a little tougher, but I surprised myself by doing OK. It wasn’t a super quick time, but it was one of my better runs of 2015!

Screen Shot 2015-12-26 at 11.29.11.jpg

My first run of 2016 was at Queen Victoria Country Park, which is a stunning location. I could have gone to Eastleigh parkrun, but that’s a muddy cross-country location. My memory of Netley Abbey was that it was mainly on gravel and tarmac paths with a short finish section on grass. I didn’t realise that the course has changed since I was last there…

It was great to see some of my friends at Netley Abbey, including Sharon and Loraine, who I haven’t seen for a long time. I also saw my work buddy and Thunder Run team-mate, Rikki, who ran with me for a short while.

I was also delighted to see my friend, Paul – he’s a fellow runner and a brilliant photographer. It’s thanks to Paul that this blog post has so many pictures.

The course at Netley Abbey is three loops, with much of it being on a very muddy path. At first, I tried to dodge the puddles. Quickly I realised that it was impossible and that I might as well plough through them.

I played a bit of a cat-and-mouse game with the chap in the blue t-shirt. We kept passing each other on the hills. He had a superior sprint finish, whereas I wanted to save some energy for later in the day!

Although I didn’t run very quickly, it was nice to get a PB for this course.

Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 16.55.54

My second parkrun of the day was at Southampton, so I had a quick chat with my friends at Netley Abbey and then hopped back into my car.

Yet again, I met up with my friend Teri, who was chaperoning a mini Saints squad – her two children and her friend’s son, all dressed in their football kit. It’s great to see three children all under the age of 10 who are so excited about running. The only negative is that they are so enthusiastic that they don’t always look where they are going and tend to weave around on the path a bit, so it kept us on our toes!!!

After setting a PB on Christmas Day, the children amazed us by running even harder and setting new PBs.

parkrun finish
© Southampton Daily Echo

Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 16.55.43.jpg

Although my finish time was slower than at Netley Abbey, my Garmin stats showed that I had run  significantly faster at this event (I clearly didn’t follow the racing line!)

My last parkrun of the festive season was this morning at Southampton parkrun.

I spent much of yesterday feeling ill and sorry for myself. This morning, I was feeling fatigued, which wasn’t a great start. I started with Teri, but it was tough going. On the first hill, I let her go and just tried to maintain an even pace without looking at my watch.

I chatted with lots of people on the way around and managed to spur on a couple of people who had stopped, which made it feel like a worthwhile run.

In the last 400m, I was passed by lots of people. My breathing wasn’t good, so I kept at a steady pace. After I finished and looked at my watch, I felt annoyed with myself for not pushing a tiny bit at the end:

Screen Shot 2016-01-02 at 13.36.08.jpg

So, my first two parkruns at Southampton have been 28:11 and 27:03. My goal for my next parkrun is 26:XX so I’ll need to run 5:12-5:23/km.

It’s going to take a bit of effort, but I’m back at work this week, so my training schedule will be getting back on track. I’ll be swimming on Monday, doing some running on Wednesday lunchtime, coaching on Wednesday evening and doing a stretching session on Thursday with Liz. It’s not a full schedule, but I’m excited to get started.

What’s your first short-term goal of 2016?

8 Responses

  1. Errrrm how many Parkruns?! My first short term goal for the year is to get a full week of training in … recovering from an op and cannot wait to get back to it!

    • Ha ha – it’s just as well that they’re free otherwise I’d be broke!

      Speedy recovery – athletes make the worst (most impatient) patients!

  2. Reading about all your parkrun joy, doing a parkrun sounds like a scary enough goal for me. So my goal is to do a parkrun in the first half of 2016. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • parkruns are so much fun and they are all welcoming of everyone, no matter how fast you are. My last parkrun at Southampton had runners who completed it between 15:52 and 52:07 and we regularly have people who do a 1 hour walk-jog. Good luck 🙂

      • Thanks! It’s not so much about speed than running with others. It is the next step though! And my resistance slowly degrades looking and reading all the fun that is associated with it.

        • Maybe pay a sneaky visit to one that’s near you to ‘have a look’ before taking part – if you have (or can borrow) a dog/small child then everyone will just assume you’re out for an ordinary walk whilst you size up the event.

          I love Southampton parkrun as it’s my home parkrun, but Eastleigh will always ahve a special place in my heart as it’s where I started running and as it’s a much smaller event it has more of a community feel about it.

I'd love to hear your thoughts...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.