More parkrun tourism

I know I am three weeks in to my marathon training plan, but sitting here now I feel I am into it proper now as my long run mileage ticks over into double figures, and my total miles this week goes over 25 (just).

My running week started positively on Tuesday, everything feeling much easier following the physio session last week, and on my ‘easy’ run I am finding it easier to seemingly go further/faster at a more sedate heartrate (HR). It’s important to me to use this session to really keep my HR down, in the past it used to jump almost as soon as I put my trainers on, so I am pleased that my running is now starting to improve and become easier. On Tuesday I managed to leave the house though, without my HR monitor. Woops, had the chest strap on but no watch. After a rubbish journey home from work I coudn’t be bothered faffing around to find it so I headed out and ran by feel. It was nice just trotting along, running really easy, not even a watch to focus on. That’s not to say I’d do it again in a hurry though, I like stats and control a little too much for such reckless abandon :-)

An important part of a training schedule is to have a range of sessions in the plan each week. I have tried to include each week; the aforementioned ‘easy’ run, an ‘interval’ session, a tempo run, a long slow run, and then either a race effort or second easy run (depending on whether I can be bothered to parkrun). My Wednesday interval sessions are currently not distance based but timed efforts. This week it was a nice easy 10 minute warm up followed by 5 sets of 5minutes ‘hard’, 2minutes easy. It’s a nice session, and I try to push each ‘hard’ bit as hard as I think I can just manage the five reps in.

Thursday I decided to do the same 5 mile tempo route as last week, but I thought about doing it the otherway round. However I got to the turn point and decided I wanted to hit the hill again and show it who’s boss! Lo-and-behold, I knocked 2 minutes off the time it took me last week and had an absolute blast.

Friday night I carbo-loaded with possibly the most calorific pizza in the world. 1200 calories in one 9inch deep pan pizza! Bloody norah!!! But it didn’t seem to affect me as I headed off to parkrun.

Parkrun Tourism

Lynds had bagsied the car, for that all-important thing called work! So if I was gonna race, I had to do it by public transport – my hopes weren’t high! So in the week I looked at all the local venues that were accessible by bus & train, and it turns out there are a few by way of East Croydon train station. I can get to Bromley parkrun on the 119 bus, or Lloyd Park parkrun on the Croydon tram system. However, I decided to visit the uber exotic Penge West, as I could get the train direct, and Crystal Palace parkrun is just a couple of minutes walk from the station.

picture of the pride of venice cafe in penge
Not many people know that Penge is the pride of Venice

On the parkrun website page for the Crystal Palace parkrun it says “run with the dinosaurs” now, I only saw a couple in the kiddies playground, but evidently somewhere in the park are all these beasts

Crystal Palace Park Dinosaurs

I hope they weren’t on the route we ran because I didn’t see them, unless obviously I was trying too hard.

It was a cool day, with a fairly strong breeze, particularly on the downhill part of the second half of each lap. But at least it was dry, so a great day for it. It was made all the more special as we had a surprise guest visit from the King of parkrun himself, Paul Sinton-Hewitt to get us started!!

Now, I have absolutely no scientific grounding for what I am about to say, but for some reason unknown to me I had the strangest notion that crystal palace parkrun would be flat or at least flatish – maybe it’s something to do with the sports track there, who knows??!!!! But, I can confirm, that it is not flat, and the first half of the lap (of which there are two and a little bit) is predominantly up a long incline to the concert bowl (maybe that name should have given it away to me D’oh!)

The banstand at crystal park music bowl

Of course, what goes up…..

And the nice long downhill was pleasantly cooled by the strengthening headwind. The support on route was brilliant, I believe the organisers had more volunteers than usual turn up on the morning. Maybe the lovely parkland inspired me as I pushed myself round the second lap, never quite sure exactly how I was doing on a PB hunt. It was only on reaching the final corner about 200 metres away when I thought I might be onto a winner.

I was pretty shocked to be the 23rd placed runner, and smacked down a 33 second PB to come in at 23:36. Had a little chat with a couple of other runners as I got my gear together and headed for the train home. Everything about it made for a really good morning.

Crystal Palace Park - sky wasn't so blue on Saturday though

Going Long

And so, for the fifth and final run of the week, to bring Jantastic to 100% I headed out on a Long Slow Run. Again, the wind was pretty strong, but the sun was shining (sporadically) and it was another dry day. So I tied my laces and headed out the house and up the hill. I’d plotted my route which would bring me almost exactly to 10 miles, but it didn’t take me too long to go off course, thankfully, it didn’t look right so I rectified within about 10 yards. The rest of the run went off without a hitch, in the delightful Surrey countryside, allowing me plenty of time to think.

And what was I thinking about? Well, this week Simon Walkden aka.mazymixer came up with this summers biggest challenge the Longest Day Run. The idea is that on the weekend closest to the longest day, starting at 12 noon we see just how far we can run in 24 hours. Do you like the logo? Designed by yours truely :-) I was having a little think about how I might go about completing the challenge, I like the idea of setting a routine, rather than just setting off to see how far I can go before burning out, I was thinking about reps on a single route. So I might find a 3-5 mile loop from home, and basically complete one loop every three hours. This plan could result in somewhere between 24-40 miles in the time period, and allow for reasonable rest periods in between. Anyway, I have till June to get a proper plan together, but these were my first musings on an interesting mornings run – the first foray into double figures since July 2011!! Cannot believe it has been so long.

Week in numbers:
25.86 miles this week
80.33 miles this year
12:54 total hours of running
52.1 donuts burned
100% Jantastic score
1882.87km remaining in 2012


2 thoughts on “More parkrun tourism

  1. Good work Chris! Will check out Crystal Palace in due course. P West ain’t so great. Best to approach Crystal Palace from Dulwich or by bullet-proof car! Or stealthily by night as I did on Friday. Longest Day Run – will my Thunder Run efforts count – looking to cover 5 possibly 6 laps (i.e. 50 or 60km) – albeit split into 10k chunks… ;-0

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