The secret to getting your arse into gear and keeping fit without paying a penny is right here.
Finding the motivation to get up and go out for a run on your own is hard, and so much less appealing than cosying up on the sofa with a cuppa. Exercising with multiple people gives you both the determination to carry on (hang on, she’s done FIFTY squats? Must… keep… going), and a guilty conscience when you’ve promised that friend that you will be there… and you don’t turn up.
Another problem with your make-it-up-as-you-go-along runs, is that you might not be timing yourself, you don’t know how far you’re going, and you can’t map any improvements (assuming you’ll be going more than once!).
What is it?
Parkrun UK is an organised, timed, 5k (3.1 miles) weekly run around the world. They’re open to everyone, cater for all abilities and are really easy to take part in… no excuses. Completely run by volunteers, all parkruns across the world (over 2,500 parkrun clubs now operate) rely on generous people giving their time to make the weekly run go ahead. A parkrun volunteer in Sussex, explained to us that, no matter what level you are at, parkrun will be suited to you: “Parkrun is the most inclusive event that you will find. No-one should be worried about being people, many even run/walk.
There is a very encouraging atmosphere and ethic, which means that everyone will be cheered by marshals and spectators, and cheered over the line.”
Upon registering, you will receive a unique barcode unique to you. When you’ve completed the run, the timers will record your time and give you a position barcode. After the event, the specifically-designed software will match the participant to the position and the respective time. Data is uploaded onto parkrun servers later that day for you to see how well you did.
Where is it?
The one possible, slight, teeny-weeny downside? You’ll have to be up and out of bed before 9am on a Saturday morning. The run is in Hove Park, Brighton. It starts next to a basketball court, mid west of the lap. Runners then run a small lap of 1.4K, followed by two full laps of 1.8k… finishing close to the community cafe for a post-run coffee.
The course is run on mainly good quality paths. Some sections of the course may hold mud, leaves and puddles after rain. Dependent on availability, marshals will be at key sections of the course, or signs will be in place.
What is it like?
Frequent Brighton & Hove parkrun-er, Isobel Muir was at the very first Hove Park parkrun in November 2007. “I love it because it is free, you know it is there every Saturday, it brings you into contact with loads of other runs of all standards and stages of their running careers,” she told us.
Having done over 150 runs at Hove Park, it has become a staple part of her weekend routine: “It is something I do almost every Saturday, whether running or volunteering and I can’t imagine what I did on Saturdays before it!