Sub 25 minutes 5K goal - Mile End Parkrun

Since marathon training is done for this year I needed to focus on a new goal to keep me running and active. I find it easier getting out for runs when I have a focus.

Still being sensible and making sure to  rest the body post marathon,  I will only be doing 3 runs a week maxing out at 30 minutes each time. 

Working on my speed and hill training confidence is something I have always wanted to do. Now seems like a perfect opportunity with no races booked.

My plan is to return to my local parkrun, Mile end on 9th October and still maintain some running in between with some strenght training.  My current training plan looks like this:

➡️Monday - Strenght workout 
➡️Tuesday - Track session with Viewtube runners
➡️Wednesday - Strenght workout 
➡️Thursday - Hill/Tempo 
➡️Friday - Rest
➡️Saturday - Parkrun
➡️Sunday - Rest

My current stats from Parkrun website

As you can see my fastest Parkrun time was set on 15th December 2018. My aim is to run a sub 25 minutes Parkrun by December 2021. My last Parkrun was on 30th November 2019 at my regular spot, Mile End.

Before any workout I use my FitOn app to complete a warm up and likewise I do a cool down stretch after each workout or run. My favourite trainer is Kenta.

Parkrun sessions and feedback

9th October - W1
Strava - 28:37
Parkrun - 28:41

My first one back after almost 2 years! Felt so good to be back. Didn't realise just how much I have missed it. I have been so engrossed in Saturday long runs over the last 2 years culminating in 4 amazing marathons completed. 
I did a slow easy jog there which is about 1.5km which is great for a lovely warm up for the legs and the heart. 
I bumped into a family friend when I got there who was waiting to coach her athletes. Chatted and before you know it, the whistle went to start. As this was the first proper run since London Marathon (apart from the community 1 Mile with the Outrunners yesterday at the Emirates Stadium), I felt really strong. As I was trapped at the back from the start, I got off to a really slow start. All the way through, I kept pushing even up the hills. I eventually focused on a human target who was running at a nice pace and followed him. Finished the run with a lovely negative splits according to Strava, which felt great.
16th October - W2
Strava - 26:59
Parkrun- 27:13

Woke up at 8am and almost contemplated not going.  Not because I was tired,  but because I was having an amazing sleep, like 10 hours. It didn't take long to convince myself why I needed to get up and get ready. It wasn't cold but the temperature had dropped slightly. I jogged up there to start my warm up, making sure it was an easy run. I used the Lupa app for its mindfulness approach to a guided run to get me started. Got to Mile End park in about 1.5km and then did my dynamic stretches and I was ready to go. This time I made sure I wasn't trapped at the back for the start but it is always a slow start with almost 300 people  starting a run in a small space.  I felt good but started to feel tired around 3k on the hills. I did walk for 10 secs and decided rather than walk to slow down a bit. I was disappointed as I was so adamant I did not want to walk at all.  Pleased to report that even with that, I completed the run in 27:13, which is faster than last week. 

23rd October - W3
Strava - 27:22
Parkrun- 27:39

This morning was a difficult start. I didn't sleep well as my mum is currently in hospital with covid. She has been in hospital since Wednesday. I woke up before the alarm went off and yet again (like last week) contemplated whether I should just stay in bed. My motivating factor was praying for my mum during the run plus knowing that once I start skipping runs it will be a downward trajectory.  

I set off a bit later than planned at 8:40. Used the Lupa app - a short body scan run for my warm up run to Mile End park. This totalled 1.32km. I felt warm! Only had a few minutes (1 or 2) to get some dynamic stretches in. Off we went. 

As my left hamstring felt tight today, the run felt almost like a struggle. It did feel better as the run went on. Around 3km into the run, I received a call from my mum, I couldn't really hear her properly so that played on my mind for the rest of the run. I felt tired, and almost slowed down to walk but so proud that I didn't and just carried on. There was a young boy running in front of me and he definitely motivated me to stay strong and finish strong. A little slower than last week, but happy with the progression.

I think it is really important that we find motivation wherever we can. We can be sad, stay in bed and do nothing but think. I am of the mindset now that,  doing that will not change my worries.  If I try to remain optimistic and hopeful, we can only pray for a positive outcome. 🙏ðŸŋ

30th October - W4
No Parkrun 

I didn't attend Parkrun.  My mum is extremely poorly and I haven't been able to communicate with her. Communication has been through nurses and consultants at the hospital. 

6th November - W5
Strava - 29:06
Parkrun- 29:30

I set my intentions for today and that was to complete today's Parkrun.  I have been struggling to run as it is now 6 days since my mum got her wings 😔 🕊 

I know I needed to run and I know how I feel after a run. Today wasn't so much about the time but about carrying on with my goal. To add to this, the last time I spoke to my mum was during my last Parkrun 2 weeks ago. 
As I was running today it got tough at times.  When I neared the location of when I got the last phone call from my mum,  I couldn't contain my emotions.  I cried and I ran. I ran and I cried. I walked and I cried.  I just knew that I needed to complete this run. About 4k in, I started to walk again. Then a hand reached out to me. It was my friend Jean, who said come on you can't give up now. Let's go. We ran strong together ❤.  She even encouraged me to do a sprint finish.

Today was an emotional day but also a day that I felt proud. 
After the run, Jean and I talked and then walked home together. 

13th November - W6
Strava - 27:26
Parkrun - 27:40

Back at it again. This time Mollie (@ptmollie) joined me although we didn't run together.  The plan was to go to @rinkoffbakery in Mile End afterwards as a treat.

The start of the run is always congested and today there were 302 parkrunners! I tried to pace myself and stay focused. I could feel my pace was a little all over the place and Strava confirmed that!
 Last week my emotions got the better of me and I just aimed to finish.  Today I wanted to try and get back on track and finish strong.  I didn't want to walk any of it.  But I did eventually stop and walk once for about 10 seconds and then carried on. The funny thing is I am always able to run up the hills (and there are plenty on this course). 

I tried to keep pace with a lady in front  but I ended up dropping back. Only running twice a week is definitely having an effect on my endurance,  plus I am not doing any strenght training in between. So from next week,  I plan to start incorporating strenght workouts in my week. This is something I was consistent with during marathon training so I know it will definitely help.

I finished strong but I am hungry for more and will also restart my morning runs.

Onwards and upwards.

20th NovemberW7
Strava - X
Parkrun - X

No Parkrun as I had some appointments to attend for funeral arrangements do did a solo 5K in my local park. It wasn't fast just needed the run in my legs.

27th NovemberW8
Strava - 27:41
Parkrun - 27:51

So cold out there. Definitely gloves and woolly hat season.  Did a nice 1.5km run to the park. Great warm up and then did some dynamic stretches to continue to keep warm. Made my way to at least the middle of the pack before the whistle went to try and avoid being all the way at the back. 
Started off well and then my pace got a bit choppy. Had some energy in the last 1km so tried to finish strong. 

Working towards this 25 minutes has been harder than I thought with all that has happened over the last few weeks.  
I am also still only running twice a week. Track on Tuesday and Parkrun on Saturday.  I hoped to be running a bit more but I am grateful that I am managing to still push myself to run as hard as it is.

4th DecemberW9
Strava - 27:08
Parkrun - 27:18

A very exciting Parkrun today as my very good friends Shakil and Hasan were joining me today. This was Shakil's first ever Parkrun with Hasan on a roll of Parkrun tourism! This was his first time at Mile End. I didn't tell him about the hills.... whoops ðŸĪ­ as I didn't want him to think about that before hand and just enjoy the experience. 
Shakil is currently injured so he planned to take it easy as Hasan and I ran together.

As usual started off well and tried to keep a steady pace and March up those hills. What I have noticed from looking at my weekly stats is that my last KM is always the fastest. This got me thinking that, 'am I holding back too much during the first KMs?'. What I am conscious of not doing is going out too fast. What I have thought of doing to try and run to pace is set the run up in my Polar watch. This should tell me by vibration if I am going too fast or too slow. This is the plan for next Saturday. 

This is my fastest time since week 2. I am hopeful that I can quicker just not sure if it will happen before the end of the year. I do hope to book a 5K race (or 2) with Runthrough events before the end of the year.

11th December - W10
Strava - 26:49
Parkrun - 27:00

As usual I did my warm up run to Parkrun, which is about 10 minutes.  Lovely surprise to see Darlington and some of the Brooks Run Happy crew.  Said 'hi' and started my stretches as it qas about 8 minutes before the start. 

Mara to the left, Darling on the right

Can't quite believe it's week 10 already, though I have missed 2 sessions. I am definitely enjoying the consistency if not the hills ðŸĪŠ. To be honest I don't think I will ever get to a place where this undulation is not a tad challenging.  Don't get me wrong, you know I love hills but a few in a 5K does get a bit tiring.

As always the plan was to start strong,  work hard in the middle and finish stronger. At the start I aim to start in the middle of the pack and hopefully not get tripped up!  The urge to walk is always real,  but I try and find someone to follow and keep it with. The 'pacer' can change depending on whether I am able to keep pace with the 'pacer'. Happy to report that I did not walk nor did I look at watch. The plan was just to run strong. I always have my  one ear bud in listening to music, but I am so focus on 'keeping going' that thinking back I can't even remember what I was listening to.

By the time I get half way round, I started to dread the next hills. I recomposed myself and slowed down a little and kept going. Really did not want to walk. Around KM 3, I spotted a lady in front of me and used her as my pacer. Near KM 4 as I ran beside her, I thanked her for unknowingly pacing me and we both laughed.  She told me to pick up my legs and stay strong. She then asked if we should go for a sprint finish. I said yes please! I needed all the encouragement at this time. Around 4.5km she told me to go for it. Off I went, picked up my feet and sped past a few people for a strong finish. Finish that last KM in 5:01.

This is my fastest Parkrun this year so definitely a positive and I should be proud of that. The last few weeks have been unimaginable but I am grateful for Parkrun (and this goal) for giving me that motivation to keep showing up ✌ðŸŋ


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