Tag Archives: uk running

My First Outdoor Solo Run

Lots of runners run outdoors on their own. They use it for headspace, to zone out and forget about the worries of the day.

When I need to run, usually on my day off like today, I go on the treadmill. The treadmill is easy for me. It’s what I’m used to, it’s flat and I don’t have to leave the house.

I’ve always found running outdoors much harder. So much so, after my injury in 2013 I never really returned to outdoor running. My first outdoor run was my first parkrun on 13th May 2017. Since then I’ve walked lots outside but never run. To be honest I’m a bit scared of what someone might say to me. You hear these horror stories of runners being heckled and I don’t want it to be me on the receiving end.

As I’m beginning to enjoy running now and I have the Great South Run booked, I know I need to transfer my running to the great outdoors. I need to gain the strength needed to complete that 10 mile race. So this morning I thought “I’ll go for a run outside” that was 4 hours before I actually plucked up the courage to go.

I eventually got dressed to go but as I reopened the curtains after getting changed my stomach dropped. The bin men hadn’t been yet and they’re usually somewhere in the area at this time. So what?! I hear you cry, well this means I’d have to go past them. A group of blokes, what if they were lairy and shouted something at me?!

I finally managed to get my butt out of the door. I’d worked out a one mile loop and my aim was to run it and then if I felt able I could always do a second loop. Ideally I’d do two miles but worst case scenario there were a few cut throughs back to home on this loop so it’d be easy to go home earlier if I needed to. I walked part of the loop (just over half a mile) to warm up, then dropped my jacket off at the house and set off.

Guess what was waiting round that very first corner? Yep, the bin men. They didn’t so much as bat an eyelid in my direction! I ran much more than I expected to before taking my first walk break. I ran along the front and was feeling pretty darn good. Just like at parkrun I ran when I could and walked when I needed to.

Before I knew it I was at the point to start heading back towards home to round off my first mile loop but I decided to keep going on the road I was on as I felt good by this stage and knew I wouldn’t need to stop at a mile. I ran on until I hit 1 mile then turned to run the same route back.

I decided to turn off a little early as my route went ever so slightly uphill. I mean ever so slightly as well, I live in a very flat area. I know a little loop near me is about 0.3miles so I knew I could loop that instead and probably still make 2 miles before arriving home which I did. I got to my house just after mileage ticked over to 2 miles. I did it, and nothing happened!

Red faced but 2 miles complete

I was really pleased, in fact I still feel pretty smug about it now. 

strava details

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When Running Feels Good

After my post Feeling Lost With Running lots of people offered advice on my blog, on Twitter and on Facebook.

The general theme of the advice was “Listen to your body”, “Go off plan”, “Keep it fun” and “Don’t be afraid to take a step back”

I took the advice. This week I went to parkrun without a plan. I didn’t set any intervals on my watch, I just pressed go and went.

We walked the long way to parkrun to give us a good warm up. On the way we saw Marie and Mike. Marie asked me if I was going to beat Mike this week. I told her not likely! (This will become relevant later in the post) We arrived at 8.55, just as the run brief was getting underway.

It took me longer than usual to get past the start line. The New Year not only makes gyms busier, it also makes parkruns a lot busier (as well as three local courses being cancelled).

I ran a little and walked when I needed to. The course was quite congested with so many people there so some of my walk breaks were enforced or extended as I just couldn’t get past people with the faster runners coming back in the other direction. I cheered on my friends as they all came back past me having already reached the turn point. The thing I love about my parkrun is, I know so many people, I barely go more than 20 steps without someone waving at me or cheering me on. It’s great and helps move the time along.

When I turned at the first turn around point I noticed the sun was still on it’s way up. It was making the sky glow with a pinky/lilac colour. It was really pretty. I continued with my run walk, taking breaks when I needed to. I kept overtaking an older gentleman when I was running and he in turn would overtake me when I had a walk break.

As we passed by the finish funnel I took a walk break and he said to me “Come on, don’t let an 85 year old beat you” He didn’t make me feel bad, or particularly unfit at all haha

I was now making my way towards the second turnaround point now and I felt good. Runners were coming back the other way once again and I was able to cheer everyone on and receive words of encouragement myself. My 85 year old friend told me “When we reach that turn around point I don’t want to see you again” Shortly after he said this I fell behind anyway and he disappeared off but I soon heard a voice from behind me.

Mike (in his 70’s) was just behind me shouting “You’re still beating me” I tried to run away from him (No really!) but that just made him laugh and shout “That got you moving didn’t it?!” We soon fell in to pace and began to run together. The thing is with Mike is, he runs slower than me but is more consistent. Matching his pace actually allowed me to run quite a bit more than I had been doing. We chatted, he told me they’d just been to Exmouth and run the 2nd Exmouth parkrun. I told him the ED’s had been to our parkrun in November as they were running the Gosport Half Marathon and that my favourite athlete Jo Pavey had turned up to their inaugural.

We made the descent down mini mountain and Mike started to pull away from me. He told me to hurry up. I told him I wasn’t sure I could run all the way from there to the finish funnel (it’s further than it looks, it’s very deceptive) he said I could and together we ran in all the way, him encouraging me all the way.

Just before we got to the funnel we overtook my 85 year old friend who shouted “Oi!” at me. I shouted an apology back but Mike told me to go so I did. We ran in pretty much together.

Here I am with my older friends!

I felt elated. A good fun parkrun. I never got to thank Mike, he was continuing his run to Browndown in an attempt to start upping his mileage. Next time I see him I’ll be sure to thank him for his good company.

Taking the pressure off was the best thing to do. I didn’t feel wrecked by the end of it and today I haven’t been paying the price. I’m so pleased and I finally got a good parkrun photograph!

I’m going to try the same tactics next week for sure! Wish me luck!

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