Parkrun warm-up?

Well, I hadn’t meant to do that.

Pre-race warm-ups or walk ups

A parkrun course PB on the day before a half marathon race is probably not a good idea as I may have blown my legs up before they’ve even begun. However, if my newly made up, unscientific theory about my running holds up, it may bode well. The hypothesis is: when I run after a break of a couple or more days, I always feel a bit out of breath. The following day’s run often (or is that occasionally?) feels much better.

I could have hung around at home waiting for the skies to clear and done a little four mile pootle locally. Instead, I drove to Birkenhead, with the ground looking very wet, and the wipers swishing away with abandon, in order to clear my lungs.

Whilst attempting a semi warm-up, I managed to put my foot in it when I shouted ‘Happy Birthday’ to the women tied to a number of ‘50’ balloons. I realised my error when I actually, properly looked at her. The number did not denote her premature aging, but her Parkrun milestone. She only looked around 30, but was very genial about my mistake, and I sloped off, red-faced to ‘Pensby Corner’.

This unofficial area on the path, a few metres behind the ‘Start’ line is, nearly always, very well demarcated by Ian and his colourful shorts and, currently, dayglo yellow trainers. On most Saturdays there is a nice huddle of Pensbos exchanging greetings, passing gossip, and today, showing me the elevation profile of the Helsby Half. I’ve since looked back at the last time I ran this race, back in January 2018, and the climb stats correlates to John’s picture. I think I must have suppressed the real memory of it as I had just thought of it as ‘undulating’, when in actual fact there is a steady climb between mile 5 and mile 11. That information should have held me in check for the Parkrun.

Yet, after the crowded first few hundred metres, my legs began turning over at quite a quick rate. It was a bit of a sneaky manoeuvre on their part, because my lungs did not start to register this clip until towards the end of the first lap when I started getting a bit of a stitch. I tried to breathe deeply to push it out and thought about slowing down a bit. The memo to the legs was obviously garbled as although my stride shortened a tad, the cadence essentially continued. Suddenly, I found myself getting closer to the final bend and the last home straight. Balloon woman was ahead of me by quite a distance luckily, as I didn’t fancy catching her up. So I was able to barrel down the final leg, with that nice feeling of flight, over the finishing line.

I may get a godawful time for tomorrow or maybe I’ll enjoy another course best, but for now I’ll enjoy the ride today.

12 thoughts on “Parkrun warm-up?”

  1. a little further than a traditional friendship pre marathon run, but I love a run the day before…..with a group. I always miss the days when there used to be pre-race pasta parties, it was a great way to meet others from all over the world that you’d run with the next morning

    1. Yes, I don’t hear about those pasta parties anymore, although ODing on the carbs before a marathon seems to be losing space in the official narrative now. It felt good to know that several of my club mates were also running tomorrow though. There’s a camaraderie in that.

      1. exactly. I’ll never forget meeting a couple that were from near Seattle, both were in their 80s…and he ran marathons the way some people golf, almost every weekend, not fast, but did them….and if there was one in one State on Saturday, and another in a nearby State on the Sunday, he’d do both…that still inspires me…

  2. Not unscientific at all, Rita. There is a an explanation why you do not feel on top form if you rest a few days before a race. This is why endurance runners DO NOT / SHOULD NOT taper. It is a term taken from sprint and middle distance runners and should not be used in endurance. Endrurance runners ‘peak’ not ‘taper’. The bodys adapts to what it thinks you want.

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