“Park Run. Easy effort. 1 before and 6 more miles for 10 total at easy effort.”
It’s easy to fit a 10 mile easy run and some running club volunteering into a Saturday morning… if you’re prepared to ditch parkrun. But where’s the fun in that?
If you’re not prepared to ditch parkrun and want to meet up with a friend who’s fed up to the back teeth with mud and who is the possessor of vegetarian marshmallows with which to augment a post-parkrun hot chocolate, then the timings and logistics become a little more involved.
They start to involve a disgusting o’clock alarm call*, finding a route that will get you to the parkrun at 9 o’clock with 7 miles on your Garmin**, bus journeys across town*** and the challenge of how not to freeze when you finish your run and when you’re stood outside for 2 hours at your marshal point****.
But when you spend a lovely hour with someone you first met in passing at a parkrun, chat to the volunteers while doing a little token sorting, realise that you can name as many parkrun friends as club mates at the cross country and that each one is happy to share their running club’s cake with you, all of the contortions become worthwhile.
A parkrun in a long run. No training plan should be without it.
* 6.15 am. Practically a lie in on parkrun day.
** 8.40am with 8 miles. Near enough.
*** A choice of two, both running at least every 10 minutes. Public transport in London is blooming marvellous.
**** Stuff car boot with every piece of warm clothing you own. Drive to a point halfway between a bus stop and the cross country. Start run from car to parkrun carrying spare fleece and windproof jacket. parkrun. Put on spare fleece and windproof jacket. Drink hot chocolate with marshmallows. Catch bus back to car. Change out of damp running kit into leggings, trousers, waterproof trousers, parkrun fleece, Centurion hoodie, VLM reject fleece from four years ago, waterproof jacket, gloves and hat.*****
***** I still froze. I should have put on a second pair of gloves.