QI want a parkrun PB. Help! Jack Taylor, Harrogate
Parkrun podiums A aren’t easy to top – these free, local events have attracted a cult following and some pretty speedy runners. With this five-point-plan from Sally, though, you’ll be up to speed on the best tips for running faster:
MIX IT UP Having a variety of speeds and training sessions is key to getting faster – and will keep things fresh and interesting. Hill reps are one of the quickest routes to increased fitness and faster parkrun times, along with intervals of speedwork on the flat, run at near race pace. A typical session might include both, for example 6 x (2 min on, 1 min off) on the flat, followed by 6 x (1 min on, 1 min off) up a hill. Longer, ‘easy’ runs should also feature in your weekly mileage, to give your legs the endurance they’ll need to maintain your fastest pace over 5k.
TAPER TIME Give your legs a break two to three days before your parkrun. You’ll have done all the hard work by then and nothing you do at that stage will make you faster.
COMPETE You can’t beat racing with someone else to make you run faster. Seek out someone of the same pace and really push it to be first across the finish line.
EAT WELL Time your pre-parkrun fuelling so you’re eating light foods through the day and having a light, protein-rich meal (maybe a bagel with some peanut butter and a piece of fruit) around two to three hours before the start. Avoid carb-loading, which research suggests is only beneficial for endurance events of around 90 minutes or more. Keep hydrated and take small bites of energy bars in the run-up to the race if you’re still hungry.
REST UP Recovery is vital. Give your legs a postparkrun rest before hitting the training again – repeated hard sessions with insufficient rest won’t lead to speed gains and are more likely to slow you down through muscle fatigue.
Beat the rush to the parkrun podium!