It wasn’t long after changing jobs in May that I realised I get no exercise at all as part of my everyday life. I literally get into my car, drive out to the coast, sit at a desk for eight hours and then drive back. Not good, especially when you love food as much as I do.
In attempt to remedy this I’ve been trying to run a bit more frequently – and have even managed to rope a friend in to keep me company a couple of times a week (I recommend having a fitness friend to anyone struggling to stay motivated – it really does help).
When we first started out we both agreed that we were too nervous to join a running club; our fear of being the slowest people on earth put paid to committing to anything. However, we did make a pact to sign up when we got a bit stronger.
And this weekend we took what felt like a momentous step towards that goal.
We joined the 5k Norwich Park Run, which is held every Saturday at Eaton Park in Norwich.
Oh yes, we registered on the website and actually got up and to the park for 9am (which, for me, is an achievement all by itself, I will be honest).
Anyone put off by the thought of registration, stay with me. The sign up process is very simple – just fill in a form and then print out the barcode that’s emailed to you. It’s used to monitor your runs, the progress you make and where you finish. It’s a really good way of making people compete against themselves (well, it is for me) because you are more accountable if there’s a permanent record of how you did.
I honestly couldn’t believe how many people turned up at the park – I know it was a beautiful morning, but there were several hundred people gathered at the bandstand.
There were so many different ages and types of people, including children, parents with buggies and even people walking dogs. There was a lovely atmosphere, with everyone nattering away and enjoying the sunshine – any initial nerves we might have had were dispelled very quickly.
The volunteer team were great at putting first timers at their ease too. About five minutes before the start they gave a presentation about how Park Run works and the route – 3.5 laps around the park – before setting off to the starting point.
The run itself was totally relaxed, with everyone going at their own pace along the paths or on the grass – as long as you got to the end it didn’t matter. In fact my only disappointment was being lapped by the regulars – but I can live with it.
When we got to the end of the 5k we were given a numbered tag, which was scanned with our barcode in order to record how long it took us to get to the end and position we were in. I’m rather chuffed to say I was mid-table – although it wouldn’t have upset me if I was lower down.
If you’re interested in signing up for the weekly 5k, visit Norwich Park Run online.