Amongst the parkrun family there are numerous international athletes, Olympians and experienced coaches.
Each week we invite one of them to share their top tips and advice on training and improving your running, whether you’re looking to complete the course without stopping, break 45 minutes, go sub-20 for the first time, or just bag that new PB.
This week it’s the turn of Lily Partridge!
Lily first represented Great Britain in 2008, aged just 16, and has since gone on to achieve huge success. Lily is a two-time winner of the English National Cross Country Championships, having also been victorious in numerous half marathons, including Reading in 2015 when she ran her incredible PB of 70 minutes and 31 seconds,
Lily then made her marathon debut in 2017 at the Seville Marathon, finishing 4th in a fantastic time of 2 hours, 32 minutes and 9 seconds, and is now preparing for the 2018 London Marathon.
Hi Lily! First up, what’s your home parkrun?
My home parkrun is Rushmoor parkrun in Aldershot, although I am terrible when it comes to remembering my barcode!
How do you fit your training around work and family life?
I’m lucky enough to be able to be flexible with any work commitments and my family are very supportive of this. However, life still happens, but I try to prioritise my training and go away on training camps as often as is financially viable.
What is your top tip to new parkrunners on how to improve their running?
Run with people as much as you can and don’t be afraid to throw in some faster running in the middle of your run to break up the pace. I often find it helps my legs find another gear and prevents boredom, especially if I am running alone.
What would be your advice to parkrunners who are thinking about going beyond parkrun and training for 10ks and half marathons?
Initially I would continue to run your normal parkrun, but maybe try and add some efforts on the end, or an extra mile or two, after and getting your barcode scanned and having time to recover.
For example, in the past I have ran parkruns and then continued to run an interval session afterwards for an extra workout. It’s a good way of building endurance and fitness and you actually work really hard in both physical and mental elements of the session.
Many parkrunners find that after weeks and months of PBs and improvements, their running can start plateau. What would you suggest to mix things up?
Try touristing at another parkrun event one week, or enter a new running event you haven’t run before to mix it up. This should provide more stimulus and give you a new environment to help you freshen things up.
Always try to focus on experience over performance, as concentrating on times and speed alone can create stress. Instead try to enjoy the experience and seek out new ones to stop you getting in a rut. Running should be fun as you’re doing it by choice, so don’t be afraid to try something new and take the watch off sometimes.
And finally, for those people who want an insight into the training of an elite athlete, what’s your favourite training session and why?
I don’t have on specific session, but I like running reps on the track in the sunshine, but I also like a good hard run when you’re feeling strong and the weather is good.
In terms of pace and data, I like to run to feel and I use my watch as a guide and as a way of recording my training, as opposed to running to pace or heart rate. I always try to spread my effort evenly over the session and then pick up the pace in the last few reps or miles as it gives me some confidence and forces me to focus.
Clitheroe Castle parkrun in Ribble Valley, Lancashire, launched earlier this year. Paul Dudbridge takes us inside his home event… Our event was organised by Chris Donald, who started Clitheroe Castle running group. Under Chris’ guidance and leadership, Clitheroe Castle parkrun was formed. I am Co-Event Director with Chris and started parkrunning in Burnley. So…
My parkrun barcode identifies me as A1562206, my best friend who runs ahead of me calls me Paul, the two conscripts I drag and cajole around the course know me as “Dad”. However, after every 10 or 12 parkruns I volunteer, and on those days I am known to most parkrunners as “Shouty Bearded…