Continuing with the Parkrun theme, yesterday morning I attended Hampstead Heath along with 448 other runners. It was an amazing day for running - beautiful sunny sky, warm but not too hot, and the Heath is such a beautiful place to be whatever the occasion.

My previous best time on this particular course was 31:37. Early in the run, I knew I was going faster that usual, and was just hoping I could keep the pace up. Many times my body was telling me to slow down, particularly on the long uphill sections, but I knew that I needed to push through the discomfort and try to go as fast as possible.

This last point is important - it’s tempting to ease off when things get more difficult, but there was no physical reason why I needed to (pushing through discomfort is one thing - pushing through pain and causing damage is not a good idea). I’m suffering no ill effects from the run and know growth in all its forms comes when we are outside of our comfort zone.

I knew when I finished I’d posted my best time, but had to wait for the official result to come through to see exactly what it would be. I managed to master those hills in 29:57, over a minute and a half better than my previous best, and just under that magic 30 minute mark!

If I’d slowed down or stopped even for a couple of seconds, I would have been disappointed in myself not to have broken that barrier. As such, it’s spurred me on to do even better next time, with a goal to get under the 25 minute mark by the end of the year. Although there will come a point when I can’t make such impressive gains and my speed starts to level off, I’ve confidence in myself to achieve that target much sooner.