I went on my first Park Run in September 2018 with the goal of running the whole way around. I did, but it took me 39 minutes. I've been averaging about one Park Run every 3 weeks since then and my time is now around 29 minutes. I've been doing the odd another run, but nothing that would constitute a fixed training plan. I was already reasonably fit as I do HIIT and resistance training and walk and cycle everywhere, which obviously helped.
However, I'm concerned that I may have unknowingly been pushing things much too hard. I got a smartwatch for Christmas and was excited to use it for my first Park Run of the year. I looked at the analysis on Strava after I got home and was horrified that my heart rate had AVERAGED at pretty much my max heart rate of 180 and had even peaked at 190. I'm a 39, nearly 40-year-old woman.
Without the heart rate monitor I would never have known. I didn't feel out of breath. It was challenging and I pushed myself, but it felt very manageable. I even ran another 2.5km home from the park.
Should I drop my pace and make sure that I keep my heart rate at a much slower rate? I went for a trial run the other day and kept my heart rate around 155, but I was barely going above walking pace. I think I was going at about 9mins per km.
Obviously, I don't want to endanger myself by pushing myself too hard, but equally I don't want to be overly cautious. Am I just a lot less fit than I thought I was? I'm not experienced enough with running to know the best course of action.
Many thanks for your help!