Backyard Parkrun – the lockdown 5km

Backyard Parkrun – the lockdown 5km

1st May 2020 2 By Biggsy
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Last Updated on 24th July 2020

Here in the UK we’re currently still in lockdown. But is your initial enthusiasm from that first week back in March beginning to wane? You know when you attended that first Joe Wicks PE class, set up your first Zoom “chit chat” with friends and took part in your first online quiz? Has your “get up and go” literally “got up and gone”?

Well something that’s still an option and can be completed within the confines of your own home is the ‘lockdown 5km’. Even better if you can start it off at 9 on a Saturday morning – the official Parkrun UK start time in more normal times.

What’s the backyard lockdown 5km then?

Something that might detract from the boredom and get you motivated again is the #backyard5km, well that’s the hashtag I’ve decided to give it anyway. Current UK Government guidelines stipulate that we can take:

“One form of exercise a day – for example, a run, walk or cycle – alone or with members of their household.”

The British Government

When I didn’t really know what we were allowed to do I took the Government advice completely to heart but took it one step further. Could I have the impetus to commit to a 5km run in my own back yard?

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The answer was a resounding yes! Buoyed by the uncertainty and strangeness of “lockdown”, when none of us really knew what it fully entailed, we decided to walk up and down our 44m long garden as many times as it would take to complete 5km. Theoretically that was going to be 113 lengths but my smartphone’s tracking app Strava thought otherwise.

garden 5km finish selfie
I now know my back garden a lot better than before!

How do you go about it?

Quite simply if you are fortunate enough to have a long garden, or even a garden at all … set off Strava on your smartphone or Garmin watch and walk/run 5km up and down it? Or if you have a smaller square garden, around it? Or it’s a balcony then backwards and forwards along it?

Of course it is a complete privilege to have the outside space to do this. A lot of people might only have a juliet balcony … or in a lot of cases not even that.

One benefit of running up and down your own back garden is that it’s likely to be on the flat side. There’s a slight dip in our garden from end-to-end but not enough for it to register on Strava as an actual ‘Elevation Gain’. But there was enough of a slope to create a little saw-tooth pattern in the elevation graph.

Elevation line graph of my backyard 5km

My second lockdown 5km attempt

On my second attempt Strava thought I was snooping around my neighbour’s garden. I wasn’t. That’s the accuracy of GPS for you. On each of my two runs the number of laps we had to do was noticeably different. This second attempt was 159 lengths, compared to far less for my first attempt, but both still more than the 113 lengths they technically should have been. Still – it meant I was able to exercise for a little longer I guess.

Strava backyard 5km aerial view
Snooping around the neighbour’s back garden

And for when 5km isn’t quite enough?

At the start of their lockdown one energetic chap in France ran a marathon along his 7m wide balcony.

Closer to home in the UK my friend (Instagrams’s Realrhinodave) ran an actual marathon around his back garden. This was on the same day he should have been attempting the postponed London Marathon. His epic effort was for the #savetherhino campaign and he’s still accepting donations.

Here he is finishing the epic effort in this Facebook video thanks to Hitchin Running Club.

Realrhinodave during his backyard marathon
Realrhinodave at some point during his 26.2 miles!

Failing all that you can exercise indoors

If you’d rather be indoors, or don’t have the good fortune to have any outside space that’s where ‘P.E with Joe‘ can help out. Here’s the video for his first session back on Monday 23rd March. It really captured the public’s imagination and got households all exercising with each other at the same time.

In conclusion …

… consider having a run around your back garden if you’re able to. We all know we can just go for a daily walk/run outside but see as it as a nice little challenge. Can you complete a ‘Parkrun’ in your own back yard? It’s something to help pass the time after all.

While you’re still here how about checking out all my other running related posts 🙂

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