10 tricks to master your first 10km.
Running is becoming more and more popular! This is excellent news as it shows just how much people care about their health and developing healthy life habits. I’m often told, “Pamela: I’d love to run my first 10 k while still having fun and staying injury-free.” Here are some tips to get you going and keep you confident in reaching your goal!
1. The first and most important thing is to ask yourself why you want to do this in the first place. Find a reason that is dear to your heart. For example, running for your kids, for your mother who is fighting cancer, or simply because you are determined to integrate healthy habits into your daily life and get moving a bit. Take note of your WHY and always keep it in mind!
2. Scheduling. It’s extremely important to structure this challenge in a way that sets you up for success. The first mistake that people often tell me is, “I’ll run a short distance and progressively increase bit by bit.” My answer would be both yes and no. It’s like losing weight. We’re super motivated in the beginning, then come the obstacles: decrease in motivation, weight stagnation, slow results, etc. It’s the same thing when preparing to run that 10 k; you must be prepared for the unexpected! It’s only logical to increase the distance week by week, but listen to your body! Are you sore? Do you get back home dead tired to the point where you hate your runs? It would probably be a good idea to seek the help of a healthcare professional to get a better idea of what type of schedule would be best for you!
3. A shoe adapted to your own foot and stability that is also well suited to the proposed challenge. I’d say it’s the most controversial topic when it comes to running. Should I go for a lighter shoe? Four millilitres? A shoe with emphasis on pronation or supination? With so many choices and opinions, how do you choose?! Here’s a simple tip to help with the confusion: analyse your own stride, your own running style. Not only will this prevent injury, it will simplify things. I’d be glad to help you with this! Alternatively, I would recommend going to specialty facilities like The Sportium. Not only are these people truly passionate about running and shoes, they are very experienced and know what they’re talking about. It’s the greatest investment you can make!
4. Muscle development. Being a triathlete myself, I can attest to the fact that runners almost always prefer cardio, but strength training must become your best friend if you want results! Our muscles are made, amongst other things, to protect us, especially our precious joints! Whether it’s a 10 km run up the mountain with lots of eccentric movements (on the downhill), or a 10 k run on a hard surface that’s tough on the joints, it is very important to develop the abdominal, shoulder, and lumbar muscles (what is commonly referred to as the “core”). I personally opt for more functional movements like squats and lunges to maximize glute strength. A personalized strength program for your body’s morphology could be a great asset.
5. Recovery. Did you know that all the benefits of your workouts are gleaned during recovery? Yes, that means while you’re resting! The body is an incredible machine; take good care of it and it will thank you! I would encourage you to take a rest after a day of strength training in order to promote the regeneration of micro-fissures. For a runner, this rest should last anywhere from 24 to 48 hours, then you’re ready for your next workout!
6. Energy pathways. Now I’m going to explain something very important to you without going into to too much specific jargon. The body works with 3 different energy systems:
- The Anaerobic alactic system: Requires massive bursts of energy in very short periods of time. Instead of using oxygen, the body uses the energy reserves found directly in the muscle. For example, a 100 metre sprint.
- The Anaerobic lactic system: Requires a harder, more sustained effort. The body still does not use oxygen as fuel, but completely empties its’ muscle reserves. We use this system for 200, 400, 800, and 1500 metre runs.
- The Aerobic system: Requires a longer, more continuous effort. The body uses oxygen as fuel.
Now you can see why it’s important to vary your training in order to stimulate all energy channels and maximize your development. This is why I often suggest interval training as a viable means to developing better cardiovascular endurance. Not to mention, it’s a lot of fun and the time passes quickly!
7. Mental strength. It takes a hard head to be a runner! And if you don’t consider yourself as such, you must develop the mental strength for it! It will be necessary, as long distances (10 km) can get boring for some. To help with this, I always ask my clients to push 200m further when they’re tired. This gives them the mental strength to deal with obstacles moving forward!
8. Have fun. It’s the key to success. Whether it’s a low or high intensity interval, you need to make it fun for you while keeping that initial WHY in mind. You’ll see that learning to achieve and surpass your goals is extremely satisfying, trust me!
9. Your entourage. The support of those closest to you is important. Why? The answer is simple. To keep you motivated! There is no doubt that motivation can wane during your workouts, and that’s totally normal. Those closest to you will support your choices and will remind you of your progress and the reason why you started in the first place! This is crucial.
10. Nutrition. I certainly wont be the last to say this and I apologize in advance. Warning! This doesn’t mean you have to go crazy and completely cut out sugars, it just means that you have to be smart and not overdo it. You’ll notice a difference in your workouts. If your diet the night before or even directly before a run is mediocre, you will not perform to the same degree. If you’re aiming for a certain performance time, make sure you’re consuming the right amounts of proteins and carbs for that particular run. Give your body healthy calories and it will thank you with a good race time!
We hope that these tips will help you to successfully complete your first 10 k. Good luck!
Running specialist, personal trainer, and naturotherapist.
To learn more about Pamela’s services, we encourage you to check out her website: www.pamelaboucher.ca