It’s Friday (finally), and you know what that means;
It’s time to talk fitness. But not just any fitness – particularly RUNNING.
Full disclosure: I have never referred to myself as a “runner”. I grew up playing various sports, which obviously required some running here and there. But I’ve never ran competitively… until last Sunday.
This past Mother’s Day, I ran in the Sporting Life 10K Race. This race has taken place in Toronto for a number of years, and it gives participants the opportunity to run or walk 10 kilometers in support of Camp Ooch, a Canadian summer camp that serves children with cancer.
I decided to run alongside two girlfriends, and the experience left me with happy memories, aches and pains, and a few key take-aways that could benefit anyone who’s preparing to start running competitively.
Here are my tips:
I can confidently say I didn’t train like I should have. This isn’t to say I never ran beforehand; I hopped on a treadmill every now and then to jog or sprint. But I can confirm that running 5km every two weeks does not prepare the body for running 10km in one session. By the seventh kilometre of the race, my whole left side from my hip down felt like it was going to fall off. To minimize the side effects of improper training, increase your running distance gradually. Your joints will thank you.
Wear proper shoes
Apparently, the shoes you wear are important (duh). My shoes didn’t provide enough support along the outside of my foot, and this was a large contributor to the pain I felt along the outside of my left knee. Do the words “IT Band Syndrome” sound familiar? This is an extremely common overuse injury, and wearing proper shoes can be one way to protect yourself from it.
Choose your playlist carefully
As I arrived at the starting line, panic set in as I realized that I had absolutely no idea what playlist I was going to run to. Since everyone’s taste is different, my best piece of advice is this: choose music that motivates you, and choose it before you line up at the starting line. I chose a rap/hip hop playlist because I knew it was going to make me feel tough, badass, and unstoppable, and I have no regrets.
Know the route
I thought I knew where the finish line was, but I never made the effort to double-check. This is where I went wrong. I was under the impression that the run ended further away than it did, so you could imagine how surprised I was when I saw the finish line with saved-up energy left to spend. If I took the time to 100% know where the finish line was, I could have scored a better time.
Don’t hold back at the start
This tip may contradict the famous “pace yourself and don’t burn yourself out” concept, but contradicting this concept totally worked for me. Going into the race, I knew my competitive self; I knew that I’m one of those people who reeeeeaaaaaally hates to lose or get passed. So I figured that if I started the race feeling fast and on a high note, I’d do everything in my power to keep my pace as quick as possible so that I wouldn’t lose momentum. Here’s how I see it: if I start off strong at the beginning, then I’m feeling fast, gaining confidence, and I’ve already committed to pushing myself for the rest of the race. Plus, the more distance you can create between you and those behind you, the harder it is for the stragglers to catch up.
So there you have it! What tips do you have for running competitively? Share in the comments below!
Until next time, stay fit and stay fabulous.