5 Real-Talk Tips to Survive Your First 10K
So, you want to be a runner, eh? I never had any desire to run. In fact, I was one of those people who would drive by runners and make fun of them to myself. How is that fun? Where are they running? WHY? But secretly, I was a little jealous because I never thought I could be them.
Seven weeks ago I decided to test myself and sign up for my first 10K. To be honest, I didn't realize how far that really is and when it finally became clear, I was overwhelmed and discouraged.
Somehow, after sweat (LOTS!), blood (not really) and tears (a couple...), I did it in 58 minutes and 26 seconds (under the average time of 1:03:07). Impressed? Well, you can do it too! Here are some real talk tips to get you started.
1. Look the part
When I started my running challenge, I wasn't really focused on how I looked and didn't really think how I dressed would make a difference. I wore ratty old shorts and T-shirts and an old beat-up pair of sneakers. After about a week, I decided it might be a good idea to invest in some appropriate gear. My two favourite pieces are the Nike Flynit Lunar2s and a pair of men's tights. The shoes are lightweight and resilient and the tights act like a second skin that keep me warm overall--but cool in the right places (and as an added bonus, makes me feel like a superhero!). If you look good, you feel good. I was comfortable and confident, and while at first, I felt like I was dressed up in costume as a marathon runner, I quickly began to realize the positive effects the gear was having on my results.
When I go running, I always like to have some sort of light at the end of the tunnel. It typically involves ending my workout at an LCBO, burrito joint, or rewarding myself with one of my favourite TV shows. Having an incentive will propel you and keep you motivated during those nightmare moments when you just want to give up. Set goals and stick to them--or else! Have that new episode of Games of Thrones PVR'd? Well, if you want to watch it that bad--you'll run like King Joffrey is after you! Want to see who got voted off on Survivor? Better hurry up (hopefully, it's Tony!). Did your Tinder crush send you a message? Well, if you want to reply and send back a heart face emoji, the run isn't going to just finish itself, will it? It sounds extreme, but it worked for me.
3. Get a running app
Using an app when you're just getting started is an absolute must. For my own training, the Nike+ running app has been an incredible tool. It helps you monitor your development by measuring your time, distance, pace, and how many calories you've burned. You feel amazingly accomplished when you finish a run and see your route, and it lets you share your results on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Why run if you can't brag about it? Each time you use the app to run, it adds to your total distance and as the number rises, so does your overall stamina. It's almost like having Jillian Michaels in your pocket but without the crazy screaming (although there is a sweet voice that updates you on your progress during your jog). There are a number of other good running apps out there, like Couch to 10K and RunKeeper. Couch to 10K uses interval training to build up your endurance, and rewards you with accomplishment badges as you work towards your goal. Unfortunately, unlike the Nike + app, it isn't free and will set you back $4.
4. Find a run crush
One of the best decisions I made was joining a running club. Not only does running with a group make you feel like you can't stop or you'll hold everyone back, but it also offers you the chance to mix and mingle with some cool, athletic, and attractive people. Runners are hot! Set your sights on that cute guy or girl in front of you and chase after them! It inspires you to keep up and takes your mind off the excruciating pains in your lungs and legs. There hasn't been a romantic comedy centered around running yet--but there should be, and it should star Rachel McAdams and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
I'm pretty sure Beyoncé can in some way factor into all facets of your life, and running is no different. Yes, music is a must when hitting the ground running , but I've found the sweet sounds of Beyoncé have really helped me go that extra mile....err kilometre. Survivor pumps me up, I race to reach the "SURFBODT" part in Drunk in Love and of course, on repeat is her most relatable running song, Lose my Breath, for obvious reasons. For that last stretch, I recommend Halo, because it's emotional and feels triumphant when you cross the finish line.
BONUS TIP: Don't be afraid to run in the rain! It may look unappealing but trust me--there's something exhilarating about getting drenched while pushing yourself to your limits.
Daniel Klimitz is a writer and TV producer living in Toronto. He is passionate about reality TV, fashion, the internet, and anything related to youth culture. He was a senior story producer on the inaugural season of Big Brother Canada and currently works full-time as a producer on Entertainment Tonight Canada. To learn more about Daniel, follow him on Twitter and Instagram.
Image credits: Getty Images. Nike+ Queen West Run Club