From short track to long track: How I accomplished my first 10K run and in under an hour

May 31, 2018

From short track to long track: How I managed to accomplish my first 10K run and in under an hour

I was never a big fan of running. The only time I ever enjoyed running was back in primary school on sports day (I don't even remember if that's how we called it back then). And, for some reasons, I always qualified to the finals for short track running and was able to pick up a medal or two for the event. And, for short track events, I meant like 50 metres, at most 100 metres. I was never able to build enough endurance for any long track events. Even when I got older, I couldn't run for a long period of time. It wasn't until I put on some weight that I decided to include some cardio exercises to my workout routine.

Starting on the Treadmill

I started stepping onto the treadmill at a local gym in my work building about 2 years ago. The experts say that you need some cardio to warm up before doing any weight training. So I ran the bare minimum, only 20 minutes at a pace of 5 miles/hr every time I was at the gym. It lasted for about half a year or so. My body had gotten used to it that it wasn't doing anything for me. Then, one day at work, I got an email invitation to join a running club. An email from a friendly colleague who I had never even spoken to.

Joining a Running Club

I decided to join with a few of my other colleagues who I went to the gym with. It was a huge step forward for me. And I find that my colleagues really played a big role in terms of giving me the motivation I needed. I knew I wasn't doing this alone. We strove. We struggled. We pushed each other. Just seeing them trying hard pushed me to not give up that easily as well. Every Wednesday, we'd go outside of our workplace and ran along the sidewalks. And I must say that running outdoors was very different than running on the treadmill. Elevation, pedestrian, weather, traffic, wind, humidity, road conditions etc. all could impact the performance. I only ran around the block for about 3 kms and I already felt like giving up. But of course, it eventually got better. I took fewer strides whenever I struggled. And I slowed down my pace to take a breather. The running club changed my life that Summer. Just as I had made some progress in my running, winter hit us. And I had to be back indoors on the machine.

From short track to long track: How I managed to accomplish my first 10K run and in under an hour

Gradually Increasing Duration and Speed

That didn't stop me from continuing my run though. After experiencing outdoor running, running on the treadmill got a lot easier and more comfortable to do. So, I up my speed to 5.5 miles/hr and ran for longer about 30 minutes. And even still, I wasn't feeling much progress to my body. Will kept saying that I wasn't running fast enough, that's why I wasn't seeing results. So, I did more research and watched more educational videos on fitness. The shocking news that I found out was that the body does not start burning any fat until after 30 minutes. So all my effort up until this point wasn't enough! I then, began to run at a faster pace at 6 miles/hr for a duration of 45 minutes.

From short track to long track: How I managed to accomplish my first 10K run and in under an hour

Run in Intervals

Let me tell you, it wasn't easy. I had to slow down for a 2-minute fast walking to catch up my breath before I could continue running again. I ran during my lunch break for 3 times a week consistently. And I increased my duration of running the faster pace from 15 minutes to 20 minutes non stop before I slowed down to 3.5 for fast walking. Eventually, I didn't even need to fast walk for 2 minutes anymore and could just reduce my running pace to 5.5 only if I needed to.

Use a Running App to Track Progress

Another thing that helped me continue on with my running journey is that I used a running app. The app I've been using is RunKeeper. Every time I finished a run, I'd take a picture of my workout summary and entered in my pace and duration on the app. When I ran outdoor, the GPS tracking would automatically track my pace and distance. Being able to see that I've been making progress motivated me even more. I love that accomplishing feeling whenever I was able to break a record. I was able to run a full 45 minutes at a pace of 6 miles/hr consistently non-stop on my good days. That was about 7 km on the treadmill.

Left: My record in May 2017. Right: My record in May 2018

Invest in the Right Gears 

Having the right gears was especially important for me to make my run more enjoyable. In the past, I was using wired earphones that connects to my ipod (ya a bit old school, I know) that I clipped onto my shirt. I had to tug in my cable inside my shirt so that it wouldn't get in my way when I run. So, when I decided to get more serious into running, I invested in better gears including a new pair of runners, a gym pouch for my phone and a bluetooth headset. My new pair of runners were so lightweight that I could hardly tell that they are there. My bluetooth headset made me more carefree without having to worry about the wired cable and ear plugs falling off my tiny ears when I run. All I needed to do is connect my phone to the headset and Spotify. Easy peasy!

Sports Bra // Winners, Pants // Winners, Runners // Nike, Gym Pouch // Winners (similar), Bluetooth Headset // Amazon

Participating in a 10K Fundraising Run

I originally had no intention to run a 10K because I thought the distance was so far fetch for me that I wouldn't be able to finish it without killing myself. But, 10K was my next goal based on my records so far on the RunKeeper app. So I gave it a shot and signed up to the annual Sporting Life 10K Run with Will together to raise funds for Camp Ooch. If I were to make this kind of effort, it better be for a good cause. But, I was glad that I joined because there were so many side benefits that I could never had imagined.

Ever since I signed up, I found myself pushing even harder at the gym, especially on the treadmill. I'd run around my neighbourhood whenever I could and noticed my endurance had already improved significantly from when I first started. I couldn't even get a good sleep the night before the race. I think I was either too excited or anxious. But I believe I was both mentally and physically ready.

From short track to long track: How I managed to accomplish my first 10K run and in under an hour

From short track to long track: How I accomplished my first 10K run and in under an hour
From short track to long track: How I accomplished my first 10K run and in under an hour

Towards the Finish Line Like a Champ

Over 19,000 participants joined the race that morning to help send kids affected by cancer to Camp Ooch. Even though, the race was said to be Canada's easiest and one of the fastest 10K course, I made sure I set myself 2 goals to achieve at this race. One goal was to complete the race without stopping or walking. Another goal was to complete it in under an hour. I was feeling pumped up as I ran along Yonge Street with fellow racers, where the volunteers and even the police officers were there to cheer you on. Although I was running at my treadmill pace, passing other racers who were ahead of me was something I could never get from running on a machine. The downhill course definitely helped with my pace and made the run easier. I even managed to speed up at the last 100 metres and sprinted towards the finish line. Completing something that you've never achieved before was the greatest feeling in the world! I made it through without stopping and finished the race under my target time at 58:54! 

From short track to long track: How I managed to accomplish my first 10K run and in under an hour

From short track to long track: How I managed to accomplish my first 10K run and in under an hour

No words could describe how amazing I felt after I completed the race. I felt energized, rejuvenated and fantastic that I achieved my 2 goals all while doing for a good cause. I actually wanted to run again and improve on my time next year.

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About Me

About [span]me[/span]
Hello, my name is Lorita. This is a journal of my personal style, travel adventures, food excursions, recipe experiments, DIY tutorials and every little thing in life.