Sunday, July 10, 2011

Running Your First 10K

Last July 3 was the Yamaha Run for Heroes at the Bonifacio Global City.  On why it's called a run for heroes, I have absolutely no idea.  Any how, I got sponsored again and this time around, I challenged my ankles, knees, and legs on running the 10k.  Another step closer to the ultimate goal of running a full marathon.  (By the way, registration for the Singapore Marathon has already started but plane fares and the registration fee on its own is quite hefty so I might just have to postpone my plans for another year - we'll see...)  Technically, this wasn't my first 10k as I was able to accomplish the feat twice before at my training ground.  Read on the learn a few tips on how I managed to survive my first 10k.

Surviving my first 10k wasn't as easy as I hoped it would be.  The organizers chose a race route that had so many uphills!  Midway through the race I was losing energy fast and was beginning to question myself.  For a moment, I cursed the organizers for choosing such a route!  I also insisted that the race route was bogus and that it was definitely more than 10k!  In the end, I still survived and I'm very happy to have overcame all the obstacles - more mental than physical really.  Here are a few pointers on how I survived and improved my run:

  • Training beforehand and running the actual distance before race day.  It helped that my training route also had uphills.
  • Breathing deeply and learning to control it.  Try to synchronize it with your footwork.  Inhale on 4 steps and exhale on the next four.  Breathing deeply increases our oxygen intake which in turn allows more oxygen to go to our muscles so they won't tire easily.
  • Eating pasta the night before.  Eating a peanut butter jelly sandwich with banana on the race day itself.  I think these are referred to as slow burning food that can give you energy through out the race.
  • A big part of finishing any race relies on your mental strength.  Keep your mind distracted and condition it all through out the race.  Divide the race route into milestones - let's say every kilometer - and push yourself 1Km at at time.  In your mind, it is easier to run just another kilometer than to think of still running 9Km.  If you can put yourself in a trance, way better!  It's like being in a flow where in your mind wanders away from the physical strain of your body, entering a sort of dream-like state but still taking notice of the race route and the positions of the other runners around you.  
  • Keep your own pace.  With so many runners running with you, there's a tendency to follow the rhythm and pace of the other runners.  If you're not used to that pace then certainly, you will tire much faster.  Keep your focus and be mindful of your own pace.  And as hard as it may be,  shut down the other runners and try not to be distracted with all the other stuffs happening around you.    
  • Finally, run with a friend.  You can keep each other motivated.  Make sure though to choose a friend that's not a quitter!  While it's possible to motivate each other, it's also possible to be influenced and get demotivated with your running buddy.

Finished the race with a chip time of 1:06:40. (clap clap clap!)  Happy with the results considering all the uphills I had to conquer.  And I realized that I need to practice how to drink water while running!  Drinking can disrupt the breathing pattern which makes it hard to do.  I figured out a way where in I leave a mouthful of water in my mouth and slowly drink it while running.  However, it doesn't look so nice because my cheeks are puffed up from trying to hold the water.

This time I didn't see any of the Eigenmanns but Will Devaughn and Rovilson Fernandez were running with us.  They passed me just shortly after the 5.67K mark.  They're quite fast!  It helps to have long legs. hahaha (^o^)/

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