One day, I woke up and decided to run a 10k race. Ignoring the fact that I had resented running for pretty much my entire life, I trotted into work on a wave of excitement, loudly informed everyone of my new life direction, and roped my colleague into signing up for The Green Run with me. Poor thing, I think she was still half asleep.
And boy has it been a journey – a 10 stage journey to be precise. There have been running sessions and lifestyle revelations, alongside some very well deserved retail therapy. In the spirit of sharing, I thought it helpful to offer some insight on how I made it to the finish line – with the hope of inspiring you to sign up for a 10k yourself. So ready, set, go …
1. Set Your Goal
Motivation to get out and exercise increases markedly when you have signed up and paid for a race. With a non-negotiable date in your diary and $200 less in your wallet, the temptation to delay your training sessions disappears. Maybe I’m late to the game, but I feel like this is a revelation worth noting.
Read more! Get active with our Guide to Hiking and Running Races in Hong Kong.
2. Find a Running Partner
Whether you join a running club or gather together your friends, transforming your workout into a fun, sociable occasion is an easy thing to do. Suddenly, heading to the track on a Friday night isn’t a struggle because you’re in good company. Friends that run at similar speeds are also fantastic for pacing each other around the track. It’s a win-win.
3. Track your Distance
If, like me, you’ve never run a 10k before, you’ll have no idea how long it will take or what it feels like. Either set yourself a goal or keep track of your laps during each training session to see how you are progressing. Our training track of choice was Causeway Bay Sports Ground, next to Hong Kong Central Library. Here, two and a half laps equate to 1k (or there about), making it easy to clock our mileage and plan how many laps our next workout should be.
4. Perfect Your Technique
Our lovely friend Mike Morton of MorSports Coaching gave us two golden pieces of advice. Firstly, try to run on the balls of your feet to reduce the impact on your knees, joints, and spine. Secondly, ditch the high, jogging arm position. When tackling a long distance race, such as The Green Run, it’s better to rest your arms at waist level and opt for a slight side-to-side, circular movement. This reduces aching biceps while helping you keep momentum.
5. Reward Yourself
Well, it wouldn’t be any fun without a treat or two. Whether you’re longing for some new headphones, or fancy sprucing up your workout wardrobe, treating yourself to a fitness-related gift is a surefire way to get you excited for your next training session. Need some inspiration? Browse our Best Workout Wear for Women (don’t worry guys, we’re working on something for you too!)
6. Vary Your Workouts
When training for a race, running is not the only workout option. Dabble with yoga, swing a racket – basically, keep it fresh. My choice was boot camp in the park. Lead by the ab-fab Urban Active boys, the weekly Max Hiit workout is worth every single dollar of the bargain $20 fee. Planking, press-ups, squats, burpees, waddling like a duck – you name it, we did it. After 90 minutes of exciting exercises, I looked like a blueberry. However, all strengthening of muscles and building of stamina is going to help you on the day – 10k here I come.
Read more! Shake up your exercise regime with 8 Wacky Workouts.
7. Stretch Correctly
After an intense workout, stretch more than you think is necessary. And a bit more. My body wasn’t functioning at all after boot camp. I blame the duck-walking marathon. Mundane, daily activities took on an unprecedented level of difficulty so I vowed to stretch fully and correctly after all workouts for the rest of my days.
8. Fuel Your Workout
My muscles recovered with the help of a banana or two (a superfood for aching muscles, so it seems), and it was back to the track we went. This time – with an espresso in hand. You see, after a long day at the office, the thought of a run might not fill you with glee. Yet, with a caffeine kick you’re sprinting around the track like a whippet – yes, we did research whether this was a sensible idea and many fitness publications and experiments actually recommend it.
9. Rest Before the Race
The day or two before the race, that is. Our Localiiz gym bunny Steph shot down our excited plans to run 10k the night before, instead suggesting two 5k sessions in the three days preceding the big event. She did it for the sake of our muscles, and we thank her for that. Pre-race recovery is key.
10. Celebrate Your Achievement
Pop the corks, we did it! With the exciting atmosphere and the momentum of the crowds carrying us along, we beat our training times and whipped across the line in an hour. Upon completion, we were presented with a small fern and a green balloon hat – well, it was The Green Run after all, and promptly fell asleep on the MTR. Mission accomplished.
Finally … Repeat Cycle
Admittedly, after our 10k I marched straight to a brunch and inhaled a well deserved plate of Eggs Benedict. However, it’s important to stay on the wagon after the celebrations, so come Monday morning, when I was back in the office, I began to repeat the cycle. I have successfully whipped the office into a frenzy, and you will be seeing the Localiiz team running by on August 27, for the first instalment of the AVOHK Series. Wish us luck!
Read more! Eat clean with Hong Kong’s Ultimate Healthy Eating Guide.