10 Tips: Zero to 10k

This past weekend, I did the Sun Run for the first time in my life. Mike runs it every year, while I've joked that if I tried, I would wind up running walking to Starbucks for a break within the first kilometre. In high school, we had to do 12 minute runs, and my best (around a 200m course) was probably around 6 laps - an average person can walk faster than that. Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that I always thought I hated running. I'm still not entirely sure how Megan convinced me to sign up with her this year, but I'm sure glad she did! As it turns out, I've come to greatly enjoy running - or at least the sense of accomplishment afterwards.

Megan and me waiting for our wave to start

It felt amazing finishing the Sun Run and walking to the meeting area where the three people who have inspired me most were waiting (sorry for the long wait, guys haha). But seriously, thank you:
Thanks Megan for always challenging me to do more and do better!
Thanks Kathleen for inspiring me with your own achievements!
Thanks Mike for waking up early with me each week!

Big smiles all around after completion - my inspiration team

Quite a few people have asked me how I managed to achieve this, so I thought I'd post a few tips that have helped me. 10 tips - one for each kilometre:

  1. Set a schedule and stick to it. When I first started, Mike and I would force each other to wake up on Sunday mornings to run. No excuses... except that time it snowed.

  2. Don't give up. The first time I tried to run in January, I barely went 5 minutes before giving up (seriously, I thought I was going to die). The next time though, I could go for 10 minutes. I gradually added a few more minutes each time, until I could run for an hour non-stop.

  3. Give yourself a timed goal. Aiming for the Sun Run pushed me to actually train every week instead of sleeping in, and telling myself I'll do it later.

  4. Start slow... really really slow. I've found that if I go too fast at the beginning, I run out of energy quickly and feel discouraged easily. I've been able to run a lot farther by going very slow in the beginning, then speeding up when I'm feeling warmed up.

  5. Drink water. Staying hydrated is important.

  6. Don't compare yourself to others. Everyone is at a different level and it's easy to feel unaccomplished when seeing how fast/far others can go. Don't try to beat others, just beat your own goals.

  7. Grab a friend - the buddy system is great, whether it's for company during the runs or someone to cheer you on and keep you accountable.

  8. Celebrate personal bests. Keep track of your progress and do a little better every time.

  9. Wear good shoes. They can make a world of difference between pain and gain.

  10. Take breaks and reward yourself. Listen to your body and don't overdo it.

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