14 thoughts on how to run 14 km and not die

I was Once a Runner. 

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Many moons ago. I would still consider myself a dabbler, once maybe twice a week 5 k - er. In my running zenith I was actually pretty decent. I ran a marathon in 3 hours and 53 minutes - tying my Dad's one and only marathon time, I was 18 and he was 26 - but he did run the last 12 km with me which, as any long distance runner can attest - was majorly helpful. At the end of that race we both decided it was pretty cool we had the exact same time (he was 26 seconds faster!) and I've totally checked the marathon box with zero intentions of doing another one ever again!

The big annual running event here in Sydney, Australia is called the City 2 Surf. It starts in town and runs right to where I'm living on Bondi Beach. My friend Jules had told me about it and after running a total of 4 km the month of June while travelling I decided it would be the perfect kick in the bum to sign up and get a goal going! 

The last time I ran for "time" was four years ago in the Toronto Sporting Life 10k. My goal was to finish in under 40 minutes and I crossed the line at 41 and change but decided right then and there that was just great! I am excited to run this time but I have zero delusional dreams of grandeur. My simple goal is this : run the entire time, and not die.

While I'm at writing myself a mini plan I thought it would be fun to write down here a few things down to remind myself how this is done!

1. Get off the treadmill. Treadmill running is great for general fitness but if you're running outside on roads it is best to train outside on roads. The muscle mechanisms are different. When you're running on a treadmill you don't have to pull the ground forward - it moves beneath you. I also find treadmills to be mentally easier, I can just tune out and go until the machine says stop. Get outside (if you can!) and train your brain and your bod to move together.

2. Set a general realistic plan, be flexible but overall stick with it. I really don't ascribe to the "run 7 km on Monday, run 4 km on Tuesday ..." type of plans. More often than not I don't know how a workout or run is going to go until I'm in it. I've got to jiggle with it and wiggle with it in the moment.  

My rough training guide outline: 
Run 4x / week
Run at least one long run over 10km / week
Run at least one "tempo" run - something fast and short
Run at least one "interval" run - 1 km RUN, 1 km JOG x 4
And one run just to shake my legs out or if I'm feeling good add in one more of the above.

3. Do not go too hard/fast out of the gates. I am totally talking from personal experience here! Running every single day - or doubling your mileage, going from running 4-5 km to suddenly running a 10 km is not smart and will likely just lead to injury. Tell that to my IT band, but it already knows because that is exactly what I did to it! Luckily I've got friends with physio needles that were happy to poke me. 

4. Train in the shoes you're going to run in. Duh. Again totally not speaking from personal experience. Hello blisters. 

5. Music - a lot of races now will let you wear music but check and see. If you're going to run with music make a great playlist. If you can't then maybe train a few runs without music to get used to what that's like.

6. Run your own run. Make it clear from the start if you are with a pack that you're going to do your own thing. That might be dropping back or going ahead but it is really tough to run at the same pace as your friends for a whole race. 

7. Do not start out too quickly. This is the classic kiss of death. Especially in a longer distance event : pace yourself. This run really won't "start" in my mind until 8 km in. 

8. Carb loading is a thing but not an eat all-the-things thing! You are running for one - not 10! I actually gained weight training for the marathon - but I had about a pint of ice cream every single day. Yes, you will be burning more calories, and likely be a lot more hungry. But more veggies and water are a good solution too! Best to chat with a sports nutritionist to get a plan that will be best for your bod!

9. Select the race category group that is appropriate for you. If you know you're going to push a stroller/jog do not join the runners group unless you really want to make no new friends. 

10. Also with shoes - wear your race outfit on at least one run. And if the budget allows it is always nice to get a new sports bra or entire outfit to remember a race in!

11. Remember this is all for fun! Unless your best friend starts to pass you, then this is all for war.

12. Use the washroom facilities beforehand. Twice.

13. Double knot your shoe laces.

14. Decide to join a choir next time! Just kidding, running is so fun!

Bottom Line :

Set a goal, make a plan, stick to it but wiggle with it, and run your own run! 

Christie Preston