The slow runner’s guide to surviving a 10k, and why you should try it

I did it! I ran the London Vitality 10k! I’m pretty amazed that I managed to run the whole way without stopping, albeit slowly. My time was 1 hour and 16 minutes, which is slightly faster than the time I’d predicted for myself. It’s amazing to be successful at doing something that you never thought you could do.

The tips I shared before the race, about how to deal with your nerves and get ready to race, definitely helped me on the day. A few other prep things helped as well:

  • I woke up extra early so I didn’t have to rush getting ready. I faffed around the house packing my bag for the day, and made myself a scrambled egg muffin for a good protein and carb-rich breakfast.
  • I turned up at the race venue early too.
  • I waited at the start so that I was in the front of my start wave. It was fun being at the front, plus I didn’t have to worry about passing people – they all had to pass me instead!

During the race, I had a few strategies to keep me going:

  • I decided not to wear headphones and instead was mindful of my surroundings. It was a wonderful atmosphere, running among London landmarks, and there were so many people cheering, lining nearly the entire length of the course. Strangers cheering you on is a great motivator!
  • My main rule for myself was to just keep running. I knew if I stopped and walked a bit, it would destroy my mojo.
  • I repeated mantras in my head when it got tough: “Just keep running” and “Slow and steady wins the race” were what worked for me.
  • I made sure to get water when it was offered, which I’m sure helped keep me from keeling over.

The finisher’s t-shirt and the rather attractive medal were a nice part of completing the 10k. But the thing that made the experience amazing was the way I proved to myself that I could persevere with something I found very difficult.

In the days after the race, I’ve been finding it easier to make better choices for myself in daily life, because I’ve proven to myself that I have willpower.

Should I sit and have a coffee or clean the house? I ran a 10k! House cleaning presents no challenge to me!

Not to say there aren’t times when coffee would be a better choice. I’m just saying that reminding myself of what I can achieve when I put my mind to something, helps motivate me to do the work I need to do.

You might think that running is not for you. But I’m here to tell you that unless your GP has told you not to, it’s worth at least giving it a try. A few years ago, I would have said that I can’t run. Hated it. Said my big boobs would give me a black eye and no sports bra was up to the job. Said I had weak ankles. But now look what I’ve done!

So please forgive this somewhat NOT humble bragging post, but I am usually better at noticing my shortcomings than celebrating my achievements. I hope that my small triumph will inspire you to have a go at something that scares you, and then celebrate when you succeed.

I ran the London Vitality 10k in support of The Children’s Society. They waived the entry fee in return for my blogging, but I still fundraised £280 to support their work helping vulnerable children in the UK. My JustGiving page is still active if anyone else would like to donate.

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6 thoughts on “The slow runner’s guide to surviving a 10k, and why you should try it

  1. Brilliant! Well done, you! I’m finding this post very inspirational – I’ve just completed C25K and I’m starting the 5k to 10k progamme tomorrow. I’ve had a sneak peek at the first run and weirdly, I’m looking forward to it! I’m looking forward to getting to the point where I can proudly say that I can run 10k 🙂

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