With Nike Women’s 10K race fast approaching on the 21st June, I (surprisingly) didn’t wait too long to hit the ground running, so to say, by booking myself into my first Nike+ Running Club where likeminded people get together at Nike stores across London and select their 5, 7 or 10k target for the evening. 31 minute and -370kcal later I was high on endorphins and loaded with learnings and observations about running that I would like to share with you now in a shape and form of 10K running tips.
- First things first, you need to know that you can and will do better than you think! I thought I would struggle to run towards the end of the street but had 5K under my belt before I knew it. So if you put the running gear on and walked/ran out of your home to start with, you are already on track to hit that 1ok running mark. So believe in yourself and get into the training and running routine.
- Wear the right gear. I have been a big Nike fan as long as I remember myself, so grabbing a pair of Nike trainers for my runs for me is a no-brainer. The designs are mind-blowing, too, so by choosing Nike you are going for both smart (technological innovation is incredible) and beautiful gear. I have been running in Nike Free 5.0 and happy with the trainers’ performance.
- Running with other people, apart from being LOTS of fun (from now on I won’t accept moaning from friends that it’s hard to meet people in London!), helps you run for longer and successfully complete the run. Whether you can chat on the go or simply observe and run silently, you will see that there are people faster than you, and there are people slower than you and still – all of you run together. And complete the run together. So go ahead check Nike+ Running Club schedule and join the running flock.
- Find the running pace that is right for you. Rory Knight, Nike Master Trainer and ambassador, says that you should go with it and listen to the rhythm of your body: “The more you run, the better you will become at establishing your comfortable pace. Apps such as Nike+ Running can be a great help as they provide you with invaluable feedback such as your average pace. They can be a great barometer of progress too and you will see your pace quicken & distances increase as you become a more proficient runner”.
- Remember to breathe. I heard previously that one should focus on their breathing and breath in three times and breath out two. Rory believes that “you should try & breathe as naturally as possible so that you can focus on the road ahead”.
- Mind the posture. Nike Master Trainers recommend that you should always try and retain an upright postural alignment with your chest up and eyes forward. Shoulders should be relaxed down and drawn away from the ears with a compact arm drive present. Running is about efficiency – try and remain as efficient as possible so that you are not unnecessarily expending energy. How you land your foot varies from person to person. Some land at the front of the foot (forefoot strikers), some have a more neutral, flat landing (mid foot striker) & some land on the heel (heel strikers). Your running style can be compared to your fingerprint – unique to the individual.
- Tune in. I’ve heard a few people saying that it’s all in your head. When you run for longer distances, distract yourself the way that works for you and keep going. Running outside is a great way to add variety to your runs (and hence – run longer) – if you don’t mind busy pedestrian streets (depending on your route), passing by restaurants teasing you with the smell of food and (again, route-dependant) breathing in an out London’s polluted air. For me personally music is a huge motivator. In Nike+ Running App you can run to the music from your playlist or take advantage of Nike’s personalised Spotify playlist created for Women’s 10K run specifically.
- If you get a stitch… As unpleasant as it is, it happens to the best of us. Do not get discouraged if you get it. There is a trick that Rory recommends you try: “It is not completely known why but stopping your run and touching your toes can help. Another trick is to apply pressure to the area where you have the stitch. A common reason why people get a stitch is eating too soon before a run – prevention is always better than cure!
- Hydrate. If you are running for more than half an hour then taking a small water bottle with you is a great idea. “If you are dehydrated by just 1% then it could affect your performance by up to 10%” – says Rory.
- Last but not least – when in doubt (that is when you are about to give up) – think about the way you will feel after the run. After my first Nike 5k run I felt like I had wings. I was literally pumping with endorphins, with happiness overflowing. When I chatted to my new running friend Emily from USA (whom I met at my Nike run in Covent Garden) as well as the fellow bloggers Polly and Hannah shed some light about their running experience, every run is a challenge: you might have dozens of reasons not to run and your mind and body will attempt to sabotage your progress, but the way the completed run will make you feel is worth the effort!
Added bonus: having completed a run with Nike+ Running Club I learnt that runners receive 10% discount at the store on the day of the run and a bottle of Glaceau SmartWater at the end of the run. You also receive a stamp on a special Nike card each time you run, with 10 stamps converting into a free T-shirt. Happiness and your overall improved fitness guaranteed. Oh, and did I mention that these runs are free? You got it!
What are your 10K running tips? Share your thoughts and experience in the comments, I am looking forward to hearing from you!