Being a surgeon, I have a reasonably busy job that involves a lot of walking and standing on a regular basis. My phone’s step count was regularly clocking 6-7k just by covering my normal duties at work, due to the sheer size of the hospital. Outside of work, although I played regular badminton to keep fit, I was not athletic by any standards. I even struggled to keep up with my 3 year old son due to poor stamina. When the event was announced few months ago, I decided to enrol. I was not sure if I had it in me to complete the course, but the only way to find out was to be in it! Having done it successfully, I hope I can motivate some more people by sharing my account.
Having been more of a park jogger, I was apprehensive about formally preparing for a run. Some of my friends, and online self help groups came to the rescue. The event organisers themselves run a very good site. Additionally, all major footwear brands also have the information like training charts available on their website. Essentially, one can divide the preparation in following headings:
1. Kit: Most important part, which I initially ignored. It is important to have comfortable footwear. Existing trainers might do, but make sure it is not very old so that the sole still remains flexibie. Otherwise the feet can get tired too easily and it can also lead to cramps. This can put you off training very early. Invest in a good trainers, and there are plenty of options in any sports shop. Wear comfortable clothing, and use the same kit in the sessions leading upto the race.
2. Diet: It sounds obvious, but improve the dietary habits. Try to eat early, reduce fats in diet and increase protein component. I cut down eating out and processed food by almost half. Again, dietary advice is easily available on many websites. Do not get too bogged down with the details (like slow releasing carb etc) for 10k, it is really the longer runs where the diet plays a more important role. I found that minor adjustments to my normal diet were enough; basically just be sensible about what I ate!
3. Apps: Both android and apple phones have good software to detail your energy usage, and have handy tips on how to train. However, lot of free apps are available online, I went for Strava (https://www.strava.com), which stores all the training data, and also of peers who have joined it. This can occasionally be the source of extra motivation for training.
4. Practice: It can seem quite daunting when you start out. It is difficult initially to take time out of a busy schedule. I aimed to do at least 2 runs every week, and started preparing about 3 months before the event. First few runs were more about improving stamina, and I found it was better to stick to easy pace. once I got comfortable doing 5k consistently, I increased it gradually during each session. I managed my first 10K around 3 weeks before the event and repeated this every week leading upto the event. In my opinion, when starting out, the main aim should be to finish the race, rather than trying to break time targets. I also found it helpful to run on roads or park rather than in a gym, but am aware that some people preferred it the other way round. Trying different routes breaks the monotony of training, and exposes muscles to different gradients of slope, which can be quite helpful on the actual day.
ON THE DAY:
The race number and other information is sent by post about 2 weeks before starting. The organisers have an excellent website and provide a handy checklist. There are numerous road closures and it is best to use public transport. It is important to keep oneself well hydrated, and a couple of protein bars are quite helpful during the race. The atmosphere is electric, and there are supporters cheering all along the way, which makes it a memorable occasion!!
I hope my account will enthuse a few snails to wake out of their slumber and take a step towards fitness. Good luck!!