Ready, Set, Go: Pace Bunnies Share Running Tips for Your First 10k

The 10k was my gateway drug into running long distances. When I did my first one back in 2011, I wore a fleece-lined winter zip-up (in May!) and an analog dress watch (who needs splits anyway?). Needless to say, I had no idea what I was doing out on that course, but as soon as I crossed my first finish line, I knew I’d be back for more.

To mark Global Running Day (today!), we asked a few of the pace bunnies for the upcoming Toronto Waterfront 10k—drafted by the race’s title sponsor, Lululemon, to help runners nail their goal times—to share their wisdom for beginners. Look for them at the start line on June 16!

Elisa Tran

Run crew: Lululemon Cumberland in Toronto

How long have you been running, and how did you get into it? “I’ve been an avid runner since 2014. I started running with the McGill Olympic Track Club in Montreal because I wanted to spend more time with a friend. I was running mid-distances on the track and switched over to road races during the cross-country season. I’ve enjoyed running ever since!”

What *facepalm* rookie mistake do you remember making when you ran your very first 10k? “I ran too much, too fast, too soon and injured my lower back.”

What practical tip/words of wisdom would you give to someone racing their first 10k? “Go for quality over quantity. One focused speed workout is more beneficial than a few mediocre runs.”

Moe Bsat

Run crew: Parkdale Roadrunners in Toronto

How long have you been running, and how did you get into it? “I’ve been running for nine years. I started in my last year of university. I had run when I was younger, but I really started when I was going through a rut in a previous relationship and had gained some weight. I read a book, Born to Run, and was inspired by the Tarahumara tribe depicted in it. I was so taken by the tribe’s subscription to the discipline of running that I wanted to personally feel what that was like.”

What *facepalm* rookie mistake do you remember making when you ran your very first 10k? “My very first race ever was a half-marathon and I didn’t finish. It was really hot and I didn’t take in enough fluids the days leading up to the race, before the race and during the race! It was an absolute disaster and I struggled horribly from the start.”

What practical tip/words of wisdom would you give to someone racing their first 10k? “A 10k is short enough that you will finish, but long enough that it will threaten to break you mentally. You have to have something to hold onto mentally to keep you pushing; whether it’s a mantra or visualization, practice something positive that your mind can focus on when things start to get dark during the race. Your mind will get you to your goal.”

Dave Panici

Run crew: Pace & Mind in Toronto

How long have you been running, and how did you get into it? “I’ve been running for seven years now. During university I was a varsity soccer player, and as I transitioned into the workplace I felt like I was missing an element of myself when I no longer had the opportunity to compete in a sports environment on a day-to-day basis. I tried long-distance running as a way to stay healthy, challenge myself and engage in competition.”

What *facepalm* rookie mistake do you remember making when you ran your very first 10k? “Fade from the front! I went out way too hard and fast, bonked halfway through the race, and stumbled my way to the finish line. Man, that was tough!”

What practical tip/words of wisdom would you give to someone racing their first 10k? “Pace yourself! Don’t run on a full and heavy stomach. Enjoy the experience! For many runners, their first 10k race is the longest distance they have ever run to date. Run hard, take in the atmosphere and race support, and save a little energy for a strong and fast finish. There is no better feeling in the world than to reach the last few hundred metres of a race running strong and confidently straight through to the finish line.”

Nikki Skinner

Run crew: Lululemon London in London, Ontario

How long have you been running, and how did you get into it? “20 years—started in Grade 4 just for fun.”

What *facepalm* rookie mistake do you remember making when you ran your very first 10k? “Not eating or drinking anything before.”

What practical tip/words of wisdom would you give to someone racing their first 10k? “Even though you’re about to run 10k, I always like to do a 10-minute jog beforehand to loosen up and get a stretch in. That way, when the gun goes off, you are ready to go!”

Jeff Talmey

Run crew: Durham Beer Run in Whitby, Ontario

How long have you been running, and how did you get into it? “I’ve been running for all of three years. I got involved in running through my wife. She encouraged me to run in a fundraising relay race with some of her friends in the Parkdale Roadrunners. We saw their sense of family and community, and wanted to emulate that and start our own crew in our own backyard. So we did.”

What *facepalm* rookie mistake do you remember making when you ran your very first 10k? “I was all jacked up and came out of the gates a little too hot. I wouldn’t say I gassed out completely, but I did slow down significantly in the last couple ks.”

What practical tip/words of wisdom would you give to someone racing their first 10k? “Have a beer after. You earned it.”

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