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Bettina’s sunny 10k race report

Last weekend, I ran a 10k race. It was only my third ever ‘proper’ race, so these things are still sort of new and exciting to me. A key difference was also that I ran this race with a group of colleagues. To be fair, I started my first 10k running with a friend, but I knew he was going to be way faster than me so I wasn’t surprised when he took off after the first kilometre and the rest was very much a ‘me-vs-the-road’ thing. Last week’s race definitely felt like we were doing it as a group.

I had specifically picked this race because it was a flat course. I do very, very poorly on hills and it’s something I want to work on. So if anyone has any tips on how to improve running uphill, send them my way. I really need them. I also had a goal: I wanted to do it in under 60 minutes.

Bettina post-race, complete with post-race hair.

The day of the race was a beautiful sunny Sunday and threatened to actually get quite hot. That thing about the hottest spring in the history of weather recording? Definitely true for this part of the world. It felt more like July than early May. Luckily the race was in the morning and substantial parts of it were in the shade. Still, when the 5k water station came around I was very grateful.

I started off sticking to a colleague with whom I’d run in the past and whom I knew to be more or less at the same pace as myself. Well… it turned out that apparently she’d been getting in a bit more training than me  and  set off faster than anticipated. Nevertheless, I tried to hang on to her as long as I could, because if anything, I’m competitive. But about three kilometres into the race I knew I had to let it, and my colleague, go.

But given that I was doing well for speed, I decided to try and stay at roughly a 5:30km/h pace, which is still faster than I normally run. At this point, I wanted to see if I could do it. And I almost could! In the end, I averaged 5:34, which is really good for me and I was very pleased with my final time of 56:46. I would have been even more pleased had I been able to do it in 55. So that’s my goal for next time.

Overall, it was a very enjoyable race in a small town with a very community feel, organised by the local sports club. The atmosphere was really relaxed, and while some of our team mentioned that it would have been nice to have more people cheering us on along the course, I actually didn’t mind the calmness of our run through fields and forest.

I’m not going to lie, parts of it were a struggle. It was quite hot out in the fields, so that was a factor. Also, when I had to acknowledge that my colleague was actually too fast for me, while a few months ago she was definitely slower, I couldn’t help but feel a bit frustrated with myself. But I’m trying to push past that and focus on the fact that I ran an awesome time by my own standard. All in all, I had a great time. We went for a nice lunch with some of the team members afterwards and it was a lot of fun. I hope we run again soon!

9 thoughts on “Bettina’s sunny 10k race report

  1. Thanks for the report. Sounds like a good race. Keeping a 5:30 pace is super impressive to me but I understand it’s all relative!

    1. I’m still a bit of a novice to systematic pace training (before last year, I was an infrequent and reluctant runner). But the longer I do it the more I realise that it really is all relative and the only person you can really compare yourself to is… well, yourself. I won’t deny that being around people that run just slightly faster pushes me to try harder. But I have to be my own standard.

  2. Congrats, Bettina — great job!

    The only way to improve on hills, unfortunately, is to do a lot of training on hills. If there is a hill near your usual running routes, start by just adding a few hill repeats once a week to a regular run. They don’t have to be hard or long — try tossing in three one minute repeats uphill to start. You can slow down if you need to, just add in more hill running and eventually you’ll build strength.

    I also notice that when I do good, intense spinning classes, my capacity to run on hills improves. But you have to do intensity intervals in spinning to get that build as well.

    In other words, you need to do some intensity intervals, preferably on hills — but they don’t have to be long or many to start with.

    1. I knew someone was going to say “train on hills” – *shudder* 😉 . I realise there’s no way around it if I really do want to improve… actually doing reps on a hill at the end of a run is a good idea. Luckily plenty of hills around here to do just that, one right at the end of my regular route. It’s short but at the end of a run, it’s a killer. Trying to run up that a few times when I’m finishing should get my stamina right up!

      1. It doesn’t take a lot if you just do a few reps. A lot less daunting to me than “running on hills.” I have a very gradual but super long uphill from outside my door for about 1.75 km and I can’t tell you how many times I go east/west instead of north/south to avoid it. But then I do it three times and suddenly bam my stamina is better. Stupid bodies.


        You look great for the end of your run!

  3. Congrats on exceeding your goal. Focus on that.
    As a good friend and experienced runner told me, there will always be someone faster. Don’t think about them. Think about you. You are the one who is faster than someone else and the one someone else wants to beat.
    Hills? Just run them. It’s the only way you will get better on them. I have some imperceptible grades (you don’t really look like you’re on an incline), some long steep hills, and some steep rolling hills that I get to pick from on a daily basis. Strengthening your core, your thighs, your hamstrings, and your glutes will help; unfortunately that won’t help as much as running hills.
    Run a long, steep, impossible hill for a baseline. Then work on easier hills. After a few weeks, go back to that impossible hill. See how much better you are. Running is physical but it’s mental too. Take the victories and use them to get through the hills. It gets better.

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