Report from day 1 of my 10K training

As part of my effort to make running less boring—and get in better shape—I’ve signed up to run a 10K

As part of my effort to make running less boring—and get in better shape—I’ve signed up to run a 10K on August 31: the Nike Human Race. What appeals to me about Nike’s race is that it’s worldwide: they’re putting on "official" runs in 25 cities around the world, from Paris and London to Shanghai and Singapore plus our Canadian representative, Vancouver; but you can also join the race from anywhere else in the world, just by signing up online. You can also choose between three charities to raise money for: the UN Refugee Agency, the WWF, or the Lance Armstrong Foundation. In Toronto, the Nike Runner’s Lounge is organizing a race, plus training ahead of time, which is the other thing I’ve signed up for: a Tuesday evening running group to prep for the race. (I’m fantasizing about running it in Istanbul, by the way. Any hints on getting there?)

Full disclosure: I’m almost positive I’ve never run 10K before. In fact, the longest run I’ve ever done was probably a couple of weeks ago in Montreal, which clocked in on my SportBand at about 6.5K. I’m sure I won’t have a problem working up to 10K; how fast I can run it is another matter.

The Nike staff separated us into three groups: 2K, 3K and 5K. My friends and I picked the last one—we can all run that far no problem. Once we got going, though, I was wondering what I’d signed up for—the group leader set a much faster pace than I ever do on my own and I wasn’t sure I could sustain it for a full 5K. Turns out I was right and had to slow down partway through, but it felt great to be pushed that hard and I found it really motivating to be running in a group and trying to keep up. I even managed to speed up to an almost-sprint at the end of the run.

The verdict? It was a fun after-work group run that pushed me and gave me the chance to spend time with some friends. The Runner’s Lounge is convenient—they have lockers, bathrooms and water, and will let you try out different gear—and I can see myself meeting people there to go for more runs, as it’s near a beautiful wooded area with dirt trails. And afterward, we celebrated and replenished with raspberry-banana smoothies.

Oh, and I signed up to raise money for the WWF. Keep tuning in to find out how you can sponsor me to run farther and raise money for the planet.

Inspired? Read these 5 reasons to run, and learn how to train for a race of your own.