Running My First 10K

I ran my first 10K this weekend.  By 8 am the temperature was already 90 degrees Fahrenheit. I really had intended on running a 5K. This distance is more in line with what I “trained” for, but when you wait until 10 pm to register the night before the event, you take what you can get. So, I ended up in a 10K with the XL T-shirt.

Let’s talk about my “training”. I run about 2.2 miles per week, twice per week, hit and miss. I walk my dogs. I do the “farmer’s carry” for weight training of one or two full buckets of water from my rain barrel in front down my stone steps to the back yard every day. I do 15 minutes of yoga 3-4 times weekly. I do intensive weeding in my garden. And just as important, I do breathing and vocal exercises mostly daily.

My body came through for me. It is always great when it does, and always surprising when it doesn’t. As I was running (and walking when the heat became too much), I was thinking about what factors enabled me to run a 10K and what the risks were for sustaining injury.

In my corner:

  • a good pair of shoes that support my low arch tendencies,
  • a good habit of calf strengthening and stretching
  • toe strengthening and stretching
  • eccentric strength training of my hamstrings and gluteal muscles
  • respiratory benefits of regular diaphragmatic breathing
  • a training schedule that gives adequate rest time between work outs
  • Using a pace that I am comfortable with and not trying to “win”


  • Sudden sharp increase in mileage
  • Intense heat/cardiovascular strain
  • Being in a race situation

I saw all types of runners out there and I found myself wondering who would be reporting to their physical therapists next week. One of my colleagues, a marathon runner, and I were discussing the basics of what it takes to do running as recreational exercise. We believe that many people of all ages could enjoy the benefits of running. Contrary to popular belief, research supports the health benefits of running as a type of exercise that improves knee joint health. However, one needs to fit certain criteria to participate.

Essential basic criteria:

  • The ability to raise up on your toes, standing on one foot for 20 repetitions
  • The ability to jump on one leg 10 times in a row
  • Good calf length/the ability to pull the toes toward the knee cap
  • The ability to walk 1 mile at a brisk pace

If you aren’t sure if you fit this criteria, see your physical therapist for a personal assessment and always check with your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.