The University of Hong Kong HKU Marathon Team runners
 at SCHKM 24 Oct 2021
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Tips from Professionals

"The Run that Changed my Life"

Pauline Tse
HKU graduate of MSc(ECom & IComp) 2002
1st Runner-up in Full Marathon (Women’s Master 2) 2009

My tips for beginners

  1. Get a good pair of running shoes.
  2. Condition your body before and/or along side your early training stage can avoid many unnecessary injuries.
  3. Long distance run training is all about consistency and gradual build-up (sounds simple but we are often defeated by impatience and temptation).
  4. Listen to your body and enjoy your own pace; if you beat your old self, you are a winner!
  5. Running may look solitary but never lonely!

The Run that Changed my Life

Two months before 8th February, 2004, I was a very different person from what I am now - in terms of physique, life-style and my attitude towards life.

In the cold and wet morning of 8th February 2004, I ran my first 10K race. When I crossed the finish line, I felt like I was a hero, a champion and that I had done the greatest thing in life!

Prior to that, I had been leading a sedentary life for many years. It was during a dinner with my MEICOM (MSc in E-commerce and Internet Computing) Alumni that I was persuaded to join the Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon. At that time, the only running I had ever done was back in PE classes in primary school. I had never liked running or jogging and thought this must be the most boring sport to do! I was thinking to just walk the whole distance within the 2-hour limit.

I noticed there was a running clinic and signed up out of curiosity. I was taught some warm-up exercises and running drills. But when we were told to jog for two laps around the sports ground, it was nightmare! I began to puff after about 100 m, struggling for the next 100m, walked and jogged the next few hundred meters. And when there were still 2-300m to go, all others had finished so I half ran and half walked as hard as I could. When I finally finished that 800m, I was so out of breath that I had a blackout. I then realized what 10K would mean.

It was then that I determined to do something to be able to "run" the 10K race. I only had seven weeks to train.

My first workout was running and walking, alternating every 30 seconds, for a total of 10 minutes. Each day, I gradually increased the run-and-walk interval times as well as the total time until I could run continuously for about 5 minutes. After that, I added one minute or increased the pace slightly each day. It was quite hard to keep going after the 10-minute mark as the body and mind kept suggesting quitting. But then, this was how I trained myself not to give up. I made myself achieve some progress everyday.

It was quite amazing that the body could really adapt very fast. After 3-4 weeks' daily running, I could run continuously, at a very slow pace, for about 20 minutes. And, after the 20-minutes mark, the body became so "comfortable" that I could run "as long as I wish". But then, I chose to keep just a very small daily increment to my running time or pace.


This 7-week's preparation worked! I completed the 10K race in one hour three minutes. I felt great and happy, and my body felt good, too. There was no pain or ache and I wasn't particularly tired. It was a pleasant experience!

Since then, I haven't stopped running. Running has improved my overall well-being; I lost a few unwanted pounds. I was energetic and much stronger.

I was amazed how I handled the "challenge". I could have thought I was not fit to do running and avoided running the race. I could have stopped every time at the hardest "10-minute" barrier and most likely would have done the same during the race and never be able to complete the race.

I was glad I gave myself a chance, otherwise, I would never get to know how much running can bring to my life, and that how much potential I have in myself that awaits my discovery. I now hold this attitude towards other aspects in life, and I am enjoying!



Marathon Cheer