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Every year, people (by which we mean more than 41,000!) participate in the Vancouver Sun Run—and they do it for a ton of different reasons. For some, it’s about maintaining an active, healthy lifestyle. For others, it’s about supporting local charities or having fun with friends. Some even look at it as an opportunity to finally get in shape. We know it can be intimidating if you’ve never tried such a thing, but this month’s 10-kilometre road race isn’t just for athletes; mere mortals can compete, too! That’s why we’ve gathered some helpful exercise tips from Club 16 personal trainer Kendrick Diguangco—read on for his best exercise and nutrition advice that’ll help you cross the finish line, whether you’re a beginner or a long-time athlete. It’s not too late to start training! Vancouver Sun Run 20171. Find a Support GroupIf you’re on the fence about participating in the Sun Run, Diguangco suggests you join a running club—it’s a surefire way to get encouragement and motivation from others. “Training in a group helps keep us accountable,” he says. 2. Work on Your StrengthRunning two to three times a week is great, but adding strength training sessions to your routine will help improve endurance and balance—and prevent muscle fatigue. According to Diguangco, squats, lunges and other split-stance exercises are the most effective: “They work our quads, hamstrings, glutes and hips, improving overall speed and endurance,” he says. Runners can also benefit from practicing the plank; since your posture can drop during a long-distance run, having a strong core will improve endurance and prevent fatigue throughout a 10K run. And of course treadmills are a handy alternative when it’s snowing or raining: “They are fantastic for interval and are a great way to learn how to pace yourself,” says Diguangco.3. Refuel with Good FoodMake sure you get the proper nutrients during training—and right before the race. “A well-balanced meal consists of a mix of proteins, carbohydrates and fat,” says Diguangco. “I personally love to have a protein smoothie after I train.” Diguangco also advises that you stay away from trying new meals during the days leading up to the race—you never know how your body will react!4. Get a Good Night’s SleepSleep deprivation can lead to fatigue and ultimately hinder your performance, so Diguangco recommends you get at least eight hours of sleep on the nights leading up to the race.5. Stretch It Out“I can’t stress enough how important it is to take five to 10 minutes at the end of each workout to let your body recover and cool down,” says Diguangco. Stretching—quads and hamstrings are the most important areas to work on—will help prevent muscle shortening and fatigue.6. Take a BreakA lot of first-time runners will work hard to prepare for the Sun Run, but according to Diguangco, it is possible to over-exercise. “We’ll perform better on race day if we don’t over-exert ourselves during training,” he says. Make sure you take your time, rest and recover between training sessions.7. Check Your Ego at the DoorThe Sun Run doesn’t have to be competitive—you can run, jog or walk your way through the 10-kilometre race course. “Keep in mind you have to enjoy your time and pace yourself,” says Diguangco.