It’s a little under 11 weeks until the 2013 Sun-Herald City2Surf, and people all over the country are starting to panic a little. Why did I enter? Is there enough time left to train? Do I really have to wear a Spiderman costume? Well folks, the answers to those, and many more questions, will be answered in today’s post.
Let’s start at the beginning. You entered because it’s a FUN run. And fun runs, by their very nature, are FUN – the 85,000 people who ran it in 2012 can’t be wrong (can they?). Plus, training for an event gives you a goal – pounding the pavement day in day out might be bliss for a select few, but to most people, it’s hell on earth. Having the City2Surf to aim for – whether it be winning, getting a new PB, running the whole way or simply crawling over the finish line in one piece – is often exactly the motivation you need to keep on training. This can be particularly important during the winter months, when cold mornings and dark afternoons make it easy to find excuses not to leave the comfort of home.
So with two and a half months left until the big day, have you left your run too late? Lucky for you the answer is no, but if your training so far has been pretty much non-existent then it’s time to shift your butt into gear and start to focus on the task at hand – 14km of undulating hills starting in Sydney’s CBD and finishing along the promenade of glorious Bondi Beach.
I ran my first City2Surf way back in 2003 in a time of 92.01 minutes. I remember the pride I had in finishing, as I’d never raced anything longer than 5km prior to that. The next year I lopped five minutes off my time and the improvements kept coming until I hit a PB of 67:42 in 2011 (a time I plan to beat in 2013). My Mum makes the trip down each year for the race too (she only took up running a few years back but is frighteningly fast) and this year my bro has entered as well. I’m talking good game at the moment, but unfortunately the realist in me has no doubt that the little bastard is going to wipe the floor with me. But I digress. After all, this is not supposed to be a trip down memory lane for me, this is about YOU, what lies ahead, and what you need to do to reach your racing goals.
So where was I? Oh yes, a training plan. Now, I’m not a running coach, nor would I presume to know more than Rupert van Dongen and the wonderful team at Adidas, who have put together the three official City2Surf programs for you to follow. Their beginners program is designed to suit those competing in their first City2Surf, the intermediate program is for those who can run the 14km but would like to increase their speed and the advanced program is for those hoping to record a PB in this year’s race. If you’re looking for a comprehensive training plan I highly recommend you check these out and print off the appropriate plan for you. Whether you follow them to the letter or just incorporate some elements into your current program is up to you.
In the meantime, what I can give you is a few C2S training hints and tips, from one amateur runner to another.
- Include hills in your training schedule – I cannot emphasise this enough. Running a flat course is one thing, winding your way up the 2km of Heartbeak Hill with no prior hill experience is a whole other ball game. Oh, and if you think HH is the only hilly bit in the race, you’ll be sadly mistaken. Trust me, RUN HILLS.
- Train your legs. The stronger and more powerful your legs are, the easier your run is going to be. Think squats, lunges and deadlifts. Your muscles won’t fatigue as quickly, you’ll keep your form for longer and of course, you’ll get faster! Did I mention the hills?
- Don’t try to go too far, too soon. No matter how good you’re feeling, jumping from 4km to 10km is a bad idea. You’ll put too much stress on your body and increase your risk of injury and illness. Be patient – good things come to those who wait.
- Find a good physio. As you increase your kms chances are you’ll start to notice little niggles in your body. Do not wait until these niggles become pains to have them checked out – I learnt this the hard way a couple of years back. If you’re in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney and you need a physio recommendation let me know.
- Enjoy yourself! Every day I see people pounding the pavement, eyes down, headphones in, oblivious to what’s going on around them – it’s such a waste! One session a week I suggest you take out your headphones and immerse yourself in your surroundings. Breathe in the fresh air, listen to the birds and feel the sun on your back. It’s a totally different experience.
The City2Surf truly is the MOSTEST FUNNEST fun run I’ve ever been a part of and I think you’d be mad not to give it a shot at least once in your lifetime. Closer to the event I’ll fill you in on what to expect come race day, but in the meantime, get outside and get running!