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Top 5 City 2 Surf preparation tips

The City2Surf is by far one of Australia’s best runs and literally tens of thousands of people participate each year with the numbers growing year on year too. I’ve done a fair few City2Surf in my time and learnt some solid tricks in the lead up and for on the day from personal experience and from running with others. In the week leading up – THIS WEEK – keep these ideas up your sleeve…

  1. HYDRATE: This is number one thing over and above anything else in the lead up and during the race. This week ensure you’re getting your 1.5-2L water (preferably filtered) per day. If you drink coffee ensure each cup is accompanied by water, about 1/2 cup for tea drinkers. Water in winter is often hard for people to stay on top of as you don’t perspire as much but it’s just as important as any other time of year. Remember herbal teas and green juices (lower in fruits) count too! Dehydration on race day is more common than a lack of carbs for fuel. Throughout the race, there are plenty of water stations. You can plan your water stops via the City2Surf map this week and I really encourage you to do so. You may not need every single stop IF you have hydrated well in advance. I often use the water stops that I know I can pass as my time to get through a crowd.
  2. EAT BALANCED MEALS: To be frank, unless you’re in the first group of elite runners you don’t need to spend this week ‘carb loading’. If you haven’t experienced carb loading before and then decide to launch into it a few days out you may find it’s too much for your digestive system to process the change. So, rather than carb load focus on eating balanced meals all throughout the week which are inclusive of protein, carbohydrate and some healthy fats. The night before I always suggest people eat a meal they know their body responds to well rather than a massive bowl of pasta which they may end up having to run to the loo for the next morning (trust me you want as little time near those porta loos as you can!). For me, this might look like a piece of salmon with steamed veggies and some brown rice. Pretty simple. You know your body, nourish it as so and trust that you’ve done the work in the lead up so you’re well energised to have a great run.
  3. GET TO THE RACE EARLY so you can pop your belongings in a back pack in the trucks that head onto Bondi if you don’t have someone on the other end to meet you with a change. I’ve made this mistake a couple of times. The trucks actually leave quite early so be prepared and get there to drop. Dig out the trackies and hoodies from your cupboard you’re happy to donate to charity so you stay super warm in the time before your gun fires because despite usually being one of the historically most glorious days in the August calendar it does get really cold in the middle of the city and your muscles will respond better if you’re warm before you run. Keep them on until the last minute, then simply throw them over the barricade before you set off. They go to a good cause too.
  4. STICK TO YOUR OWN LANE ie. the middle of the road, my sneaky race strategy and the one I personally believe helped me crack sub 60minutes. I observe lots of people trying to take what seems to be the shortest part of the track, inside corners etc but end up zig zagging away and taking more steps than necessary. Even with the massive crowds around you, visualise your path and focus on just side stepping the people rather than trying to carve out a whole new track. The middle of the road the whole way through will be crowded, it’s inevitable but you’ll likely improve your pace and cadence if you visualise a single line instead of a zig zag. This is particularly important on heart break hill where everyone sticks to the ‘shorter corner’ sides. The hill honestly is what it is, it won’t change too much if you move corners, pick your line and go for it!
  5. BE PREPARED TO ENJOY THE AFTER PARTY – it’s an absolute ripper!!!! Seriously, one of the best days in Bondi, even Sydney (bar the opening of the 2000 Olympics!) each year! Pack a fresh crop top, t-shirt whatever you need to stay warm afterward in the back pack for the trucks or give to a friend to meet you after, or drop by one of the many awesome activewear stores and grab your post C2S reward kit – I’m wearing my faves from Nimble in this pic and it’s definitely  my duty to tell you to swing by their shop  too for the party it’ll be sweeeeeeet. Remember before you chug a beer or a coffee that water needs to come first AND throughout. It will save your hangover and improve muscle recovery in the following days if you’ve given the City 2 Surf a bit of a nudge.

Finally – ENJOY IT my friends, it truly is a cracker of a race and a celebration of people and community all working toward the same goal – the energy is absolutely ELECTRIC – get amongst it!

Jacqueline Alwill

Jacqueline is an Accredited Nutritional Medicine Practitioner specialising in family and early childhood nutrition and gut health. She writes for several media publications, hosts a regular nutrition segment on Channel 7 and in 2016 published her first book, "Seasons to Share" (Murdoch Books). Jacqueline is passionate about working with corporations and brands to support and educate their community and audience and is currently a media spokesperson and ambassador for Remedy Drinks, Eimele Australia, Woolworths, Kitchenaid and Nutrition Director at Bondi Bubs Wholefoods. She is mum to Jet and outside her working hours you'll find her with her family in the surf, on the beach, or out and about in nature.

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