City2Surf race day tips
You’ve got some training runs under your belt, you’ve heard the Heartbreak Hill hype, you’ve been receiving the ‘X weeks to City2Surf’ emails with nervous anticipation for months and now, finally, race day is almost here…
Follow my top ten City2Surf race day tips to make sure your training doesn’t go to waste and most importantly, you enjoy Sydney’s iconic running event of the year!
- Eat well, drink well, sleep well
An obvious one to start, but one that many slip up on. I’m afraid that drinking a bottle of Cab Sav with a rich three course dinner the night before does not count as eating and drinking well. Hydrate properly in the few days prior (not just the day before), stick to nutritious foods the night before that won’t upset your tummy (carb loading is fine, but don’t overdo it either) and on the morning of the race, eat two hours before the starting gun. Get to bed early and save the alcohol for the finish line after-party.
- If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it
Don’t even think about changing the routine you used in training just because it is race day. Skip testing out that free sample of energy gel, opt for water instead of the sports drink at the drink stations if you have never touched a sports drink before and leave the new trainers and swish new running singlet at home for another time.
- If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail
Plan race day morning meticulously – you do not want to be sprinting to the start line because you couldn’t find any safety pins to pin your number on or couldn’t find a parking spot. Know how you will be getting to the event, prepare your kit the night before, know where your start group is, know where the port-a-loos are and organise meeting points at the finish line before the start countdown begins.
- Double tie the shoe laces
Twice I have forgotten to do this. Twice my other half has used the time it took me to retie them with freezing cold fingers to gleefully take the lead (we’re an abnormally competitive couple…). Make sure you are the gleeful one with the double knotted shoelaces.
- Keep warm at the start line
Wear old clothes (visit an Op shop if you are one of those lucky, stylish people that doesn’t have anything in their wardrobe that has seen better days) that you don’t mind donating to charity if you need to shed them at the start line. Don’t worry about what you look like, there will always be someone (usually a guy) wearing a flowery dressing gown to stay warm, I promise.
- Keep the elbows in
Yes City2Surf is crowded, it is one of the world’s largest running events after all. Try not to let the stress of runners fighting for a better position on the start line and over the first couple of km throw you off your game. Enjoy the crowd atmosphere in the initial part of the race – you have 14km to catch up with the runners who are playing argy bargie to get to the front.
- Go Fishing
Hold back your pace in the first couple of km instead of going like a bat out of hell from the start gun. When the race adrenalin has calmed, pick someone out in front who you think you can catch, throw the rod out, catch them and look for your next person. And don’t be someone else’s fish!
- Save some in the tank for a sprint finish…
Running the last 200m of a race as fast as you can is fun. Getting the people around you to do it with you even more so. I am that person who will yell ‘Let’s Do It’ and force you to race me – you have been warned.
- But, know where the finish is!
Familiarise yourself with the race route the night before. City2Surf first timers, be warned – when you turn the corner and can suddenly see the sparkling waters of Bondi, I speak from experience when I say that the finish is a fair bit further than you think.
- Enjoy it
There aren’t many (if any!) races in the world that finish on the beach with 85,000 others. If you are a first timer or an old hat, a PB chaser or a back of the pack pram pusher, remember to soak it all up and smile.
See you there City2Surfers.