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Marathon by Craig Golding

If you’ve been part of the Sydney Running Festival before, you’ll know one of the best things about the event (apart from the finishing medal) is that you get to run across Sydney’s most favourite bridge car-free. This year the event is being help on 17th September, and if you haven’t registered yet, you should do it now. There are four race lengths – 3.5km, 10km (up from 9km last year), a half marathon and a full marathon – each one with its own start times. To get some expert advice for running the race, we sat down with the official Blackmores Sydney Running Festival trainer Vlad Shatrov and festival ambassador Bec Wilcock.

So guys, what’s different about the race this year?
Bec: “Well, the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival is the only running event which crosses the Sydney Harbour Bridge and this year the route is even more scenic, so while you can do run the race competitively, it’s still really nice to soak up the incredibly scenic Sydney views. And as the course is flatter and faster this year, you should take this into account when you do your last-minute training – no need for too much uphill work!”

Looking at the four routes, got any tips for attacking the race?
Vlad: “Make sure you warm-up properly – although the bridge looks flat, it actually isn’t. The first couple of kilometres is slightly uphill! And if you are going the 10km Bridge Run, make sure you really take advantage of the downhill to Mrs Macquarie’s chair. You can catch up on your race time in this section. And if you’re running the Half Marathon, soak it up at the end – the last section of the course is completely flat allowing you a fast finish with spectacular views.”

Do you have any preparation tips?
Bec: “Look after your body! Warm up properly prior to the run by getting off a train stop earlier or getting to the event 30 minutes early. Cool down is just as important, try doing some yoga poses and deep stretches.”

What kind of last-minute training should we do before the race?
Vlad: “I think it’s really important to ensure that you incorporate efforts into your training plan where you are running at the pace you intend to race at. This doesn’t have to be the full race distance, however you should start with small efforts of between 10-20% of your race distance [running at speed], then work up to doing between 70-80% of the target distance at your targeted race pace in your last few training sessions.”

What is your advice for non-runners who want to train for the race this year?
Bec: “Every bit counts – just get out and run! It’s all about overcoming the initial mental barrier ‘I can’t run’ or ‘I don’t want to go for a run’, and focusing on small steps towards your goals. Don’t be too hard on yourself – focus on your progression and all the small wins from your training. Find what motivates you whether that is new gym clothes, finding a running buddy or a playlist that will move your butt into gear. Blackmores and Spotify have teamed up to help you create a playlist to suit your pace. To find my current fave playlist, see here.

Haven’t signed up yet? Register now. Need some help with what to eat before the race? Check out Your Guide to Race Week Nutrition. And while you’re here, be a champ and sign up to our newsletter – it’s packed full of fitness events, reviews, discounts and more!