Pet project: Michelle Bridges has handy hints for City2Surf runners. Photo: SuppliedI’m always banging on about the benefits of running, and there’s good reason. Running is one of the most effective exercises for weight loss, building stamina and improving cardiovascular fitness, and anyone can do it!

Sydney’s City2Surf is an event everyone should have on their bucket list. If you are considering running or walking for the first time or are back for another go, it is time to get cracking.

Whether you are aiming for a personal best or raising money for charity, 14 kilometres isn’t easy.

If you are a novice or haven’t run for a while, work up to running outdoors for two kilometres or 15 minutes without stopping. Once you can do this, you are ready to tackle longer runs.

A good training program includes at least three days a week of running. Getting out there and pounding the pavement is the only way to build up your distance to the City2Surf, presented by Westpac.

But your running program should include tempo runs, sprints and hill intervals and one long run each week. A tempo run is the best way to improve your speed and endurance for any distance and these sessions should be “comfortably hard”. This means you should be able to comment but not hold a full conversation with your training buddy.

Training tips

Start small. Try a one-minute walk, followed by a one-minute jog and repeat, aiming to build to a run. Increase the distance by roughly 10 per cent each week.

You don’t have to run like a demon every session. Not every session is going to be a great one, but a bad run is better than none. Get a training buddy. Recruit someone who runs or is doing the race and put together a training schedule with them.  

Running on softer surfaces  will minimise your injury risk, however, it is important to run on footpaths or asphalt occasionally.

Remember that this is a hilly course. Sopractise running up hills.

Get a GPS watch or a free running phone app to track your distances.

Performing short bursts of high-intensity intervals significantly lifts your cardiovascular fitness as well as helping increase your speed. In a nutshell this means you can train harder and longer.

Long runs should be at a nice steady pace. If you’re starting out build up your distance by one to two kilometres each week. Aim to get up to at least 12 kilometres in the fortnight before City2Surf.

In between these running days you should be doing two days of strength and core exercises to keep your body well balanced, as well as giving your body time to rest and recover. The best strength exercises for runners are lunges, single-leg squats and planks. These will have the added benefits of improving your technique, correcting your posture and keeping you safe from injury.

Michelle Bridges runs an online 12 Week Body Transformation that offers running programs for all levels, from Learn to Run, Train for a 10km Fun Run and Train for a Half Marathon. Find out more at 12WBT杭州夜生活m

Enter at city2surf杭州夜生活

The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.