Training Guide: From Parkrun To City2Surf

by Salming

Table Of Contents

  1. Race Overview
  2. Session Types
  3. The Program
  4. Tips & Tricks
  5. Shoe Recommendations

Race Overview

Going from parkrun to City2Surf

The City2Surf is an iconic 14 km road race held annually in Sydney, Australia. Established in 1971, it has grown into one of the largest fun runs in the world, attracting over 80,000 participants each year. The race starts in the heart of Sydney's Central Business District and finishes at the stunning Bondi Beach, offering runners a unique combination of urban and coastal scenery.

The course is renowned for its challenging yet scenic route, which includes the infamous "Heartbreak Hill," a 2 km incline around the halfway mark that tests the endurance and determination of participants. Despite this, the supportive and festive atmosphere, with live music and cheering crowds along the way, keeps spirits high.

City2Surf is an excellent step up from a parkrun for several reasons. The increased distance of 14 km compared to the typical 5 km parkrun pushes runners to build greater stamina and endurance. Additionally, the diverse terrain of the course, from city streets to coastal views and hilly sections, provides a more varied and rewarding running experience. Completing City2Surf is not just a personal achievement but also a celebration of community spirit and the vibrant culture of Sydney, making it a must-do for runners of all levels.

Session Types


Interval training involves alternating between high-intensity running and periods of rest or low-intensity recovery. Typical intervals range from 800m to 1600m, run at a pace faster than your race pace. This type of training boosts cardiovascular fitness, increases your lactate threshold, and improves your ability to sustain faster paces over longer distances. Intervals also help to build mental toughness, as pushing through the discomfort of high-intensity efforts prepares you for the rigours of race day.

Hill repeats

Hill repeats involve running up a hill at a hard effort and then jogging or walking back down to recover. This session is designed to build leg strength, improve running economy, and enhance cardiovascular fitness. By increasing the distance and duration of hill repeats over time, you prepare your body to tackle the 2 km of hills in the City2Surf. Hill training also boosts mental resilience, helping you maintain effort even when the course gets tough.

Tempo runs

Tempo runs, or threshold runs, are sustained efforts at a pace that is comfortably hard, typically just below your 10K race pace. These sessions usually last 20-30 minutes, with an easy warm-up and cool down. Tempo runs help increase your lactate threshold, allowing you to run faster for longer periods without fatigue. This training improves your overall endurance and teaches you to maintain a strong, steady pace, which is crucial for race day performance.

Fartlek sessions

Fartlek, meaning "speed play" in Swedish, involves varying your pace throughout the run, alternating between periods of fast running and easy recovery. These sessions are less structured than intervals and can include different lengths and intensities. Fartlek training enhances speed, endurance, and the ability to change pace effectively. This playful approach keeps training interesting and helps build a robust aerobic base, preparing you for the varied demands of the City2Surf course.

The Program

Tips & Tricks

Successfully completing the City2Surf requires more than just physical preparation; it involves strategic planning and mental resilience. Here is what you need to know leading up to race day to ensure you have the best possible race.

1. Pace yourself: Don't go out too hot, you have several hills and 14 km to go. Aim for a negative split (the final half of your race is faster than the first half) and use the first few kilometres to feel your way into the race.

2. Tackle Heartbreak Hill: Depending on your time goal and level of fitness, consider using the hills as a walking break to bring your heart rate back down and prepare for the downhill and flats. Alternatively, if you are pushing for a fast time keep a steady effort up the hill.

3. Hydrate and fuel: Ensure you are well-hydrated before the race and take advantage of water stations along the route. Consider carrying a small, easily digestible snack or energy gel to keep your energy levels up.

4. Have some unwanted jumpers: To keep warm before the race consider taking an old jumper. Many charities collect old clothes before the race.

5. Warm up and stretch: Spend at least 10-15 minutes warming up before the race. Incorporate dynamic stretches to get your muscles ready and prevent injury.

6. Mind your form: Maintain good running form throughout the race. Keep your shoulders relaxed, arms swinging naturally, and avoid overstriding. Efficient form can save energy and reduce the risk of injury.

7. Stay positive: Mental toughness is key. Break the race into smaller sections and focus on reaching each milestone. Use positive self-talk to keep your spirits high, especially during challenging parts of the course.

8. Enjoy the experience: Embrace the atmosphere, the cheering crowds, and the scenic route. Remember why you’re running and have fun!

By following these tips and tricks, you'll be well-prepared to tackle the City2Surf and enjoy a rewarding race day experience.

Shoe Recommendations

Find the right fit

Having the right running shoes for the race is important but also consider the weeks leading up to the race. Make sure you know what shoes you intend on racing in and put a few kilometres into them to ensure you find them comfortable.

The running program calls for several different session types, from race specific sessions to long runs. Whilst it is possible to do it all in one shoe, you would be best served rotating your shoes depending on the session types.

For race-specific sessions, a tempo shoe or race-style shoe is recommended as these sessions are all about speed. For easy and long runs comfort is key, a good well cushioned daily trainer should be your go-too there.

As a bonus sometimes mixing up the terrain can help strengthen different muscles as well as providing a new stimulus. Try a trail run to strengthen those legs and take in some different scenery.

Salming's top running shoe picks

Salming Recoil Prime 2

The Salming Recoil Prime 2 is designed for ultimate comfort on hard surfaces. The Recoil+ midsole offers exceptional cushioning, while the Blown Rubber outsole, partly made from recycled rubber, enhances comfort during runs.

The engineered air mesh upper ensures breathability, and the smooth lining gently hugs the foot. Reflective details provide visibility for early morning or evening runs. Key features include a new last for an improved fit, a durable heel plug, and an enhanced sole geometry for better cushioning and stability.


  • Neutral stability
  • 8mm drop
  • 287g (US 9)
  • 29mm heel stack
  • 21mm forefoot stack
  • RECOIL PLUS midsole
  • Sponge Rubber outsole

Salming Recoil Lyte 2

The Salming Recoil Lyte 2 is the lightest shoe in the Salming range, designed for a direct running experience. Its 6mm drop Recoil midsole offers cushioning and stability, while midsole flex grooves ensure lightness and flexibility. The air mesh upper, with a microfibre midfoot panel, enhances speed and breathability. Perfect for runners seeking a lightweight, responsive shoe.


  • Neutral stability
  • 6mm drop
  • 24.5mm heel stack
  • 18.5mm forefoot stack
  • RECOIL midsole
  • Recycled rubber outsole
  • Torsion Efficiency Unit
  • Reflective logo for visibility

Salming Recoil Trail 2

Experience ultimate protection and grip with the Salming Recoil Trail 2. The Vibram MegaGrip outsole offers excellent durability and grip on all terrains. The Recoil midsole provides a comfortable, responsive ride with a 5mm drop. The upper, made of strong, breathable air mesh with 3D printed elements, ensures foot protection. A reflective heel logo enhances visibility for low-light runs.


  • Neutral stability
  • 4mm lugs
  • Lightweight single-layer mesh upper
  • 260g (US 9) weight
  • 24.5mm heel stack
  • 19.5mm forefoot stack
  • RECOIL midsole
  • Vibram MegaGrip outsole

Article sponsored by Salming.