Thousands of people are set to pound the streets of Sunderland this weekend as the Sunderland 10k and Half Marathon take place once again.
The Run Sunderland Festival has been a great event for the city since it began, and those taking part in 2018 will be filled with excitement - but also nerves, particularly for runners setting off on their first race of their chosen distance on Sunday.
Here Bob Hogg, a triathlon coach and a senior lecturer in Biomechanics and Performance Analysis at University of Sunderland, gives his top tips for going the distance - whether you're a 10K challenger or gearing up for the half marathon.
In the last week reduce quantity, not quality
Every good runner should "taper" during those final couple of days in the run up to a big race.
That means you run less and rest more during the last 48 hours.
I know the idea of training less can seem almost counterintuitive – but it will be worth it. In the last few days it is the rest – rather than the work – that will make you strong.
Practice drinking in training - try to drink not sip so as to keep your stomach active
Hydration remains hugely important on the day, so you should aim for between 500-1000ml of fluid per hour. Plan ahead and don’t forget to keep the fluid flowing.
Don't use new kit
New trainers are a big no-no. It’s a classic mistake. Splashing out on some fancy Nikes for the big day only to find your feet are in agony 4k into the run.
Be sensible. Use tried and tested kit and avoid blister/chafing problems.
Do a warm-up walk/jog and then some dynamic stretching before you start
Most runners understand the value of warming up before a race.
The warm-up primes your muscles for peak performance. Best to keep mobile during your warm up rather than static stretching
Remember your sun cream, (yes, even in Sunderland)
You might not (and probably won’t need it) but better safe than sorry. It’s especially important for the head, ears, nose and where your shorts ride up and your socks fall down!
Think before you energy drink
Don't have a gel or energy drink in the hour before the start of the race, a couple of minutes before you start is ok if you have practiced it in training, otherwise, stick to water.
What if it’s a cold day?
One cheap option is to wear a bin bag on the start line. It will keep the heat in and it means you don’t risk having to dump the expensive Adidas top halfway through the run.
Start off at a pace where you can talk - then slow down
So, you’ve been training for a while and the frenetic energy at the start of the race could prove irresistible.
The gun fires and off you shoot like a rocket into space. Think. Slow down. By 4K in, you might be regretting it.
Don't assume the distance markers are exact!
Human error can creep in and if you're using a GPS tracker, it might not match up to the markers. Don’t panic – best to be prepared and leave some reserve in the tank.
Keep moving as you cross the finish line
Don’t be tempted to fling yourself onto the ground after achieving your goal. Stay active. Keep the body moving and stretch as soon as you get space to do so safely.
And the bonus tip is simple.....
It’s supposed to be fun so make the most of what should be a great day.
The 2018 Run Sunderland Festival is being organised by sports commentator and former Olympic athlete Steve Cram’s company Events of the North, in partnership with Sunderland City Council and Active Sunderland.
The Olympic silver medal-winner was nicknamed "The Jarrow Arrow" , after his home town, in the 1980s when he was one of the world's most dominant middle-distance runners - setting world records in the 1500m, 2000m and the mile.
The weekend features the Siglion Sunderland City Half Marathon and 10K and the Active Sunderland BIG 3K Fun Run.
Steve, who is also Chancellor at the University of Sunderland, said: “I hope everyone is really looking forward to the race on Sunday.
“This is one of the biggest running events in the North East and, with a record number of entrants in the 10K this year, the atmosphere is going to be something special.
“With a bit of luck you’ll be pulled through to a personal best performance but at the very least have a great day of running around the streets and sights of the city.”