Health and Fitness: Training tips for Lake Macquarie Running Festival on August 28

If you are thinking about doing an event to keep you training through until the end of winter, the Lake Macquarie Running Festival is on August 26.

You might be wondering if five weeks is enough time to prepare and the good news is, with a bit of commitment to training, 10.5 kilometres could be achievable.

Ben Toomey from Pure Performance Sports has been kind enough to provide some tips for the five weeks leading up to this event, and for any newcomer preparing for one of their first big runs.

He suggests finding a running buddy.

“Having someone to do some of your training with is without doubt a great way to boost the motivation when things get hard,” Ben says.

“You’ll be able to hold each other accountable and keep each other on track, and when you’ve crossed the line on August 26 you’ll be able to celebrate with a breakfast together at one of the great cafes at Warners Bay.”

A slow and steady approach should be a rewarding approach.

“Ease into it and don’t be afraid to walk,” he says.

“One of the most common things I see with beginner runners is they start at it like a bull at a gate. When doing something that you haven’t done for a while, it’ll take the body a little while to adjust and you’ll also have some sore spots. If it is all a bit overwhelming don’t be afraid to walk, just keep moving forward.”

Check your running gear too. Don’t leave it until right before race day to get a new pair of shoes or socks that might end up causing discomfort.

Ben suggests rest days or cross training twice a week, Mondays and Wednesdays, which  he says could include swimming, an easy cycle, walk or some strength training.

Sundays are for long, slow runs or run-walks, starting with 3 to 5km and building up by 1 to 2km each week to 10km on race day.

Ben says parkruns are a good Saturday option for doing a free timed 5km in a supportive and encouraging environment. There are many in the Hunter region and you can find them all at

There is also the option of joining in with weekly PureRuns, held at the Pure Performance Sports stores in Cooks Hill, Warners Bay and Maitland Wednesdays at 6pm. It is usually 5 to 8km and caters for all levels of ability with run-walk options as well.

Tuesdays are comfortable shorter run-walks and runs and Thursdays are interval sessions, increasing effort with each week.

Below are Ben’s Tuesday sessions for the next five weeks. He suggests doing each at an easy running pace where you can still hold a conversation. His Thursday sessions are in the Winter Warmers section. 

Session 1: 5 x [3-minute run, 1min walk]; Session 2: 5 x [4min run, 1min walk]; Session 3: 25-minute run; Session 4: 30min run; Session 5: 25min run.

So, if you intend to sign up then buddy up, build up, listen to your body, check your gear is allowing you to run or walk at your most comfortable and keep moving.

Winter Warmers Week #8

Here are five weeks of Thursday interval sessions Ben Toomey of Pure Performance Sports says will help get you prepared for the Lake Macquarie Running Festival’s 10.5km. 

Add a five-minute warm-up jog and a five-minute cool-down jog to each session.

Session 1: 10 x [30 seconds hard effort with 1min slow jog recovery];

Session 2: 4 x [1km hard effort with 2min walk recovery];

Session 3: 8 x [1min hard with 1min jog recovery];

Session 4: 2 x [2.5km hard with 5min walk recovery];

Session 5: 8 x [30sec hard with 1min jog recovery].

Upcoming Fitness Events

Lake Macquarie Running Festival, Warners Bay, August 26: Held on the shores of Lake Macquarie, there is a 21.1km half marathon course, a 10.5km fun run and 4km kids’ scamper.

The Bloody Long Walk, Newcastle, October 7: A 35km challenge from Belmont to Newcastle Beach, taking in Fernleigh Track, Throsby Creek and Memorial Walk. It is raising funds and awareness for Mitochondrial disease.

Thunderbolt Classic Trail Run, October 28, Barrington Tops National Park: Pick from a 16km or 33km course through sections of untouched forest. The start and finish is at Salisbury Lodges.

Renee Valentine is a writer, qualified personal trainer and mother of three.