Australian netball Captain Laura Geitz will step out of her comfort zone this June to participate in the City2South fun run for the very first time — and to be honest, she’s quite nervous about it.

Laura made her debut with the Queensland Firebirds and Australian Netball Diamonds in 2008. In 2011, she helped the Firebirds to a record-breaking undefeated season and was named Player’s Player of the Year.

Then in 2013, she was named as only the second Queenslander to captain Australia’s most successful women’s sporting team in its history, quickly leading the Diamonds to Commonwealth gold in the 2014 games in Glasgow.

It’s safe to say Laura dominates on the netball court, but just how will she go at long distance running? We spoke with the netball champion in lead up to the City2South fun run to ask her how she’s feeling and to get her best training tips and tricks.

So Laura, what are you most looking forward to about the event?

The carnival atmosphere, I think. A lot of people think 14 kilometres is a long way to run and even 5 kilometres, but once you get in the moment and you’re in a supportive environment — whether you’re running with a group of people or you’re running with the crowd and enjoying the entertainment along the way – it’s so much quicker and easier than people initially think.

Will you be doing the 5 kilometre or 14 kilometre run?

We actually play the day before, so I’m not too sure yet. I’m hoping to do the 14 kilometre.

This is my first time. I’ve never done it before, so I’m a little nervous!

Why did you decide to participate in the run this year?

For me it’s about trying to encourage people to lead a healthier and active lifestyle and to work towards your goals. I think the event is something that you can’t just rock up to on the day; you’ve got to commit to it and train for it. It’s an opportunity to set a goal, commit to something and work towards it and there is nothing more satisfying than that.

It’s about encouraging more females — not only just females, everyone, to get out and be active, achieve and work towards something for them.

What type of training have you been doing for the run?

All netball training, to be honest. I don’t have much time to do anything else! Our calendar is pretty full on! It’s interesting because netball training is all about short sharp bursts of movement, it’s not so much an endurance sport. I actually like the idea and opportunity to be going out for a nice long run.

My training hasn’t been anything out of the ordinary in terms of what I do day in day out which is all weights work and a lot of agility training and of course our on-court sessions. I think there will be a lot of people that overtake me, because we do play the day before. Normally, when you wake up after a game you’re very sore and heavy.

I’m doing the run with a group of friends and family so we’ll just go at our own pace and not set too many extravagant goals for ourselves, just enjoy the whole run. I’m hoping to cross the line, though!

I’m sure you will! So, what are your training tips for someone looking to do the City2South for fun?

Run with someone. Training in the lead-up to an event with someone else always helps you to be a little bit more accountable. The winter mornings are coming and it’s a little bit darker than what it normally is, so it’s easy to wake up and roll over in bed and think ‘I won’t go out today’ or ‘I won’t train today’, but when you’ve got someone to train with it’s a bit easier because you don’t want to let them down.

The best part about doing something like this is doing it with someone else and I think that can help you cross the line. You know when you’re running along and you’re feeling a bit tired, you’ve got someone to encourage you or vice versa — just being able to support one another through. That’s probably the best tip I can give anyone doing the race.

What about for people looking to do the run competitively or make a certain time?

I’m a highly competitive individual and love to win! Long distance isn’t my forte, but I can imagine for many people doing the race it is and they would be working hard towards this event and they’ve probably set goals for themselves that are a little bit out of reach — whether it’s a best time or winning the race.

I think that’s the great thing about this race. It doesn’t just cater for those wanting to come out and have fun, but caters to those who want to get those competitive juices flowing and want to finish first or with a PB (personal best). That’s a fantastic thing to be able to bring in a diverse mix of people within two races, the 5 kilometres or the 14 kilometres.

What if you haven’t done much running before?

If you’re just starting running or you’re not good at long distance, I think it’s all about building up the kilometres in your legs, starting easy and working your way up. Whether it’s starting with a 5 minute run one week and building up to 10, 15, 20 minutes and then half an hour. If you go straight into running a 5 kilometre or 14 kilometre course you’re probably going to experience injuries or your body is not going to cope. I think that gradual increase in your work load is really important.

The closer you get to the race it’s also very important to taper (reducing exercise days before the competition), you’ve done the hard work and you’ve got the kilometres in your legs but you’re also freshening yourself up for the grand event so you feel able to go out and run your best time.

The other thing that’s really important is to mix up running with different cross training methods. You can get bored with doing the same thing repeatedly over and over again and I think a lot of people get turned off by that. Keep your training interesting and mix up a run with a cross training exercise on the bike or rowing machine or even going for a swim, which can also be a great recovery for your body. It gives you a variety, you’re still getting that workout and cardio hit but your also mixing up the approach to the program which keeps it interesting and exciting for you. I’m yet to meet someone who is happy to do the same training regime day in and day out.

What should you be eating in the lead-up to the run?

If you’re training hard your body needs good sources of protein and carbohydrate regularly. Carbs are what give you energy and protein is what helps muscle building and muscle repairing. When you get that really sore feeling in your muscles after a workout, it’s basically the muscles breaking down and repairing themselves so it’s important to make sure you’ve got enough protein in your diet — whether that be through meat or other protein rich foods. Try and put some form of protein in each meal. Carbs are obviously for energy requirements and keep your energy full to the brim, if you’re not fuelling your body each day your body will basically just reject what you’re throwing at it.

A healthy and balanced diet is also very important, you’ll probably find the harder you train the quicker your metabolism and the hungrier you are. Snack regularly when you’re training or even at work during the day. It’s important to not allow yourself to get hungry. Snack every couple of hours to ensure your metabolism is getting what it requires. Steer away from all the tempting and naughty foods, it basically ruins all the hard work you’re putting in to your preparations.

What should participants eat for breakfast the morning of the run?

Everyone has different requirements and some people might be OK with sitting down to a big bacon and eggs breakfast, whereas others might shudder and go, ‘Oh my goodness, I would be vomiting within the first 5 minutes of the race’. It’s up to the individual. For me, it’s important you have something in your body.

One big thing is to ensure you’re hydrated in the lead-up to the race. Some people don’t understand the importance of being hydrated for the event — if you’re not and you’re exceptionally dehydrated, that can cause all sorts of concerns, for example feeling faint or lack of concentration. On the day, it’s important to have something like a Gatorade or Powerade as it’ll give you that electrolyte pop up you need to remain hydrated.

In regards to a breakfast, someone like me would go a really plain carbohydrate option like toast with vegemite. Milk, muesli and yoghurt or something like that just doesn’t sit well with me before a race so I tend to keep things pretty bland and simple, maybe even a banana. That would give you the carbohydrate energy you need before a race.

What should participants eat after the race?

Have some water, an energy drink and a quick snack. The last thing people want to do when they cross the line is have a big meal, they don’t even want to think about eating. After a game I’ll have a little bag of fruit and some of the girls will have UP&GOs or protein balls, just easy things that you can chew on that don’t feel heavy, but it’s something in your stomach.

If you don’t eat anything in the next hour or so after the event, your whole body is depleted of all the nutrients and essential requirements and you can start to feel a little bit faint and shaky and not so great.

Lastly, Laura, what would you say to people feeling a little nervous about the run?

Just embrace the event and enjoy it, the purpose of it all is to get out and do something with great people. It’s going to be a great day! The course is a great course and it goes past some of the most beautiful parts of Brisbane so I’m excited and hope to see as many people there as possible.

City2South will be held on Sunday 5 June. To register or for more information visit city2south.com.au.

We’ve got 20 free entries into this year’s City2South to give away. Enter now for your chance to win!