Broad Street Run Training: 5 Weeks to 10 Miles

By Nicole Cesare for Philadelphia Runner

I have this theory that there are two types of runners: math runners and writing runners.*

I am definitely a writing runner. I spend my runs putting words together: making up mantras, coming up with metaphors for how my legs feel, looking for interesting sights so I can tell someone about them later. These days, I also map out my blog posts, thinking about what I want to highlight and how it fits into the big picture of my BSR training.

Math runners, I imagine, spend their runs crunching numbers. "If I run at this pace for this long, I'll finish by this time." "How many seconds do I have to shave off of each mile in order to PR?" I assume they love training plans that say things like "Interval 1: 1X800 Meters Tempo 90 Second Recovery Interval 2: 2X200 Meters Base Pace SUM C2:D2." (I imagine math runners enjoy spreadsheets, too.)

I get cross-eyed when I see a training plan like that, so perhaps I'll have to come up with my own kind of plan for writing runners like me. It'll go something like, "Once upon a time, a runner went out for an easy jog until she was warmed up and the run felt like smooth butter. Then an evil wizard came along and forced her to run so fast she thought her lungs would explode in a haze of pink slime, but then the fairy godmother defeated the evil wizard and told her to slow down until she reached the enchanted forest." Or something like that.

Yeah, I love a run with a story behind it, and so this week for my long I indulged in one of the most storied runs of all time. It's almost exactly 4 miles from my doorstep to the top of the Art Museum steps, so when it's time for an 8-miler, I do my own little Rocky Run. 


There's really nothing like running up those steps. If you've come up the Schuylkill River Trail to the Museum, then you've been catching glimpses of it for a while, and then there it is in all its glory. The sets of steps are staggered so that I'm always surprised when there's another one, seemingly hidden behind the one I just completed and taunting me to keep going. And of course, when you reach the top, you turn around for one of the best views the city has to offer. 

Undoubtedly, you'll see other folks joining you in celebrating the iconic scene, from uber-fit types in athletic gear to tourists with fanny packs, from little kids with boundless energy to older folks with a little more creak in their bones. They all cheer when they get to the top.

 I'm usually too exhausted to cheer, but I always take a beat at the halfway point of my run to enjoy the moment. The math runners probably enjoy the moment, too. And they probably know exactly how many steps it takes to reach the top.

*I realize I'm setting myself up with this statement: please blow up my binary and tell me what kind of runner you are that has nothing to do with words or numbers.