Broad Street Run Training: 8 Weeks to 10 Miles

By Nicole Cesare for Philadelphia Runner

Woof, winter is still wintering, huh? That was the story of Week 3 for me. 

I'll admit, when I did my long run the day after the first nor'easter, I felt pretty hardcore running around downed trees and fighting the intense winds. I did 6 miles down Broad Street and into The Navy Yard, which is a really cool spot to run if you haven't checked it out. There are old battleships, a bunch of tugboats, and some intriguing new developments. And, of course, it's a nice dry run for the last quarter mile of the Broad Street Run.

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Then the second nor'easter came, leaving snow and ice on the sidewalks, and pushing me to the gym for my training run. And now, with rumors of a third nor'easter on the way (at least as I write this), I'm pretty much over it. Definitely looking forward to runs a few weeks from now, when flowers will start blooming and I can retire the fleece leggings.

Speaking of the gym, I imagine most runners feel some type of way about the treadmill. I don't mind it much for shorter runs, but anything beyond about 40 minutes and I start to get pretty antsy. 

However, I do really enjoy doing speed runs on the treadmill. For a long time, speed runs were not in my vocabulary. I figured bodies built like mine weren't capable of speed, so I would just plug away at my steady pace and focus on endurance. Recently, however, I've been using the Nike Run Club's guided runs, including their speed runs. They make a treadmill run so much more engaging, and have helped me see that even at my turtle-like speed, I can differentiate between a 10K pace, a 5K pace, and a mile pace. I'm not sure if this will translate to a faster race time, but at least it gets me through the training runs.

Which brings me to my goal for this year's BSR, which is identical to my biggest concern: completing the race without injury. I've spent the last two summers in physical therapy for various running-related ailments, and again, I'm over it. 

The first round of PT I went through was really educational, and working my way through an injury made me feel even more like a runner. After all, most runners, regardless of size or experience level, deal with injury at some point. It felt like I had earned a runner's merit badge.

But then I got injured again, and all the novelty was gone. I didn't mind the actual physical therapy--it's helpful for learning different exercises, you can see yourself make progress, and you get stronger all-around. But I really don't want to have to do it AGAIN any time soon.

So, I'm keeping up with my stretching and the exercises my therapist gave me when I 'graduated.' I'm doing three runs a week rather than four to avoid overtraining, and I'm incorporating walk breaks into my longer runs (check out the Galloway method if this sounds interesting). 

And I'm not setting a goal pace, because I just want to get across the finish line feeling strong and fit, no tugboat necessary.