The Ultimate Beginner’s Broad Street Training Guide: Four Tough Training Qs Answered

Team Philly’s running coach Ross Martinson on everything from how to build your mental endurance, the treadmill vs. pavement, and how to stay hydrated

So far I haven’t stopped during my runs. I’m afraid that if I do stop, it will be harder to get back in the rhythm of the run. Do you ever stop during races/ longer training runs? Are there benefits to stopping or not stopping?

Good question. Walking is essential for a lot of beginners.  Even beginners who are fit from other sports or activities can benefit from walking.  It can turn a normal run into more of an interval run, and let you go a little harder on the parts that you do run (any running can be hard for beginners) and then recover a bit and go again.  For someone really building up their distance (like from 3 to 10 miles), taking walk breaks can help make covering the distance a little easier.  You want to plan them though, instead of taking them when you have to.  Mentally you can look forward to them coming up, and not feel guilty about them.  Some coaches are big fans of walk breaks even as your running progresses, and recommend taking them even for pretty advanced marathoners. 

I have the fear you do: If I stop, I won’t be able to start again!  As your running progresses and you get stronger, I think the walk breaks should be cut out, at least for your shorter runs. 
I haven’t been bringing water on my runs, but now that we’re getting into the longer distances do I need to? If I don’t drink water when I train, will drinking water on race day cause problems because my body isn’t used to it?

Hydration is a 24-hour job.  If you are staying hydrated throughout the day, you should be fine to run for at least 90 minutes. But if you plan on drinking during Broad Street, learning to drink water while you’re running is essential, and you want to practice on your long run days, to get your stomach used to it, and so you won’t be surprised at the race. 

We carry a wide variety of hydration belts and bottles at Philadelphia Runner that you can carry that are fairly comfortable — they’re more comfortable when the bottles are empty.  If you’re running on Kelly Drive, there are a number of water fountains, as well (one is at the crew grandstand, around 1.75 miles out from Lloyd Hall).

I have been running most of my runs on the treadmill. Is it important to train outside?

I would advise running at least one run per week outside. Your stride is slightly different when you run on the treadmill than it is when you run outside.  Because the belt is moving with you, your foot is on the ground slightly longer, so you tend to use your hamstrings less.  Keeping the treadmill at at least a 1 percent incline will make it a little closer to running outside. Many people find that when they switch from the treadmill to outside, it seems harder, or some odd spot is sore.  Really, you just use your muscles a bit differently.  I found out the opposite this winter, I was really achy after a few runs on the treadmill (it was worth it to run in shorts and a t-shirt).

For someone training for Broad Street, especially when Broad Street is going to be your longest run, you want to have some of your running on that surface, otherwise you will be really sore after Broad Street.