Philadelphia Marathon Training: The One Skill You Absolutely Need to Run a Successful Race

Nearly every long-distance running record, from the 1500-meter record to the marathon record, has been set by running negative splits, which is running the second half of the race faster than the first. But you can’t do this without knowing how to pace yourself. Pacing is the single most important skill in running and is absolutely crucial for a successful marathon. It also happens to be one of the more difficult skills to master.

In today’s world of GPS watches, treadmills and headphones, it’s easy for our internal sense of pacing to become clouded. These external distractions become background noise, affecting our senses and our ability to truly assess our pace. But here’s the good news: Pacing is a skill and, like most, it can be learned with practice and patience. Below, how to perfect your pacing skills. Read more »

Philadelphia Marathon Training: 3 Important Things Your Marathon Training Plan Won’t Tell You

Newsflash! The Philadelphia Marathon is a measly 10 weeks away, people! And for those of you who are following a training plan, the words and numbers outlined week by week will likely rule your life, and in some cases, can lead to more questions than answers. If those words and numbers could, well, tell you more than they do about getting your body and mind ready for a marathon, here are the three things they would tell you about marathon training.

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10 Things Every Broad Street Runner Needs to Know Before Sunday

Photo by Jeff Fusco

Photo by Jeff Fusco

This post was originally published in April of 2015.

Now that your training is done, it’s time to focus on race day, because a little planning ahead pays off big come the big day. I reached out to the Run215 community to ask, What are the top 10 things every runner needs to know before running Broad Street? See what your fellow Philly runners had to say below. Read more »

Broad Street Run Training: You’re About to Begin the Most Important Week of Training

One of my favorite running quotes is “The race is just a victory lap.” How you perform on race day is mostly a result of weeks and months of training. If you prepare properly, your finishing time is your reward for the months of sweat, exhaustion and hard work.

Running is not like studying for a test. There is no last minute cramming; no last minute workouts; no last-minute secrets that will suddenly help you gain fitness and drop minutes. Understanding this important fact will help you avoid making mistakes as you enter what could be the most important week of your Broad Street training. This week starts Sunday.  Read more »

Broad Street Run Training: Mental Strategies to Power Through a Race

5 Lessons We Can All Learn From the Philadelphia Running Community

A very rainy Broad Street Run in 2016 | Photo by Adjua Fisher

No matter how many miles you log preparing, there’s no escaping that point in the race when your breathing becomes more difficult, your legs feel heavier, and your ability to keep pace feels, well, completely out of reach. Slowing down seems inevitable — but it doesn’t have to be. What you choose to do in this moment is completely within your control.

For most, the goal of training is to develop the cardiovascular and muscular systems in preparation for the physical demands of running. However, runners are much more than lungs, heart and muscles. There’s another system, with perhaps a bigger role, signaling your lungs to contract, your heart to beat and your legs to move: your brain.

Racing at your absolute physical limit involves a lot of mental perseverance, the ability to disregard pain, discomfort and negative thoughts. Below are mental strategies to employ to get through those tough times.

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Broad Street Run Training: The One Skill to Practice Now for a Stronger Race Day

If I asked you to run six miles, making each mile slightly faster than the previous, could you do it? The truth is, most runners would struggle with this task, failing within the first two or three miles. If you are one of those runners who finds your first few miles or reps are always your fastest, I suggest you think about changing that. Don’t worry: I’ll show you how.

One of the most important skills a runner can have is the ability to “run by feel.” Running by feel is the ability to inwardly and accurately assess pace in relation to effort. While running by feel is a lot easier said than done and takes years to truly master, there is something you can do during each run to get better at it: Learn how to get faster throughout your runs.

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Broad Street Run Training: Two 10-Minute Workouts That Will Help You PR

Let’s say you have two identical bicycles, one with treaded mountain bike tires and the other with smooth road bike tires. Which bike would you rather ride on the roads? The obvious choice, of course, would be the one with road tires. Here’s why: Road tires will have less resistance, meaning you’ll get further with each pedal. You’ll be more efficient on a bike with road tires and therefore will be able to achieve higher speeds with less energy.

What do bicycle tires have to do with running? Similar to the road tires, the more efficient your running stride, the less resistance and energy will be needed at any given pace, and as a result your pace will feel easier. This is what’s called running economy, “a measure of how much fuel it takes for you to travel a certain distance,” according to Runner’s World. Your takeaway is this: The more efficient you are, the less energy you spend.

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Broad Street Run Training: How to Nail Down a (Realistic) Goal Race Pace

Photo by G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia

Photo by G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia

Odds are, at this point in your Broad Street training you’ve landed upon a finishing time goal. There’s also a good chance your goal has varied based on your daily training. On good days you may think, “I’m feeling so good. I’m going to crush that goal!” While after a rough training run, thoughts of doubt creep into your head.

Deciding on a goal race pace can seem much like an intimidating guessing game where, if you guess wrong, you’re headed towards a world of hurt. While there’s no magic formula to guarantee your goal pace is correct, there are steps you can take to help narrow the number down to a realistic goal.

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Broad Street Run Training: Do You Really Need to Cross Train?

For most of us, our time available to train for a race is limited by work, family and life’s more pressing issues. This can lead to either-or situations: “Should I run Friday or go to a cross-training spin class?”

You may recall a Broad Street Run training post from last year called “Why You Shouldn’t Skip Your Cross-Training Days.” In this post, I outlined four different types of cross-training activities: cardiovascular exercises, strength, flexibility (or what I call mobility) and drills. I included what they were, why you should do them and how to incorporate them. While I still recommend everyone should be cross training, not everyone should spend the same amount of time and focus on cross training. How much and what type of cross training you should be doing varies greatly depending on your experience level and goals.

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