Broad Street Run

The Procrastinator’s Guide to Training for the Broad Street Run

Five weeks out from the 10-miler and still sitting on your couch? Running coach Cory Smith has a plan for you.


starting run training late

Starting your Broad Street Run training a little late? We’ve got the plan for you. / Photograph courtesy Independence Blue Cross

Each week leading up to the Broad Street Run on May 5th, local running coach Cory Smith shares his training tips and tricks for the epic 10-miler. Here are some of them.

We’ve all been there: You get into the lottery for the Broad Street Run, swear you’re going to train diligently…and then find yourself five weeks out from the race and way behind. While you don’t have to punt if you’re just starting serious training, I do suggest adjusting your expectations to simply finishing the 10-mile journey down Broad Street.

The first step to get going is to evaluate where your fitness level is today. You’ll need to honestly answer questions such as: How many miles can you run comfortably, without strain? How much exercise have you done over the past month? How susceptible to injury are you?

With those questions in mind, you can begin to lay out a plan. To start: Never run two days in a row. Always allow at least one rest day or a cross-training day between each running day. Since most runs will be challenging, you’ll want to allow for proper recovery. Next, forgot about pace; run based on how much effort you’re exerting. Keep the effort below a four or five out of 10. You’ll want to keep the accumulated fatigue of running multiple days per week fairly mild since the priority needs to be increasing distance. You should be prepared for running 10 miles, not 10 miles as fast as you can. Save that for race day.

Your first run then should be at your current comfortable distance, whatever that may be, and it’s OK to half run, half walk this if needed. For each subsequent run, you’ll want to add time to this base distance. Listen to your body when it comes to how much. We want to stress your limit just a tad. For each weekday run, increase the time you’re running by five or 10 minutes; for each long weekend run, push your time up by 10 to 30 minutes each week. But listen to your body and stop if the mileage becomes too difficult. The key is having enough energy to come back and run one or two days later.

Lastly, don’t fret about not running 10 miles before Broad Street. The body is capable of handling much more than you think.  Most training plans for a marathon or longer rarely include a training run of the race distance. While not an ideal situation, follow these rules and you’ll be in better shape than you are today.

In summary:

  • Include a rest day or easy cross training between each day.
  • Forget about pace. Pushing the pace will cause you to stop before your capable distance.
  • Increase each run just beyond your comfort level with one longer run.
  • Keep the accumulated fatigue fairly low from day to day.
  • Forget about a taper. At this point, there’s not enough time. But you’ll be fine!

Cory Smith is the founder of Run Your Personal Best, an online running coaching business that has helped hundreds of runners achieve personal bests in distances ranging from 800 meters to 100 miles. He is a multiple-time NCAA Division One Regional qualifier and two-time National Championship qualifier while at Villanova University. Along with his work for Philadelphia magazine, Cory serves as a running editor for Gear Institute and is a regular contributor for Outside Magazine, Trail Runner, Gear Patrol, and Gear Junkie.

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