The 4 Things You Must Do Next Week to Prepare Yourself for Broad Street
Hint: Don't overdo it.
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.
Running is not like studying for a test. There are no last minute workouts that will suddenly help you improve your endurance and drop minutes. Understanding this fact will help you avoid making mistakes as you enter what might be the most important (and final) week of your Broad Street training — starting this Sunday.
Next week is all about not making mistakes. Stick with what’s worked and don’t experiment with anything new, so you’ve put yourself in a position to make good on your months of training. And, if nothing else, do the following four things.
Set Your Goal
This is the most crucial consideration. What’s your goal for May 5th? Run for time? Run for fun? Finish your first 10-miler? No matter what you’re shooting for, you’ll need to reflect on how the past two to three months of training have been going. Trust me, being unrealistic here will result in disappointment and, unfortunately, pain.
Racing for time and running for fun are very different. Let your past four to six weeks of training help determine which is best for you. If you’ve been consistently hitting your mileage goals and doing your long runs every week, odds are you can be on the aggressive side. If you’ve been getting in less then four days a week, have skipped multiple days, or haven’t done multiple runs over six miles, it may be best to keep your expectations conservative.
Taper Your Running
Ah, the taper — perhaps the most confusing week of training. The idea is that by reducing your overall running volume just before race day, your body will be well rested for the actual event.
If you’ve been following a training plan, stick with it. Odds are the taper is in there. Feel free to include days off from running. I typically recommend taking off the Friday before Broad Street and running one to three very easy miles the day before the race. For those runners gunning for a specific pace, include some light pace work early in the week on, say, Tuesday. To do this, run one to three miles at goal race pace broken into smaller intervals with plenty of rest in between. Regardless of your goal, you’ll want at least three low-mile days of easy running before the race.
Get Enough Sleep
It’s imperative that you get enough hours of shut-eye next week — not just the night before the race. In fact, it’s the three nights prior to the race that are considered the most vital, so you can establish a sleeping routine for the entire week. Aim to get at least eight hours of sleep each night, falling asleep and waking up at the same time each day.
Pay Attention to Your Nutrition
Remember, food is your running fuel and promotes recovery. Limit alcohol and look to include a mix of both complex carbohydrates and .5 to .9 grams of protein per pound of body weight spaced out in 25-gram servings throughout the day.
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.