Daaaang: Cecily Tynan Hopes to Run Broad Street in 61 Minutes

I talked to super-star runner and 6 ABC meteorologist Cecily Tynan about how she's preparing for the May 5th race.

Cecily Tynan suited up for the Gary Papa 5K, which she runs every year.

I’ve always known 6 ABC meteorologist Cecily Tynan is a serious runner. I mean, I put her on the cover of last year’s Be Well Philly print issue for that very reason. But until I chatted with her yesterday about her Broad Street Run training, I don’t think I realized how much of a rockstar (like, Rock. Star.) that woman actually is.

This year will be Cecily’s fifth Broad Street Run. Last year, she won her division (females 40 to 44) with a crazy-fast time of 1:02:12. This year, she’s aiming to shave a minute off that time, clocking in at 1:01, which would mean pacing at 6:10 per mile—three seconds faster than her pace last year. “I notoriously go out too fast at races, and then the last couple of miles are torture,” she says. “My goal this year is to have a good race all the way through, including a good final couple of miles.”

Although I’ve got no where near the lofty goal of Cecily’s—if I finish Broad Street without walking, I’m usually pretty happy—I was still more than happy to pick her brain yesterday about how her Broad Street training has been going, how she’s gearing up for the race in the final week and a half, and what she hopes the weather forecast will be on May 5th. (Hey, I had to ask, right?) Read our conversation below.

What’s your best Broad Street time, and what’s your goal for this year?

My best time was last year: 62:12. This year I’m hoping to be faster than that. I went out a little too ambitious last year. I’d had a really good race in Valley Forge two weeks before—a five miler and it was hilly. I kept a 6:07 pace or something like that. So I was like, “If I can do that in Valley Forge with all the hills, I can do that in Broad Street, which is a net downhill race.” Nope. I kept it up for the first six miles but then the wheels fell off. This year, I plan to go out at 6:10 and finish around 61 minutes. Of course, how you perform on race day depends on so many factors, like the weather or if you wake up with a cold the day of. I don’t want to put too much pressure on the finish time.

Are you following a particular training plan?

My husband, Greg, coaches me. He’s a duathlon world champ. As far as hard workouts go, I typically do one interval workout a week, a tempo run and then a long run, and then I box once a week for cross-training. I also do some easy workouts. Like, we’ll take our dogs to the park, and one likes to walk more than run, so I’ll do a walk-jog. Greg taught me make your easy runs really easy so your hard runs can be really hard. If your easy days aren’t super easy, then when you have to do a hard interval workout you’re not fully recovered for it. I don’t rebound like when I was 29, so I’ve gotten a lot smarter.

You do all of that?! How do you fit it in?

In the winter I run five days a week—we ski on the weekends a lot—but in the spring it’s probably like six days a week. I do most of my workouts before I come into work, after the kids go to school. The exception is Tuesday night, when I box between shows. That can be hectic: I do the 5 and 6 o’clock news, box for an hour, get a shower, then go work for the 11. The thing is, I used to train for triathlons, so training for a 10-miler doesn’t seem like it takes as much in comparison. Back then, almost every meal I ate was while I was on the bike or in the car on the way to swim practice or a run. This is much more sane for me. I don’t want running to get in the way of my life. It’s all about balance.

Do you have any Broad Street tips for newbies?

Start off slow. It should feel relatively easy at the beginning. If you feel like you’re working hard at mile 2, you’re going way too fast. If you feel great after mile 7, run as fast as you want, but don’t do that at mile 2. Another thing: don’t try anything different, in terms of what you wear or eat. If you’re taking any Gu packets or anything, which I recommend since it’s a longer race, you definitely want to try it in training first. Something may not work for your stomach, and you don’t want to find that out at mile 8.

What will you eat the night before and morning of?

I always eat pasta with meat sauce and garlic bread. Nothing fancy—lean ground beef, jar of Newman’s Own tomato sauce, and some kind of frozen garlic bread. I don’t eat veggies before races. For me I feel like the fiber could cause some intestinal distress the next day. The morning of I always have oatmeal with a banana cut up and cooked in it with a little salt, along with water and coffee.

What’s your training like, now, in the last week-and-a-half before race day?

I ran the Valley Forge 5-Miler on Sunday (Editor’s note: She finished in 31:01 and placed 7th for women and 21st overall, so daaaang again.) and ran another five miles after to make it a 10-mile day. That will probably be the last long run before Broad Street. On Monday, it was a walk-jog with the dogs, and yesterday, I did an hour or so on the trail at a medium pace. Today I did some speed work on the track, but nothing too crazy. And then I had a two-hour massage today. That’s a must.

What’s your favorite thing about Broad Street? What makes it special?

I like the fact that it’s such a big race, and the fact that you’re running the same course as these amazing elite athletes. And at the same time, you could be next to someone who’s just learning how to run. This race is for everybody.

Are you wearing red socks for Boston this year?

I definitely am. When I first found out about it, I kind of thought, “How is that going to help the people in Boston?” Then I thought more about what it would look like to see 40,000 people in red socks running down Broad Street, and I thought it would be a really neat show of support. So I contacted Bob Schwelm at Bryn Mawr Running Company and asked him if he was going to get red socks and if he did, would the proceeds go to Boston? He said yes, and that the proceeds are going to One Fund Boston. Anyone can buy a pair of red socks off the Internet, but this way you’re helping the people of Boston. I think that has a lot more teeth than just being a show of support.

Since I’m talking to Cecily Tynan, I have to ask about the weather. Do you have different outfits in mind depending on the weather on race day?

I always feel, especially in a race this distance, you shouldn’t overdress. Even if it’s cool in the morning, you don’t want to wear long sleeves and tights. Your body will heat up and you’ll be too hot. If it’s cool that day, my running uniform will be shorts, a light top, compression socks—they really help my calves—some arm warmers and cotton gloves I can throw away. I’d rather be a little too cold at first than overheated later. If you start to get overheated, your body starts to use its energy to cool off. I’m hoping on race day it’ll be cloudy and cool with a 60-mile-per-hour tailwind.

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