The Blue Cross Broad Street Run is quickly approaching. Whether you have trained to perfection or have been slacking a bit, there are some strategic moves on race day that can allow you to finish in the upright position, with a smile on your face, wanting to do it again. Follow the rules and you'll be the one passing runners in the last two miles, celebrating afterwards.
Formula for success: Second half faster than the first. Distance runners tend to perform better when they run the second half faster than the first. You will be tempted to run fast at the start so be prepared to slow yourself down. The use of my run/walk/run method has helped hundreds of thousands of runners to maintain a conservative early pace so that you can finish strong.
Where is the wall? Most runners hit the exhaustion wall within a mile of their longest run in the last three weeks–but you can extend this in two ways. 1) If you have not run more than 5-6 miles, try to do a long walk the weekend before the race. Walk gently and try to go for at least 8.5 miles (better to go 9-10 miles). If you can walk the course, you will have a huge advantage over others in the race–but if you can't travel and cover this distance in your neighborhood, you will improve your endurance. 2) Insert more walking from the beginning (see the run/walk/run section below).
Raceday–slow down at first. By going slowly and walking more in the beginning, you save muscle and energy resources. It will be crowded in the beginning so just relax and walk through the congested areas. If you didn't get in a long run or walk of 10 miles, within 3 weeks before the race, you can avoid the fatigue "wall" by slowing down and walking more frequently. If your longest run was 6 miles, two weeks before the race, try to walk most of the first 4 miles, then start your run. There are more pacing tips at (www.RunInjuryFree.com).
What is the best running form? Whether running or walking the best form for those I've trained is the following: Feet low to the ground, light touch of the foot, generally upright body posture, gentle stride length.
It helps to have a group. Each time I've run with the Galloway Training Group in Philadelphia, I've noticed the motivational power of support, fun, bonding. But if you don't have a group to run with in the race, look around for those around you who are going at the same pace, and are taking walk breaks. Talk, compare training, you'll have a new friend by the time you cross the finish.
Run/Walk/Run The insertion of walk breaks from the beginning of the run will allow the body to adapt, as fatigue is erased. Walk breaks can reduce the chance of injury to almost zero, saving resources and allowing for fast recovery. Not only can you carry on your life after a long run with the correct ratio of run/walk/run. You can avoid a fatigue "wall" if you react early. If you start to struggle during the race, take more walk breaks and you can still finish strong.
Finish times faster with walk breaks: Numerous surveys show that finish times are faster when one shifts from non-stop to run-walk, under the same conditions. The frequency of walk breaks is connected to the pace per mile:
9 min/mi—4-1 (run 4 min/walk 1 min or run two minutes/walk 30 seconds)
10 min/mi—3-1 (or 90 sec/30 sec, or 60 sec/20 sec)
14 min/mi—30 sec/30 sec
15 min/mi—30 sec run/45 sec walk
16 min/mi—20 sec run/40 sec walk
17 min/mi—15 sec run/45 sec walk
18 min/mi—10 sec run/45 sec walk
Two other workouts a week
The minimum needed to maintain the endurance of the long run is two 30 minute workouts—usually on Tuesday and Thursday. You can run these continuously, or insert the walk breaks of your choice.
Slow down in the heat!
As the temperature rises above 60F, slow down by 30 seconds per mile for every 5 degrees above 60F.
Don't try to make up a lack of training during the last week. If you train too hard, during the six days before the race, you can become injured or bring lingering fatigue into the race. Just complete two half hour runs (or run-walk runs) on Tues and Thurs.
Note: Olympian Jeff Galloway broke the American Record in the 10 mile running 47:49. He conducts training programs in over 90 cities including Philadelphia and has coached over a million runners through his running schools, beach and Tahoe retreats, books and training programs—which are fun and offer individualized coaching from Jeff. Subscribe to his free newsletter and blog at www.RunInjuryFree.com