2017 Blue Cross Broad Street Run: On your mark. Get set. Train!

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Runners take off at the start of the 2015 Independence Blue Cross Broad Street Run.

Editor's note: The Independence Blue Cross Broad Street Run is the country's largest 10-mile race. On May 7, 40,000 runners will toe the starting line at North Broad Street, then race to the Navy Yard in South Philly. Now is the time to start your training, with Goldthorp's 12-week plan.

This program is intended for runners who have been cleared by their physician to train for a 10-mile running race and who can currently, before beginning the program, run at least 1.5 miles without stopping. The goal is to get to the starting line healthy and injury-free, and of course, have a great experience on race day. So, we will train conservatively and avoid unnecessary risks such as speed work or high-intensity intervals during this build-up. However, after completing the program, you'd be in a great place to add those techniques if you continue to train for other races.For a printable PDF of the calendar, click here.

Brisk walk 

We'll make judicious use of brisk walking in this program as it helps boost endurance in a more gentle way, allowing longer training while minimizing risk of injury. It's important to walk at a brisk pace, not a stroll. Think: "Walk with a purpose." During these walks, stay loose and allow the arms to swing, the rib cage to rotate, the hips to move side to side. Bonus: Going for a brisk walk the day after a hard session, especially the long run, will speed recovery. Try it!

Easy running 

Run at a relaxed pace, slowly enough that you could run with your mouth closed, breathing only through your nose. You don't have to run with your mouth closed, but you should be able to if you tried. If you rated your exertion level on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being a slow walk and 10 being a maximal-effort run, an easy run would be about a 4 or 5. 

Breathing 

When you are truly running at an easy-effort level, breathing usually works out to a count of approximately "in" for three or four steps and "out" for three or four steps. For me, it's in-2-3-4, out-2-3-4. Focusing on that rhythm can help keep your pace in the right range and keep you relaxed and present, rather than worrying about how much farther you may have to run.

Strength: No equipment necessary 

Preparing for a 10-mile race requires more than just running. A stronger body is a more resilient body, and endurance comes from strength. The stronger you are, the easier running is on your body. 

The strength sessions described in this program are designed for runners who are new to strength training, and the goal is to keep these sessions short, but effective. Hey, I know, runners just want to run. But strength-train anyway. Here are three tips to keep in mind:

  • Use only your pain-free, controllable range of motion. This means never move into a painful space. No exceptions.
  • Don't hold your breath. Breath holding is a strategy the body utilizes when a threat (like instability) is perceived. Try to either slow down, or reduce range of motion and see whether that naturally cures your inclination to hold your breath. If you catch yourself holding your breath, try repeating the move a little slower, noticing where you feel obligated to hold your breath. Then try again, this time breathing through that "sticking point."
  • Be consistent. This workout is obviously not very long and you may be inclined to skip it. That would be a mistake.

Here are the four exercises that make up this month's strength circuit:

Check back on Feb. 19 for the second, 4-week installment of the training plan. 


John Goldthorp is the founder of Fix Your Run, a specialized fitness coaching business that helps runners become faster and less prone to injury. Recently named "Philly's Best Running Coach" by Philadelphia Magazine, he currently works with clients at Optimal Sport 1315 in Center City and leads weekly group speed training sessions at PhillySurgeRunning.com.

Have a question for the On The Run panel? Ask it here or email us. View our 2017 local race calendar here or add your own race using this submission form.

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