40 days to Broad Street Run: Tips and bibs to win

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Runners take off from the starting line during the 32nd running of the Blue Cross Broad Street Run in Philadelphia, Pa., on May 1, 2011. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)

Hey guys, did you know we’re only 40 days away from racing down Broad Street? I bet it seemed so far away when you heard you were one of the 40,000 lucky runners to get a bib in this year’s lottery — and yet here we are, with only a little more than a month left to train. While you head into your final push, here’s five important, but oftentimes over-looked, tips to keep in mind for the 35th Annual Broad Street Run:

Vary your run. Even a beginner's body will become accustomed to a daily running routine. “Your body responds most strongly to unfamiliar stimuli, and after prolonged repetition even the toughest workouts suffer from the law of diminishing returns,” says Alex Hutchinson of Runner’s World. Try to vary something about your run every day — whether its distance, speed, or hills, your body will thank you come race day.

Taper your mileage. In the weeks leading up to Broad Street, Julie Coté of Magee Rehabilitation Hospital recommends tapering your mileage so you don’t race fatigued. “In fact, you should plan to complete your longest training run two weeks before the big day,” says Coté. Running extra miles the week of the race will just leave you tired and more prone to injury.

Choose your carbohydrates carefully. According to Runner’s World, slow-burning complex carbs such as brown pasta or brown rice will keep your glycogen levels topped up, giving you enough energy to get through your run. Stick to dishes such as oatmeal and quinoa, or whole-grain breads and pastas. Starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, beans, peas and lentils, also supply runners with the fuel they need to train.

Toss your old sneaks. The trainers at SWEAT Fitness suggest ditching your running shoes two weeks before the race. Why? Because after 250 to 350 miles, they lose their shock absorbing properties needed for running. Replacing them two weeks before the race gives you an opportunity to break them in before the big day.

Beware of the herd. There’s a reason why there was a lottery to enter this year — Broad Street is extremely crowded race day. Coté warns that if you are in a corral that is a bit above your skill level, you may be pushed at a pace too quick for you. Avoid the temptation to try to keep up with those runners. “Going out too fast not only strains your muscles, but also can tire you out too early in the race,” says Coté.

And if you’re one of the 4,700 sad, sad people who entered the lottery but did not get in this year — have no fear, you have options!

Raise money for charity. Fundraise for a local cause and score a bib in the process! Organizations like Students Run Philly Style, Fairmount Park Conservancy, and Back on My Feet all have bibs still available.

Keep tabs on the race’s bib transfer program. Because things inevitably happen — people who made it into the lottery won't be able to run that day and have until April 18 to transfer their bib to another runner. The transfer fee is $15 and can be completed through the Broad Street website bulletin board here.

Apply for the race’s veteran runners program. If you've run the race 10 times and did not make it through the lottery, you can apply for a bib by sending an e-mail to bsrveterans@aol.com.

Last but certainly not least, you can enter for a chance to win one of five coveted bibs right here on Philly.com!

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