Monday, May 4, 2015

Blue Cross Broad Street Run: Clearing the mental hurdles

If you are reading this, then you have committed to the belief that the Broad Street Run is a good idea.

Blue Cross Broad Street Run: Clearing the mental hurdles

Nearly 40,000 runners participated in the 2013 Blue Cross Broad Street Run on Sunday, May 5, 2013. (Colin Kerrigan /
Nearly 40,000 runners participated in the 2013 Blue Cross Broad Street Run on Sunday, May 5, 2013. (Colin Kerrigan /

Dr. Daniel Leichter is a clinical psychologist for MossRehab at Doylestown Hospital and the Albert Einstein Healthcare Network. He is also an avid long-distance runner. Today, he shares some of his personal tips for mental preparation before a big race.

Physically ready for the Blue Cross Broad Street Run? Check.

Fueling up on the right foods? Check.

Mentally prepared? Hmmm….

More coverage
Broad Street Run: What you should be eating all week
Why we can’t wait for the 2014 Broad Street Run
What's your Broad Street Run goal?
To PR.
  306 (31.3%)
To beat my (insert friend, family member, coworker, rival here).
  100 (10.2%)
To finish. Period.
  598 (61.1%)
Total votes = 979

If you are reading this, then you probably have committed to the belief that the Broad Street Run is a good idea. Running Broad Street is a noteworthy challenge for any veteran runner or a first-timer, and a wonderful way to connect with friends, get healthy and reach personal milestones. Keep in mind, however, that the challenge is not just physical, but mental as well.

The same principles that apply to being successful in any challenge can easily be transferred to training for the race. First and foremost, you are at your best when you relax and breathe deeply.  Practice this at home by deeply breathing in a comfortable low-stress environment for ten to fifteen minutes a day - maybe on your way to work or when you get up in the morning.  As you learn how to gain control of relaxing quickly, you will likely be able to apply this under difficult circumstances (like after mile seven when you are moving through South Philly towards the stadiums).  

While you are training, take one easy step at a time: go at your own pace. Like a good friend once said, simply “put one foot in front of the other” and soon a few steps will turn into a mile or two and eventually ten.  

It is a lot more fun to take on challenges together as a team.  Running is an individual activity, but keep in mind that 40,000 of your friends are in this as well. We will be offering words of encouragement and giving you that extra push needed to make it to the end.  We’ll be there with you the whole way.

Find inspiration.  Think of someone or a group whom you can represent in this wonderful event—someone whom you can keep in your heart to give you the motivation to go a little further and be a little stronger. This is what will take you to the finish line.    

Good luck and remember:  Stay relaxed, one step at a time, breathe deeply, your friends are with you, and find inspiration.  

See you on Broad Street. 

Read more Sports Doc for Sports Medicine and Fitness.
About this blog

Whether you are a weekend warrior, an aging baby boomer, a student athlete or just someone who wants to stay active, this blog is for you. Read about our growing list of expert contributors here.

J. Ryan Bair, PT, DPT, SCS Founder and Owner of FLASH Sports Physical Therapy, Board Certified in Sports Physical Therapy
Brian Cammarota, MEd, ATC, CSCS, CES Partner at Symetrix Sports Performance
Ellen Casey, MD Physician with Drexel University Sports Medicine
Desirea D. Caucci, PT, DPT, OCS Co-owner of Conshohocken Physical Therapy, Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Michael G. Ciccotti, M.D. Head Team Physician for Phillies & St. Joe's; Rothman Institute
Julie Coté, PT, MPT, OCS, COMT Magee Rehabilitation Hospital
Justin D'Ancona
Peter F. DeLuca, M.D. Head Team Physician for Eagles, Head Orthopedic Surgeon for Flyers; Rothman Institute
Joel H. Fish, Ph.D. Director of The Center For Sport Psychology; Sports Psychology Consultant for 76ers & Flyers
R. Robert Franks, D.O. Team Physician for USA Wrestling, Consultant for Phillies; Rothman Institute
Ashley B. Greenblatt, ACE-CPT Certified Personal Trainer, The Sporting Club at The Bellevue
Brian Maher, BS, CSCS Owner, Philly Personal Training
Julia Mayberry, M.D. Attending Hand & Upper Extremity Surgeon, Main Line Hand Surgery P.C.
Jim McCrossin, ATC Strength and Conditioning Coach, Flyers and Phantoms
Gavin McKay, NASM-CPT Founder/Franchisor, Unite Fitness
Heather Moore, PT, DPT, CKTP Owner of Total Performance Physical Therapy, North Wales and Hatfield, PA
Kelly O'Shea Senior Producer,
Tracey Romero Sports Medicine Editor,
David Rubenstein, M.D. Sports Medicine Surgeon, Rothman Institute
Robert Senior Event coverage, Sports Doc contributor
Justin Shaginaw, MPT, ATC Athletic Trainer for US Soccer Federation; Aria 3B Orthopaedic Institute
Thomas Trojian MD, CAQSM, FACSM Associate Chief of the Division of Sports Medicine at Drexel University
Latest Videos
Also on
Stay Connected