In many ways, running is less about your legs and more about your brain. The proper training, goals and strategy for a race are often where successful performances begin and end.
The Broad Street Run, widely regarded as the best 10-mile race in the United States, is less than a month away. Most runners are deep into their training regimens and coming up with their plan of attack.
But whether you’ve been thinking about the race for months or are just beginning to come up with a strategy, it’s never a bad time to get a few extra tips
Kevin Gard, physical therapist and clinical professor in the College of Nursing and Health Professions, is one of the heads of Drexel’s Running Performance and Research Center. Gard and the staff at the Center use cutting edge technology to analyze the mechanics of runners to perfect their gaits and avoid injuries that could potentially occur in races like Broad Street.
In light of that, Gard provided five tips to keep in mind for planning to finish your race with the best possible result —safely.
- Don’t forget to taper.
This part of your training is key to restoring your glycogen levels to allow for optimum performance. You shouldn’t be using this time to catch up on long runs you’ve missed. This is your time for rest and restoration.
- Don’t ignore a potential injury.
Some of those aches and pains you feel when you’re running may not be normal, especially if they’re forcing you to alter your form. When in doubt, see someone who specializes in running injuries immediately. They may be able to help you get past those injuries with tape, braces or modifications so that you can race as planned.
- Set goals, but be flexible.
Create three goals for yourself: the best result, the “okay” result and the goal you would use if the wheels really fell off. As you’re running, adjust those goals and mentally prepare for what you’re experiencing. Things don’t always go perfectly on race day.
- Follow your routine.
Your race should mirror your training routine. Don’t use race day to try out something new. Replicate the pace, clothing and food choices that work best for you.
- Pace yourself.
If you do want to pick up speed, make sure you do so at the right time. Resist the urge to cross the starting line at lighting speed and, instead, make the first mile the slowest of your race. From there, gradually fall into your training pace. If you feel good, start pushing your pace around mile 8. Once you reach the Navy Yard, it’s a sprint to the finish!
For more tips for your run down Broad Street, register for a free webcast by Gard, which will be followed by a live Q&A Wednesday, April 27.