Friday, May 11, 2018

What I learned from The Broad Street Run


In early December, I competed in my first ever powerlifting competition.  It was a learning experience that took me out of my comfort zone and made me remember how fulfilling new experiences can be.  I immediately started thinking of other new things I wanted to compete in that would challenge me.
The Broad Street Run is Philadelphia’s most popular race for experienced and novice runners alike.  In early May for the past 39 years people have gathered on North Broad Street to run 10 miles down to the Naval Yard.  Living in Philly for the past 8 years, I have known plenty of people who have participated in this race and enjoyed it so I decided it was time for me to take a stab at it. 
Over Christmas, I was talking to my 2 younger cousins who were both elite high school distance runners asking them about reasonable goals for a 10 mile pace for me.  Now keep in mind, I haven’t run for any distance in probably about 5 years and I just came off a year of training my physiology to get really good at lifting the heaviest weight I possibly could (pretty much the opposite of endurance training).  So my cousins and I agreed that 8min/mile for 10 mile, although difficult was certainly attainable. 
So I set a goal, began a training program, and wished for the best.  The bullet points below are a list of things I learned during my training.
·      Long runs are not pleasurable for me.  I really do not enjoy going out for a run with any regularity
·      Disliking the training for an event makes achieving the goal a lot harder.  You don’t look forward to the training, which makes you not want to do it.  We are all motivated to do certain things for certain reasons and if the reasons aren’t strong enough, our performance will be suboptimal.
·      I really love bodyweight strength & mobility stuff.
·      While starting my running program, I continued doing A LOT (1hour/day) of hip, knee, and ankle mobility work during the months of January and February and it was detrimental to my running form.  You don’t need excess mobility to be a runner so don’t waste time and energy trying to create it.  You should however continue keep current mobility levels.
·      Running made my legs less muscular aka caused atrophy.  No one needs heavy bulky legs to run.  You need strong legs but not muscular legs (yes they are different).  Keep in mind, some of the weight I lost was muscle.
·      I trained and ran in VivoBarefoot sneakers and my feet felt fine.  This is only because I have been training for 10 years in barefoot shoes and eased my way into a running program.  Weak feet are a problem in our society.  Make your feet stronger by ditching “supportive” shoes but make it a very slow transition!   You don’t keep your hands in mittens all day, why do you keep your feet in tight shoes all day?
·      Running burned sooooo many calories for me.  This is only because my body was not conditioned to run and I am also quite large.  If you run all the time, your body gets more efficient at it and you don’t burn as many calories.  If you’re smaller (MiniCooper) you burn less calories (fuel) running than someone who is larger (Mack Truck).  So if you’re looking to create a calorie deficit keep that in mind.
·      During your taper, keep intensity and decrease volume
·      I need more rest than most people
·      When you start a running program, keep your volume low or you will get hurt!  This is a very individual thing so I cant recommend how low but whatever you think you should be doing, cut it in half to start.
·      No exercise is inherently bad.  Either your body is prepared for the stimulus it is given or it isn’t.
·      I’m a huge negative self-talker and it doesn’t help.  It sucks a lot.  I’m learning to be more positive and it helps performance immensely!
·      If you live in Philadelphia and you’re into health and fitness, The Broad Street Run is an amazing event to participate in.  You should do it at least once!
·      Not being able to do the workouts I really enjoy made me sad and depressed
·      Even though I hate running, I felt a strong sense of fulfillment after reaching my goal.  Sometimes doing what you hate has more rewards than doing what you love.  A little suffering never hurt anyone.

If you’re interested in trying a physical challenge and you need help programming for it let me know.  The main reason I succeeded is because of sound scientific programming and listening to how my body responded along the way. 

Steve Cornely
Triad Wellness Philly