Editor's note: The Independence Blue Cross Broad Street Run is the country's largest 10-mile race. On May 6, 40,000 runners will toe the starting line at North Broad Street, then race to the Navy Yard in South Philly. For the first 4-week training calendar, click here. Stay on track with this new 4-week installment to begin on March 12.
Brisk walk: Instead of taking a day of complete rest, going for a walk the day after a long run helps to speed recovery. It's important to walk at a brisk pace, not a stroll. Think: walking with a purpose. Stay loose and allow your arms to swing, rib cage to rotate, and hips to move side-to-side.
Easy running: Even though we're training for a faster race, the majority of the running you'll do needs to be at a relaxed, conversational pace — slowly enough that you could run with your mouth closed, if you tried. If you rated your exertion level on a scale of 1-10, where 1 is a slow walk and 10 is a maximal effort sprint, an easy run should fall around a 4 or 5.
Breathing: When you are truly running at an easy effort level, breathing tempo usually equates to approximately an inhale for three or four steps and an exhale for three or four steps. Focusing on that rhythm — IN-2-3-4, OUT-2-3-4 — can help keep your pace in the right place and keep you relaxed and present, rather than worrying about how much farther you may have to run.
Strides: Basically, you'll run at your 5K race pace or slightly faster for 20 seconds. These should be completed in the last third of the session. So if you're scheduled to run 4 miles with four strides, around the last mile, you'll want to start your first 20-second stride followed by 60 seconds at a slower pace before the next stride. The key with these is to remain relaxed and allow the faster pace to come to you rather than forcing it. Tension is the enemy here, so focus on being smooth and effortless.
Hills: Early in the training program we'll use hills as a way to build leg power. This will improve your stride efficiency, effectively making flat-ground running feel easier. You can use a treadmill or, ideally, do these outdoors. To start, you'll want to find an incline that takes roughly a minute to climb. Generally, the uphill repeats are to be run at 70 percent to 80 percent effort and the slow jog back down to the starting line should be enough time for you to feel ready to go again.
5K race pace: This is the pace at which you could run for a 5K race today. If you're not sure what that is, it is usually a minute and a half to 2 minutes per mile faster than your current relaxed, easy pace.
1-hour race pace: This is the pace you could run for a one-hour race.
BSR pace: This is the pace you realistically expect to run during the Blue Cross Broad Street Run. Expect to practice this pace more frequently in the last six weeks. This should feel harder than your usual easy run pace, but sustainable. It may start out feeling like a 6 or 7 out of 10 effort, but will progress to a solid 8 by the end of a typical BSR Pace session.
Here are the four exercises that make up this month's strength circuit: