Whippet Wisdom: Bronx 10-mile Race Strategy

The Bronx 10-miler offers a unique race distance on a fairly flat course providing an opportunity to post a good time – maybe even a PR.  However, your goal in the Bronx will be determined by your fall goal so race accordingly.

Katie Stiles wrote a great piece about the Bronx which you can find here: Heading up to the ‘Boogie Down’ Bronx. There is great info here regarding race day logistics and things to check out while in the Bronx. I fully agree with here sentiment about carrot cake – YUM!

The course is in the shape of a “T” which means there are several out-and-back segments.  The opening mile is flat culminating with an underpass section. The second mile is completely flat before slowly climbing in the next 1.5 miles which means most of the course coming back is slightly downhill.  The end of mile 4 features several awkward turns with Mile 5 heading downhill to the Botanical Garden. Mile 6 turns around and comes back up the same hill ending with a left back on the Grand Concourse. After the turn, the remainder of the course is slightly downhill or flat all the way to the finish.

If you’re going for a PR, your game plan should include being slower than goal pace (3-8 seconds per mile depending on goal pace) in miles 2 and 3 to account for the uphill section. After that, use the easy downhill at the end of the 4th mile to accelerate into faster than goal pace. By the 5-mile mark, the total elapsed time should match your goal time for that point in the race. A couple seconds will likely be given back during that uphill and left-hand turn in the 6th mile but, after that, it’s time to go for it.

Referring to a paragraph from Team Champs: From here to the finish, the focus shifts to catching as many people as possible. The remainder of the course offers no significant obstacles. Exit your comfort zone and go after every person in front of you.  If someone passes you, fight to keep your position.  Do not think about the clock or look down at your watch.  Exiting your comfort zone and racing people to the finish will have you cross the finish line well ahead of your goal. Take a chance on yourself in the 8th and 9th miles because the 10th mile drops ~75’ of elevation so, when combined with finality of the race, the 10th mile will be great. Believe in yourself and your training and take a chance.

For those with the marathon as their ultimate goal, this race is more of a training event. As the calendar inches towards Fall, we now begin the most difficult portion of marathon training.  The next 4 weeks will determine the outcome on race day so it’s time to focus on what is in your best interest to succeed on marathon day.

The Bronx can serve as one of two purposes: part of an 18+ mile run OR a long marathon paced workout (2-3 mile warmup, 10 miles at marathon pace, 2-3 mile cooldown).  If you’re like me and workouts come easily to you, then go for an 18+ mile long run. Plus, there is the added advantage of ‘catered services’ to practice in-race nutrition/ hydration. If 18+ mile runs are a walk in the park, then run the Bronx as a marathon-paced workout. If you choose this option, we suggest skipping Thursday’s workout and replacing it with an easy 9-11 miles. At this point of the training cycle, there is more risk-than-reward by running three interval workouts within six days. With total weekly mileage increasing, there is extra strain on the body and too many workouts can tax the body unnecessarily.

Either way, we want you to exit your comfort zone during this portion of your training program because, at some point, the marathon will be uncomfortable.  Learning to cope with it now will benefit you on race day.

As always, we’re here to help so let us know if you have any questions.  Have a great week!
Chris 40

More about Chris Forti

Chris grew up just outside of Boston where he competed at the high school and collegiate level. In Boston, he coached athletes with varying objectives - from youth to high school to adults - and went so far as to marry his favorite athlete. He joined the Whippets in 2013 and is excited to be coaching for this highly motivated group. He works at siggi's yogurt in New York City as a demand planner and can be found playing "catch the red laser dot" with his favorite kitty, post-run. He calls himself "40" because "Forti" is evidently too many typeface characters to handle and can be found on Facebook, Twitter (@chris40runs), and Instagram (@chris40runs)

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