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Q&A with Run With No Regrets Blogger, Janelle Johnson

no-regretsJanelle Johnson, one of the many blogger connections our team made at the incredible Philadelphia Blog Connect Conference last weekend, knows a thing or two about running and training for races (as she has close to 40 under her belt)!

Her blog, Run With No Regrets, sheds light on her running journey over the years, as well as offers a space for runners, fitness junkies and those striving for a healthy lifestyle to connect and learn. Learn what this fearless runner has to stay about her running experiences (through good times and bad) and her personal advice on how to train for Philadelphia’s 10 mile Broad Street Run on May 1.

Q: When did you start running?

A: While I “officially” started running when I joined my high school track team in 2003, I seriously began running in 2011.

Q: What kicked off your running journey?

A: After completing the American Lung Association’s Fight for Air Stair Climb in 2010, I was encouraged by my friends to sign up for the Broad Street Run the following year.  Just like that, I became a runner and started training in January 2011.

Q: What do you love about running?

A: There is SO MUCH that I love about running!  I enjoy running solo because it gives me time to be alone in my thoughts.  I love running the trails, breathing the fresh air while connecting with nature and the strong running community in Philadelphia.  For me, running never gets boring – there’s always a challenge.

Q: How many races have you ran?

A: I have run 32 races since beginning my running journey over five years ago: two mud runs, 12 5K’s, one 8K, five 10K’s, four 10-milers (including BSR twice), one half marathon relay (The Love Run), and seven half marathons.

Q: What motivates you to run?

A: Having a race to look forward to definitely keeps me motivated to run. I make sure to not let too many days pass by when I train and when I finish races well, it motivates me to continue working hard.

Q: What is your favorite part of a race?

A: Honestly, my favorite part of the race is before it begins, at the start line  I take that moment to reflect and appreciate that I’m able to run.  I also enjoy being cheered on by spectators along the course because they always give me a huge boost!  The past couple of years, I had the opportunity to run several races outside of Philadelphia, enjoying and taking in the new scenery.

Q: What was your experience in your first Broad Street Run?

A: I wish I was blogging when I ran my first race because I’ll never forget that day.  The weather was perfect and I really had no idea what to expect.  I was amazed to see tens of thousands of runners all in one place with such amazing energy!  I instantly fell in love with running that day.  I had a good race and ran at a consistent pace for 10 miles.  I was proud to be able to transition from a 12-minute pace to a 10-minute pace over the course of a few months. 

Q: How do you recommend training for The Broad Street Run?

A: I would recommend looking for a half marathon training plan or even better, a Broad Street Run-specific training plan that is 12 to 16 weeks long.  Running three to four days a week is a great start.  When I ran The Broad Street races in 2011 and 2012, the longest training runs I ran were about 7 and 9 miles, respectively.  Now, I think I’d recommend getting one 10-mile run in before the race if possible, but still give yourself time to taper for the big day.

Q: What advice do you have for first-time Broad Street runners?

A: If you’re running Broad Street for the first time, enjoy the experience!  This is Philly at its finest. Try not to be too annoyed by the crowds and don’t spend too much energy trying to bob and weave around runners.  And when you get to the Navy Yard, don’t slow down…you still have a quarter-mile left to go!  You got this!

Q: Can you share an experience where you wanted to give up, but you pushed through anyway?

A: In November 2015, I ran the Annapolis Classic Half Marathon and had the worst race of my life.  I started out extremely strong, but when I made it to the top of my first (big) hill, I knew I was in trouble.  The last six miles of the race were torture – I burned out too soon and struggled through the rolling hills (and there were a lot of them)!  I had moments where I wanted to walk and just give up my PR hopes. Thankfully, a friend found me during the course and stuck with me throughout the race, pushing me to finish.

While it was an emotional and difficult race, there was no way I would let myself quit. I missed my PR goal by a few minutes and was pretty bummed, but I still look back at the experience as a lesson learned: don’t start out too fast, even if you’re feeling good!

Join Run With No Regrets newsletter and connect on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to follow Janelle’s running journey and learn more about running, training and healthy recipes!

Have you ran The Broad Street Run in the past, or are you planning to run for the first time this year? Let us know in the comments section!

  1. Love Janelle’s blog!

  2. I’ll be running my 5th Broad Street Run. Ran it for the 1st time in 1999 when there were just 7,300 runners and finished in 1:46:13. Fifteen years later I finished 30 minutes faster with a PR (1:16:43).

  3. I would be willing to run if there’s an event in our area. Great article though! However, I would like to know your opinion about using the right shoes for running, do you think it has a great impact on your speed and performance?

  4. Will finally get to try the BSR this year. Hope I get a good time. Crossing my fingers.