Tuesday, November 2, 2010

All around steady, the beauty of the negative split

I had a lovely 6 mile run today.  Kind of speedy, but felt pretty good.  Still slower than what I'll ideally run on Sunday during the half, so bottom line is that I'm probably going to have to adjust my goals -- a PR should be possible, but maybe I won't be smashing it quite as I hoped.  Adam also hasn't been running much lately, so maybe we'll be able to hang together for a while.  He's also been taking it easy since the marathon.  He's logged fewer miles than I have, but he's naturally significantly faster, so it might balance out. 

The other nice thing about today was that my husband had a good run.  We always share our splits after we run, and he's come to realize that I much prefer to hear about his steady splits (or a negative split) to something all over the board or to be slowing down.  Sometimes on a normal run (no fartleks or hills or anything), he'll have mile times that are more than a minute apart! 

In a race where I'm planning to run steady, my goal is that each mile be +/- 5 seconds from my goal time.  Of course I'll widen that gap to about +/- 10 seconds if there are notable hills or something.  And of course I'm always thrilled to be picking it up faster and faster toward the end of the race.  But I've had a few amazing running coaches and have been taught to be a very steady runner.  AND I have found much more success with it, so I'm trying to get my hubby there as well.

It's crazy to hear or read about others' races and see that they'll start out with miles a minute faster than their goal pace, and then the final miles will be a minute slower than their goal or average pace.  Even if they don't feel like they're crashing and burning, I wonder if they know how good it feels to start conservatively and either hold that pace the whole time or, even better, to feel like they can pick it up toward the end. 

Instead, to use my favorite running analogy these days, they're going out like shirtless drunks on Cops (not my analogy, read online). 

A negative split in a long race is tough.  I've done it in many shorter races (and I've attempted it tons of times and failed), but I've only successfully done it in two marathons -- NY (through some kind of miracle), and St. George (where it's almost impossible NOT to negative split).  But I think MTCM was maybe the first marathon ever where a negative split was not my goal (and mostly b/c of the course, I knew it would be particularly tough there; when I added in the pace group options, I decided the best bet was to plan on a big positive split). 

But in a shorter race, there's really no excuse for me not to have a negative split.  It will be my goal for sure on Sunday.  We'll see how it goes...

If it goes well, I'm contemplating running long the following weekend, then another half, then the 8 mile Turkey Trot and maybe another run that weekend, then the local marathon here (White Rock) on Dec. 5.  But no decisions until Sunday at the earliest! 

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