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Negative Split a 3:15 Marathon (Read 693 times)


Feeling the growl again

    ??? Negative splits is often touted as the method to run an optimum time, so I don't see how it would require less recovery, though I can see that it may be less painful than a positive split, which often is the result of crashing late in a race. If running less than 100% max effort, I wouldn't think it mattered whether one ran positive, negative, or even splits. I see nothing inherent in negative splits that would make that the preferred way to run sub-maximal effort races.

     

    You really need to clarify if you are talking about max efforts or sub-maximal efforts.  You keep mixing the two.  If you're running 10 minutes slower than your ability who cares how you pace it to get there...you're right...it makes no difference.

    "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

     


    No more marathons

      That's my point. That's also why I don't understand the fascination with negative splits and why some plan their races with negative splits as their strategy.

       

      NCRunner2 – just curious – what strategies have you used in your marathons and how did those work out for you?

       

      For me, I fully expect that I will fade over the last 4 miles or so, if I’m running close to my capacity.  In my last marathon my goal was sub 3:50.  I hit the half at 1:52:30 (2 ½ minutes “in the bank – "hah") and the last half exactly at goal pace of 1:55 – total time of 3:47:30.  [note to going postal - Even though I was slowing down, my fairly even pacing allowed me to pass many struggling runners in the last 10k – you are correct that that is a great motivator]  In my mind (and I know there is lots of evidence to the contrary) had I run the first half in 1:55 I would not have been able to run the second half significantly  faster than I did – and would have run overall a slower time. 


      Muddling through

        NCRunner2 – just curious – what strategies have you used in your marathons and how did those work out for you?

         

        For me, I fully expect that I will fade over the last 4 miles or so, if I’m running close to my capacity.  In my last marathon my goal was sub 3:50.  I hit the half at 1:52:30 (2 ½ minutes “in the bank – "hah") and the last half exactly at goal pace of 1:55 – total time of 3:47:30.  [note to going postal - Even though I was slowing down, my fairly even pacing allowed me to pass many struggling runners in the last 10k – you are correct that that is a great motivator]  In my mind (and I know there is lots of evidence to the contrary) had I run the first half in 1:55 I would not have been able to run the second half significantly  faster than I did – and would have run overall a slower time. 

         

        Most of my marathons were run long before mile markers were common so splits are unavailable for most of them. My plan , with one disastrous exception, has always been to run even pace. My best marathons, not necessarily my fastest, have been run with small differences between first half and second half, sometimes slightly postive, sometimes slightly negative. One of my best, if not my best, was run with a 2 minute positive split, but on an out-and-back with a headwind coming back that's not unexpected. My biggest negative split was one of my worst executed races: I picked up the pace too fast after the half and paid for it over the last 3 miles even though I ran a 4 minute negative split.

        2014 Goals: Run first trail ultra, first 100K, and see what I can do in a 24-Hour race

          That's my point. That's also why I don't understand the fascination with negative splits and why some plan their races with negative splits as their strategy.

           

          They see a cart and a horse, but they get the order wrong.

          "When a person trains once, nothing happens. When a person forces himself to do a thing a hundred or a thousand times, then he certainly has developed in more ways than physical. Is it raining? That doesn't matter. Am I tired? That doesn't matter, either. Then willpower will be no problem." 
          Emil Zatopek


          I'm back!

            This thread is becoming a repeat of this one from a few weeks ago:

            Negative splits for the marathon - theory or reality?

             

            Now let me catch up on all the comments...

             

             

            Knowing it takes a lot more effort to run 7:00 for mile 20 than it did for mile 1, the thought of speeding up at that point is daunting.

             

            For me, the psychology generally works the other way. A lot of people try to bank time -- I like to bank energy. If I plan on even splits, I know it's going to be harder late to hold the same pace. But if I plan to negative split, then at M20 I have not worked as hard as I would pacing even at that point. Knowing this changes my perception of what I am doing into a positive experience. Speeding up is an affirming, optimistic action. So much of the marathon is mental -- there are so many voices telling you you're going to fail. Keeping an "I am awesome" attitude is very valuable.

             

            This is true for me even when running a marathon as a training run, not 100% effort. It's still 26 miles, and 26 miles on the road is still going to beat me up. Also, I guess, going back to pacing 3:20 specifically, I have run a lot of 3:20s (because it used to be my BQ time, and I found it nice to have BQ as a goal in line with a medium-hard effort), and the math just turns out to be convenient to run 7:40s first half, 7:35s second half.

             

            Typically one starts a marathon early in the morning with little warmup.  As you go along your body gets warmed up, and you drop weight as you burn fuel and lose water weight (you can lose a few lbs and it will actually make you faster, up until the point where you start to get dehydrated to where it affects your ability to run well).  So there is physiological rationale to support why you would run faster in the middle or towards the third quarter of the race than you did in the opening miles (contributing to a negative split).

             

            This is an excellent point. Supporting this, winners of large marathons tend to finish fairly dehydrated.

             

            Aren't negative splits the outcome of a well-executed race, rather than a direct goal ?

             

            This is Jeff's point in the above-referenced thread. We should all listen to Jeff. However, I disagreed with him to some extent.

              That's my point. That's also why I don't understand the fascination with negative splits and why some plan their races with negative splits as their strategy.

               

              I guess I've never noticed the fascination. The OP says he's not sure what he's capable of at the marathon and that negative split races he has run at other distances were more enjoyable than positive splits. This sounds like someone who is more interested in having a positive first marathon experience than in giving himself a low probability shot at the best possible time.

               

              I don't understand what you don't understand about this.

              Runners run.

                I would like to try to negative split my upcoming marathon. I would like to complete the race in 3:15. This will be my first marathon and I'm not sure how fast I should run each mile. I'm afraid to start too slow or too fast. I don't want to make up too much lost time or crash. Do anyone have some advice?

                 

                 

                Tagging on to bhearn's explanation above about the mental-approach, I've come to believe many marathoners start to deplete their precious energy stores before even crossing the start line due to too much focus on goal race pace. Wasted energy to worry about nailing an exact pace in miles 1-2, in my experience. Too many variables to factor at the start of the race: eg, Taper factor, carb-load weight gain, the crowded early miles, lined up in the corral properly, muscles not fully warm, etc etc.

                 

                Instead of focusing on what my very first mile is supposed to be, a simple strategy that's worked for me is to embark on the marathon for two miles like it's a Saturday morning long run as easy pace. In effect, it turns your 26 mile marathon into a 24 mile marathon. Doing so ought to set you up for your negative split and in theory push back that energy depletion closer to the finish line.

                 

                In practice, embarking on easy pace conserves your precious energy and avoids the too often mistake of an early too fast mile. Too easy to run too fast somewhere in the first five miles before your blood and working muscles are up to operating temperature. No one ever notices the mistake until postmortem.

                 

                Additionally, here's what typically happens when using the 2-mile easy approach: I line up a little ways back of my peers, embark with the attitude to jog the first mile (eg say my goal MP is 7:10 and mile easy approach is 8:00/mile) I typically run mile one closer to 7:30 and by mile two I'm nearly on target pace. All the while I haven't fretted over the pace and avoided wasting mental energy.

                 

                Good luck - I think you're on the right track. Embark with and easy attitude. The initial 30 minutes of your marathon should be free of pressure.

                  I forgot to mention: GoingPostal used the start-easy approach in his 30k. I suggest shortening it to 2-miles and you got your plan to execute. Admittedly, it take some discipline to let your peers get out ahead and hold back. Psychologically, however, it's nice to have a few more runners ahead to catch and pass along the way.

                  markrice


                  Geezer trying for speed

                    GP - In my last marathon (Pensacola) I did a 3:15:38 with a negative split. The data may be of some interest... I show the splits and the HR.

                     

                    My perspective is likely a bit different because I'm totally sold on HR training... but the concept of even effort holds true regardless of one's disposition toward HR training.

                     

                    NOTE RE HR: I wasn't targeting a time as much as targeting a heart rate (I have trained for a year using heart rate governance of my effort). This is my second HR governed marathon. While I recommend HR training and racing, the HR training should come first, so you are comfortable with it and are able to calibrate what you do based on the first 5 miles or so.  Once you're used to HR running, then in a race, you monitor the HR for the first 5 miles and pick the right effort level (often it will match strong training runs). Then hold this until mile 18-20, increasing slightly as you believe you can maintain. The closer to the finish, the higher will be the ideal effort level (because you're picking as high as you can go without bonking).

                     

                    THOUGHTS ABOUT A NEGATIVE SPLIT: I'm not convinced this is always best. (Pensacola's profile lent itself to a negative split.) On a completely flat course, I do believe in reserving some effort from the first half so you can finish well and not bonk, but if you negative split by any significant degree (and are not an elite) then you likely could have run faster. It's possible that the average ideal split (flat run in ideal conditions) for most of us mortals will be under a 2 minute spread and may average slightly to the positive side. So the better you are, the more common they'll likely be, but my real goal is leaving enough in the tank to endure while coming close to using all resources to cross the line as quickly as possible. It may be a negative, it may not... if it's close to even and I gave it my all, I'm totally happy. (I agree with bhearn that it's about banking energy... but only just enough to endure.

                     

                    SPECIFIC PACE PLAN MUST BE CUSTOM (and usually adjusted): Breaking up the race into two parts and putting -1 minute then plus 1 minute... ONLY works when conditions are the same throughout the race. This strategy will only work once in a while. Conditions to consider (only some can be part of your plan) are: hilliness, weather (often warming up from a morning start), wind (which often changes throughout the course), fatigue, available water (either for drinking or cooling off) and much more. In the face of all this, effort based racing is key to me (and I measure that with HR, others do it by feel which works for many).

                     

                    DEALING WITH HILLS: The most common mistake on hills I see is to feel like one must be macho and run the same speed up as down. Big mistake. It's incredibly common to go too hard up hills (even for those who slow down... few slow down enough). HR helps there (allow about 6 BPM higher but keep it around there). When done right, uphills are only a small effort change from flat running... then practice running downhill so your body is ready for that stress (yes, stress... downhill running can be very stressful on the body even when it doesn't feel that way). The downhill will affect your muscles differently (using a different part of the "stroke" that flat running doesn't use, "braking", pounding, etc.). Practice it so you can run fast downhill (unless it's a steep grade, then worry less about speed... just learn how to run so you don't over stress). With practice (unless the hill is steep) you should gain back on the down-side MUCH of what you lost on the up-side. Practice this so you trust that it's true and you will have a faster time.

                     

                    So, I'd go for even effort, planning your pace based on what you know about the conditions, then be willing to adjust as you confront the unplanned parts. 

                     

                    I sure wish you well.

                    Anyone could see races, etc. on www.markrice.com/running.

                    I believe in HR training: www.markrice.com/running/heart_rate_training.html

                      Aren't negative splits the outcome of a well-executed race, rather than a direct goal ?

                       +1000! I would also add well-prepared for the race to this. All this talk about positive and negative splits only makes sense if the runner is in appropriate shape for his/her target time. And that's very often discovered during the race - especially for runners running their first few marathons.


                      No more marathons

                        Nice post markrice.  I'm hoping for a HR monitor from santa and plan to use for my next marathon.  It seems to me that using your internal functions as a guide is so much more effective than a set goal pace.  There are an infinite number of factors that can influence how you do on race day (temp., terrain, what you ate two days before, any slight infection your body is fighting, etc.) but the rate at which your primary organ is working would seem to take all of these factors into consideration.

                        markrice


                        Geezer trying for speed

                          Nice post markrice.  I'm hoping for a HR monitor from santa and plan to use for my next marathon.  It seems to me that using your internal functions as a guide is so much more effective than a set goal pace.  There are an infinite number of factors that can influence how you do on race day (temp., terrain, what you ate two days before, any slight infection your body is fighting, etc.) but the rate at which your primary organ is working would seem to take all of these factors into consideration.

                           

                          Thanks, and I SO agree with you... in fact, in my last two races, I've not targeted pace; I targeted an HR (the metric for effort).

                          • In my September race, (very hot) I earned a PR at 3:24:03. Had I forced a faster pace in that heat, I would have bonked. 
                          • In my November race (no time for significant improvement, but much cooler), I thought sub-3:20 was the realistic outcome, but it was NOT a goal. My goal was to stick with my heart rate for an even effort (and increase toward the end). That HR handed me the 3:15:38 to my surprise... I was not even clock-watching. 

                          May Santa come through with your HR monitor!!

                          Anyone could see races, etc. on www.markrice.com/running.

                          I believe in HR training: www.markrice.com/running/heart_rate_training.html

                            Thanks, and I SO agree with you... in fact, in my last two races, I've not targeted pace; I targeted an HR (the metric for effort).

                            • In my September race, (very hot) I earned a PR at 3:24:03. Had I forced a faster pace in that heat, I would have bonked. 
                            • In my November race (no time for significant improvement, but much cooler), I thought sub-3:20 was the realistic outcome, but it was NOT a goal. My goal was to stick with my heart rate for an even effort (and increase toward the end). That HR handed me the 3:15:38 to my surprise... I was not even clock-watching. 

                            May Santa come through with your HR monitor!!

                            Does your pace following a targeted HR training match the paces McMillian's calculator shows? Or a similiar calculator? I know the calculators are base off statistics.

                             

                            markrice


                            Geezer trying for speed

                              Does your pace following a targeted HR training match the paces McMillian's calculator shows? Or a similiar calculator? I know the calculators are base off statistics.

                               

                              Hey GP: I've not used the calculators in a while (because I've not run races other than 3 marathons this year). If you're not talking about converting from one distance to another, than I'm not totally sure what you mean, in which case you could rephrase the question and maybe my thick head will get it this time.

                               

                              I hope to run a 10K or half marathon sometime in this training and if I do, I'll use the calculators to predict a marathon time. But in the race I'll still use HR.

                               

                              Further note that the calculators could not predict conditions outside the "normal"... I used to think that if I train in the heat (I did) I would be able to still perform commensurately if racing in the heat (I couldn't). My take is that in a race you are so close to the edge of capability that there is little extra capacity to absorb difficulties such as heat/wind, etc... But good conditions in training DID match good conditions in a race.  

                               

                              I likely didn't answer your question, but I'd be glad to take another shot at it if you rephrase.

                              Anyone could see races, etc. on www.markrice.com/running.

                              I believe in HR training: www.markrice.com/running/heart_rate_training.html

                                Hey GP: I've not used the calculators in a while (because I've not run races other than 3 marathons this year). If you're not talking about converting from one distance to another, than I'm not totally sure what you mean, in which case you could rephrase the question and maybe my thick head will get it this time.

                                 

                                I hope to run a 10K or half marathon sometime in this training and if I do, I'll use the calculators to predict a marathon time. But in the race I'll still use HR.

                                 

                                Further note that the calculators could not predict conditions outside the "normal"... I used to think that if I train in the heat (I did) I would be able to still perform commensurately if racing in the heat (I couldn't). My take is that in a race you are so close to the edge of capability that there is little extra capacity to absorb difficulties such as heat/wind, etc... But good conditions in training DID match good conditions in a race.  

                                 

                                I likely didn't answer your question, but I'd be glad to take another shot at it if you rephrase.

                                 Let's assume ideal conditions. Some sources state that a recovery run should be between 60-70%(138-151); LT between 80-90% (164-177)... I was curious how  McMillians calulations correlates to your actual traiNing/racing  pace.  If you don't use the calculator, then you may not be able to answer my question. If you plug in your recent race time in McMillian's calculator you may be able to answer my question but that race may not have been in ideal conditions.

                                 

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