This week - Mentor Alfredo Miranda discusses the REALISATION of the importance of Negative Splits in the life of a runner! Finishing strong as a habit is something we all need to learn! This one is all about - Realising and changing strategy!
Disclaimer: "All coincidence with reality is pure coincidence"
Sumeer crossed the finishing line of the Half Marathon “ADHM 2017” with mixed feelings, on one hand he was happy because it was a personal best: 1:46:30 !!! But on the other hand, he was a bit upset because his target was sub 1:45… “I am missing a pass for the section A in next year by just 1:30 min”, and it was all because of the pacer…
Anyway, there were too many people to celebrate with, many selfies to take, many stories to hear… no time to think, but it was not easy to smile.
Only in the evening, after a good lunch and some sleep, it was time to sit down and think.
And these were Sumeer's thoughts and his analysis: “So, I managed to stay with the 1:45 pacer till km 15. After that point he changed the pace, he accelerated and I couldn’t match it, I have to let him go. I just managed to survive… slowing a bit the pace…”
“WHY HE DID THAT!!!??”… “Why he had to do negative splits?”… “Last year he did even splits, it would have been better for me to go constant… why he changed this year!!” By end of the day Sumeer was fuming, thinking of writing an email to the organizers complaining… “I WILL NEVER JOIN HIS BUS AGAIN !!!!”
By Wednesday,Sumeer was a bit more relaxed, it was time for the recovery run, so he met with Ruchika in the morning for an easy run. He explained to her about how his run went and his mistake of joining the pacer. But then, she commented: “Well, I am not good at numbers, but… if he goes at constant pace all the time, if he cannot accelerate at the end to catch up… then he needs to go faster before, no?.... You said you reached the 15K already tired, and had to slow down… how you would have reached that point if he would have taken you faster?” To that, Sumeer didn’t have an answer. “Hmmm…. You may have a point there. Need to revisit the timings”.
As soon as Sumeer had some time, he went back to review the numbers:
“We reached the 15K in 1:15:30, which is an average pace of 5:02, and I was tired. Then, he sped up and finished in 1:44:45, that means he did the last 6.1K in 29:15, which is a pace of 4:48. But I finished in 1:46:30, so I did those 6.1K in 31:00 which is a pace of 5:05”
“Ok, let me see last year plan: “Due to usual traffic, the beginning will be slower and after mark 2km, I will keep constant pace of 4:55 to recover that time and reach with some margin”
“My goodness!! If with 5:02, I reached tired… with 4:55 would have been destroyed, and for sure I would have slow down even more…
In fact, is not that what happens in all my training runs? I start a bit faster and I end up slow, suffering to finish, with the last kms going 30 sec slower. But this ADHM (Airtel Delhi Half Marathon), at the end I didn’t slow down so much!! I would say… I DID IT AT A CONSTANT PACE!!! “
“So… that’s the way to do it!! Go slow at the beginning so that you can push at the end!!”
Sumeer was having a “runners-high” 3 days after the race…“Oh, YES!!! NOW I GOT IT!!! HE IS RIGHT!!!”
and he called Ruchika, yet again:
Sumeer: Hi !!!!We need to change the way we train!!! WE HAVE TO DO NEGATIVE SPLITS!!
Ruchika: Hehe, so… you changed your mind !!Ok, but how we do that?
Sumeer: Well, we may need to ask someone. But, do you remember our last long run? We targeted 17K at pace 5:30, but after 2K we were feeling great running at 5:10; then at 10K we were very tired, had to stop to rest for 2mins and then we continued at pace 6:00.
Ruchika: Yes, I remember.
Sumeer: What we have to do is to start at 5:40, no matter what! Even if we feel we can go faster, we must keep the 5:40; and then, after 10K… try to go at 5:30 !!! It should be possible !!!
Ruchika: I see…. So, the idea is to save energy at the beginning so that we can keep similar pace later, or even faster.
Sumeer: YESSSS !!!!!
Ruchika: And… Can we do the same with the temposs? Like… next week we have a 5K tempo at 5:00: can we do the first 2K at 5:05 and the next 3K at 4:55? We always go too fast the first km and struggle to finish.
Sumeer: YES! That also sounds good !! I can’t wait to start !!!
Coming up next - How to work on those ever daunting - Negative Splits - right from someone who is learning to!
by Alfredo Miranda
Warmly known as Alfie by runners in the NCR Region, he is a mentor and a guide, par excellence, to many fledgling and mature runners. A super marathoner himself, he helps runners with their running plans for various events and most important always keeps their morale high up!
Alfie lives by the philosophy – The Killing is yet to come, you will see how well you push yourself…
He is reachable at email@example.com.