Friday, January 23, 2009

Negative Splits

For those that don't know, negative splits in the running world mean running slowest at the beginning of your run and fastest at the end of your run. You should save your energy for that final push at the end of the run/race. I've been wondering how I could incorporate that into my training runs when I finally realized I had the best tool in the world to help regulate my pace - the treadmill! Finally the dreaded treadmill had a purpose other than help me run during bouts of bad weather or inadequate sunlight. So I tried this technique last night and it was awesome.

Here's how I did it:

Since I was planning on a 30 minute run, I divided up the run into 3 parts. The first 10 minutes I ran at 4.8 mph, slower than my usual runs on the treadmill. Then I ran another 10 minutes at 5.0 mph. The final 10 minutes were supposed to be at 5.2, but as I got closer to the end of the 30 minute mark the more I realized I also wanted to make sure I hit 2.5 miles for my mileage. I bumped up the speed until I finished my run at 5.6 mph. This may sound hard to some, but because I was able to break up the run into smaller segments I could get away from obsessing about how long the run was. I also had so much more energy than I normally do at the end of the run that the extra burst of speed at the end felt better than I could have ever imagined. I don't think I could have maintained for too long, but it felt pretty damn good to know I could do it at all.

I definitely recommend trying to use this technique in your own training runs, especially on the treadmill. Too often we try to run too fast and tire out quickly when left to our own devices outdoors (I'm very guilty of this). Once you get better at controlling your pace I think using this outdoors is great. Just make sure you're taking advantage of the treadmill by checking your form in the mirror. I'll talk more about form at a later date, but here's a good link if you want more information now.

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