Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Starting My Training - Why Negative Splits

I started my training for next year yesterday with an initial test of 5K. We started it too fast with my running mate of Sikuku and cleared it in 22.55.
This means we have 4 minutes to slash off our 5K time. We are using this as the baseline.
4 whole minutes. Yes, we were with a rookie (Wendy) who asked. "Why are you guys worried? 4 Minutes only? That should be easy". She should read Lance Armstrong's story.

Our strategy is to concentrate on speed and tempo runs for the next 4 months.
So below is my training plan. Towards the marathon next year, I plan to be clocking between 50 and 60 Kilometres a week. So this is a slow build up but more importantly, speed! Speed speed. If we can do a sub 19 5K, the better. I am ready to lose the remaining 3Kgs to reach my ideal weight, which is 86. At any rate, we have the fire burning in our belly and the hunger to be fast and strong.

Why You Should Run Negative Splits

Negative splits refers to a running strategy where one starts slowly and then speeds up in later stages and finishes faster than they started. Lance Armstrong, the former biker ran negative splits in his 2007 New York Marathon which he ran as follows and completed in 2:46:
Split, Time, Pace
5k, 0:20:01, 6:26
10k, 0:40:08, 6:27
15k, 0:59:54, 6:25
20k, 1:19:27, 6:23
Half, 1:23:41, 6:23
30k, 1:58:40, 6:21
35k, 2:18:00, 6:20
40k, 2:37:47, 6:20
Finish 2:46:43, 6:21

Even Marilson Gomes Dos Santos who won the NY Marathon 2008 ran negative splits. So its the best strategy to ran a marathon.

Negative Splits: Use Them to Perform Better in Your Next Marathon explains the reasons why negative splits can help you better your performance. Jim Fortner explains that you should not start out fast for the following reasons:
Why you should not start out fast

(1) Starting fast leads to faster consumption of glycogen, which means that your body becomes more dependent on fat for fuel earlier in the race;
(2) you reach your AT/LT earlier in the race, so a greater portion of the race is spent running anaerobically, i.e., the wall arrives earlier and harder; and
(3) it allows for less margin of error in case you miscalculated your ability on race day or any of many other variables bite you in the butt. You wind up running a greater percentage of the race in the less efficient mode, which exacerbates your late race “decline” and can lead to a hard crash.

Why You should Run Negative Splits:
1. “Ideally you should run the first portion of the race a little slower than your expected mean pace, thereby conserving carbohydrate supplies. Later on….adequate supplies will be available to provide energy for pace increases as well as a strong finish. This is the concept of “negative-splitting a marathon….” Martin and Coe
, Better Training for Distance Runners.

2. " is always preferable to speed up in the second half when others are slowing down. It gives you the impression that you are running faster than you really are, and the mental lift of passing others is great.” Tim Noakes, The Lore of Running.

3. If you go out a bit slow, you have adequate time to make up for it. So it’s better to err on the side of caution. Glover in The Competitive Runner’s Handbook.

But he concludes, "this stuff ain’t an exact science no matter how much we theorize it.".

Celebrity Runners
Here are some times set by celebrity runners:
2:59:37 - Lance Armstrong, cyclist - lowered to 2:45 in NY Marathon in 2007
3:30:18 - John Edwards, former Senator
3:31:00 - Michael Dukakis, former governor
3:44:52 - President George W. Bush (In January, 1993, George W. Bush finished the Houston Marathon in 3:44:52)
3:45:35 - Kristin Armstrong, ex-wife of Lance Armstrong
3:52:00 - Kim Alexis, supermodel
3:54:00 - Roger Craig, football player
3:54:40 - Justin Leonard, golfer
3:55:40 - Anthony Edwards, actor
3:56:12 - Will Ferrel, actor/comedian
4:12:06 - Kerri Strug, Olympic gymnast
4:14:54 - Sean (Diddy) Combs, rapper
4:29:20 - Oprah Winfrey, talk-show host
4:54:36 - Bill Frist, former Senate majority-leader
4:58:25 - Al Gore, former Vice-President
6:04:43 - David Lee Roth, rock musician (Ati?)

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