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5507 Views 15 Replies Latest reply: Dec 11, 2008 10:10 AM by Stevemustangred RSS 1 2 Previous Next
Stevemustangred Legend 681 posts since
Oct 10, 2007
Currently Being Moderated

Dec 9, 2008 9:46 AM

Marathon Running Strategy - Negative Splits?

 

Marathon Runners - what is your strategy for running a marathon and how well does it work for you?

 

 

Do you try to run negative splits (first half slower than second half)? 

 

 

Do you try to run as fast as you can during the entire race?

 

 

Do you try to run a fast as you can for the first half of the race and then survive through to the finish?

 

 

Do you maintain a consistent pace throughout the entire race?

 

 

What works for you?

 

 

What doesn't work?

 

 





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  • Jimmy_D_Jarhead We're Not Worthy 4,477 posts since
    Dec 15, 2007

    Okay my $.02 worth.  I have had my best races when I run conservatively at the beginning.  I know I have a 3:10- - 3:15 in me and try too often for that when my legs are already shot.  My best race came in the Air FOrce MArathon and I ran a nice pace.  I ran the first mile with the 3:30 pace group then stepped out on my own.  I slowly caught the 3:20 pace group and passed them up.  I had some urination issues this race and would have ran a real close to 3:15 if not for some potty breaks.  I ran this race real reserved and finished runnin some d=good miles at the end.  This race was a very evenly ran race as far as pace went.  New Orleans was another good race with similar race strategy.  When I go out fast I alwasy die and slow drastically at the end.  When I take off too slow.... wait that never happened.  An even paced race witha slower foirst ouple of miles warm up is key to my successful races.

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  • cplmtz0121 We're Not Worthy 2,455 posts since
    Nov 1, 2007

    Probably not the same, but there is something I've been trying to do, and hopefully will help me in Houston.  For my 9-10 tempo runs, I've been trying to run each mile faster than the previous one.  Even if it's just a couple of seconds, then the last mile I try to do it in under 8.





    Hard-charging motivating Devil Dog

  • Immer treu We're Not Worthy 5,202 posts since
    Jan 23, 2008

     

    Some issues which will change answers:

     

     

    If you expect major temperature changes through the race, you may need to adjust pace accordingly.

     

     

    If terrain, prevailing winds, expected weather changes during the race, etc, make part of the course faster, plan accordingly.

     

     

    On a "balanced" course otherwise, Jimmy's right on target; even or slightly negative splits are more fun and often faster.

     

     

  • cplmtz0121 We're Not Worthy 2,455 posts since
    Nov 1, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Dec 9, 2008 10:10 AM (in response to Immer treu)
    Re: Marathon Running Strategy - Negative Splits?

    Ok, I got a question.  How the heck do I avoid traffic jams?  I mean those precious seconds/minutes that I lose for being stuck in slow traffic at the beginning.  I feel sometimes that's what messes with my mind and affect my overall pace.  I kinda panic and perhaps try to make up and run too fast for me and it comes back to bite towards the end of the race.  Suggestions?  Should I not worry and use those first 1-2 miles as warm up?





    Hard-charging motivating Devil Dog

  • Jimmy_D_Jarhead We're Not Worthy 4,477 posts since
    Dec 15, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    6. Dec 9, 2008 10:10 AM (in response to Immer treu)
    Re: Marathon Running Strategy - Negative Splits?

    JEsus this is how I normally do all my tempo runs.  Each mile faster and fast but always end with a slow mile to cool down.

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  • lenzlaw Community Moderator 10,270 posts since
    Jan 18, 2008

    I would prefer to run an even pace throughout, but that never happens.  No matter what I try the last 6 or 7 miles are slow enough that any hope of negative splits or an even pace goes out the window.  My best marathons have happened when I got to 20 miles relatively fast and hung on for the last 6.





    Len

  • MCM Ron Legend 1,916 posts since
    Jan 19, 2008

    If you want the fastest time that you can possible run on a given day, then you probably will not run a negative split. Maybe the sub- 3 hour crowd can do that, but most of us slow down in that last 6 miles regardless. The question is how badly do we slow? Go out too fast and there is no hanging on, at least no hanging on to the pace you want.

     

    You can achieve that negative split by intentionally going really slow and easy early on, but then odds are your finish time will not be quite as fast as maybe it could have been. Ideally you want to pick the fastest pace that you can sustain for the duration. Knowing what that pace is is the trick, because once you start going faster than that, your lactic acid buildup will eventually make you pay the price.

     

     

    At MCM in '07 I ran the half in 1:59:59 and the full in 4:00:50. That's getting pretty close to ideal. I try to begin easy and stay comfortable for the first few miles as I warm up, and then try to hit my target pace. If I'm able to exceed my pace a little while feeling comfortable, I'll do it, but I wouldn't let myself go too much faster.





    To the world you may be one person, but to one person you may be the world.  (from my ice tea lid)

  • KarlD_Navy84 Legend 879 posts since
    Jan 19, 2008

     

    Steve,

     

     

    I am still experimenting with race strategy.  What I am finding out is that things work better for me if I run a consistent, even pace.  That is how I prepared for this year's MCM.  The only problem was I relied on a pacer instead of my Garmin over the first half of the race.  She said she planned to work the group on to the pace by the half way point because she wanted to allow for the hills early on.  I was with the 3:50 pace group.  However, at 13.1 miles, I realized that we were 90 seconds ahead of the target time.  This spelled trouble for me.  I slowed down trying to save my energy but wound up walking for short periods beginning at mile 19.  Though I missed the 4 hour goal, I still beat my previous best by almost seven and a half minutes.  My time was 4:06:27.  This weekend, I am running a local half marathon. My plan is to run the first mile at around 8:45, then hit as many splits at about 8:20 as I can (plus or minus a couple seconds) for the next 11 and then see what I have left for the last 1.1.  As far as negative splits, I'd say that's pretty rare when running a marathon with the exception of some elite runners.  I would be interested in hearing what some of the more experienced folks have to say on this subject.  For me, a consistent even pace seems to work best in training.  Now I just need to transfer that to the race.  I will have another opportunity at the Phoenix RNR in January.  Talk to you soon.

     

     

     

     

     

    Karl

     

     





    Karl

  • Immer treu We're Not Worthy 5,202 posts since
    Jan 23, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    10. Dec 9, 2008 10:15 AM (in response to cplmtz0121)
    Re: Marathon Running Strategy - Negative Splits?

    The traffic jams are a function of race size, the number of simultaneous events, the width of the course, and pace.  The first three you can address ahead of time without harming yourself...........

  • Jimmy_D_Jarhead We're Not Worthy 4,477 posts since
    Dec 15, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    12. Dec 9, 2008 10:20 AM (in response to Immer treu)
    Re: Marathon Running Strategy - Negative Splits?

    I have found that the last 6 are much more manageable when I go out at a more conservative pace.  Out of my 20 or so marathons this has only happened a bout 4 times and each race was ran faster then 3:30 for me.  When I hang on I always end up witha  3:45 or slower.

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  • KarlD_Navy84 Legend 879 posts since
    Jan 19, 2008
    Currently Being Moderated
    13. Dec 9, 2008 10:31 AM (in response to lenzlaw)
    Re: Marathon Running Strategy - Negative Splits?

     

    lenzlaw wrote:

    I would prefer to run an even pace throughout, but that never happens. No matter what I try the last 6 or 7 miles are slow enough that any hope of negative splits or an even pace goes out the window. My best marathons have happened when I got to 20 miles relatively fast and hung on for the last 6.

     

    If a consistent pace is able to be maintained up through 20 miles, I'd say that's pretty good.  After that, it's about how much farther away we can push that wall before fatigue begins to set in.  On my last 20 miler prior to the MCM, I averaged about a 9:00 pace for the first 19 miles with pretty even splits.  I ran the last mile in 8:27 to finish with an average pace of 8:56.  When I finished the 19th mile, I felt I could have continued for another 3-4 miles at that pace before slowing down.  So yeah, my goal is to pick a good pace that will get me to mile 20 -22 with the hope that I will still have enough in the tank to finish in under 4 hours next time.  Right now that pace is looking like somewhere around 8:45 - 8:50, assuming good conditions and a race friendly course.  If I can average 8:45 for 20 miles at Phoenix, that means I can get home in less than 4 if I can manage the last 10K at a 10:25 pace.  Sounds doable, at least in theory.  Talk to you soon.

     

     

     

     

     

    Karl

     

     





    Karl

  • Courir26 We're Not Worthy 1,968 posts since
    Feb 4, 2008

    Marathon Runners - what is your strategy for running a marathon and how well does it work for you? I aim to hold steady at just a touch under 9 min/mile (my PR) for as long as I can then try to hang on the best I can. Unless obvious going in that I have no shot, I go for a PR. When that dream dies, I try for the back-up goal, sub-4. Then the goals drop by 5 minute intervals. As for does it work - it keeps me happy, so yes.

     

    Do you try to run negative splits (first half slower than second half)? No, I try for even splits throughout (not that it happens). The closest I've ever gotten is 40 seconds, not coincidentally my PR race. My 7 closest-to-even-split marathons are all in my top 9 of 29.

     

    Do you try to run as fast as you can during the entire race? No. It's a marathon.

     

    Do you try to run a fast as you can for the first half of the race and then survive through to the finish? No, I aim for a 1:55-1:58 first half - not faster, not slower.

     

    Do you maintain a consistent pace throughout the entire race? In my dreams I do... reality, not so much.

     

    What works for you? Temps in the 40s & 50s (looking at my results, that's the real answer).

     

    What doesn't work? Going out too fast & trying to bank time. Going out too slow & trying to make it up later.

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