Friday, 27 May 2016

How do you run your race?

If you look through the myriad of books and articles on running a race you will find many extolling the virtues of the negative split.  But how many people actually run negative splits?

If I look back over my running and particularly the marathon, out of the 10 marathons I have raced only 2 have been with negative splits.  Yet a fellow Blaydon Harrier, Steve, always seems to run negative splits.

The first time I ran negative splits was in my second marathon (Newcastle 1983) and it was a definite plan from the outset, having suffered so badly in my first marathon (London 1982), where I had went through 20 miles in 2 hours only to take 56 painful minutes to complete the final 6 miles.

Newcastle saw me set off and maintain a steady pace just below my average planned race pace for the first 13 miles.  After which I steadily picked it up and worked my way through the field to finish strongly in 8th place with a 22 minute improvement of 2.34.

It would be wrong of me to credit all of the improvement to the tactic of negative splits as other factors like increased training, experience etc. also came into play. But it did work and I felt really strong at the finish. Despite this I only managed to run this way on one other occasion.

And it seems I am not alone.  The following statistics regarding marathons in America have just been released atrunnersconnect.net following research by Phil Miller:


  • 3 out of 108 men who ran the 2016 Olympic Trials ran negative splits
  • 4 out of 149 women finishers ran negative splits
  • There were 37408 finishers in the Chicago marathon of which only 5% ran negative splits

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Time is a tough taskmaster

I have not posted anything for a while as quite frankly I have not had anything particularly interesting to say.

My new found enthusiasm of a month or so ago was short lived as I picked up another injury (groin and abductor).

I am now, however, back to steady running every other day and find that I have a race against time to get into some sort of form with the Blaydon Race a little over 3 weeks away.

Time dominates your life as a runner.  Be it a race to get fit in time to compete,  Finding time to fit training into busy life schedules etc.


Time plays an important role in our training eg average pace, race pace, timed reps, time taken to run a particular stretch of a run (if you are a Strava addict).

Time also determines who we are as a runner and provides a comparison against others.  If anyone asks me what my marathon pb is for example I will say 2.25 (if you check the panel at the side of this page you will see that the exact time is 2.25 and 55 seconds. Missing off the seconds emphasises the time, especially for me, as my second quickest marathon is 2.26.00 (those 5 seconds were hard worked for).

As today I am officially another year older I have looked at my long term goal of running 100000 miles before turning 60 and calculated that I need to average 35 miles per week.  A few year back I would not have seen that as a problem.  But, not having even reached 20 mile a week for the last month or so,  it now seems a little daunting.

Having said that a challenge is not a challenge if it is not challenging.